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Post: Jan. 24, 2021

Vaccine Update

Governor Cuomo provided an update Saturday on the state’s vaccination program. To date, New York’s health care distribution sites have received 1,178,850 first doses and administered 92 percent or 1,084,814 first dose vaccinations. The week 6 allocation of 250,400 first doses continues to arrive at vaccination providers across New York State, ensuring on hand supply of vaccinations after the week 1 through 5 supply of vaccine was exhausted on Friday.

In the Mid-Hudson Region 145,700 doses have been distributed, 105,530 administered (72%)

COVID and “Winter Cluster Plan” Update

Governor Cuomo issued a press release yesterday morning providing an overview of New York’s COVID-19 tracking data from Saturday, January 23rd. 

Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.  

Hospitalizations Statewide:

  • Patients Currently in Hospital   =  8,613
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available = 32%

Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Patients Currently in Hospital in Region   =  1,009
  • COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population =  .004%
  • Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region  = 40%

ICU Beds Statewide

  • Total ICU Beds   =  5,878
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  4392
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 26%

ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 

  • Total ICU Beds   =  685
  • Occupied ICU Beds =  434
  • Percent of ICU Beds Available  = 37%

Other Data

  • Statewide Transmission Rate (R0):  .92
  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 5.09%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 5.90%

Useful Websites:

More Executive Orders: Stimulus Checks, Food Stamps Minimum Wage, More

President Joe Biden signed executive orders increasing food aid, accelerating the delivery of stimulus checks to families and boosting rights for federal workers. Meanwhile, the Senate confirmed General Lloyd Austin as defense secretary and the Senate finance committee approved Janet Yellen as treasury secretary, paving the way for her confirmation. 

In the first order, Mr. Biden asks the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow states to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — commonly known as food stamps — by 15%. Mr. Biden also issued a second executive order to improve collecting bargaining power and protections for federal workers, and direct the Office of Personnel Management to develop recommendations to increase the minimum wage for federal employees to $15 per hour.

Read more at CBS News

NAM Responds to Executive Orders

As President Joe Biden took office Thursday, the NAM took a pragmatic stance, calling this new political era “a time for healing.” As NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons put it, “Today, manufacturers recommit ourselves to be part of the solution—to be part of the healing process. We invite all Americans to join us in doing the same.”

And since the new president started his first day with a flurry of executive orders, the NAM responded to those, too. Here’s a rundown of the new policies, plus the NAM’s statements. 

NAM – On Biden’s first executive orders

DiNapoli: New York’s Economy and Finances in the COVID-19 Era

“Gov. Cuomo put forward a state budget proposal during one of the most difficult times faced by our state. The pandemic is far from over, and it continues to have damaging effects on our revenues and spending. While our state economy has improved, state tax receipts are still $2.5 billion below the same point last year.”

This January Update includes information on State revenue and spending, unemployment payments, and household spending across the nation. 

Read the report at the Comptroller’s website

Updated PPP Forgiveness Application Forms for Both First and Second Draw Loans 

Attorneys from Council Associate member Bond Schoeneck and King write that the Small Business Association (SBA) recently updated all versions of the PPP Loan Forgiveness Applications to reflect changes in the recent legislation. Borrowers who have yet to apply for forgiveness on their First Draw PPP should use these updated forms and consult with their lender. 

Borrowers who received a loan less than $2,000,000 (combined with affiliates) may use the updated EZ PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ form as long as they satisfy one of the two following qualifications: 1) there were no reductions in salaries by more than 25% during the covered period and no reductions in number of employee headcounts (with some exceptions); or 2) the borrower did not reduce salaries by more than 25% during the covered period and the borrower was unable to operate at the same level of business activity due to government shutdown orders.

Read more at BSK

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Reach Highest Level in 14 Years

U.S. home sales in 2020 surged to their highest level in 14 years, fueled by ultralow interest rates and a pandemic that sent buyers scrambling for more spacious homes to accommodate remote work.

Robust home sales in the second half of the year surprised many economists while offering a rare bright spot for an economy run aground by closed businesses and mounting job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more at the WSJ

How Good is COVID-19 Testing in the U.S.?

Last January, a man who had been visiting family in Wuhan, China, went to an urgent care clinic in the Seattle area complaining of a few days of coughing and fever. Local health officials, on the lookout after hearing of the spreading novel coronavirus, quickly coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get the patient tested, which involved flying a sample across the country to the CDC lab in Atlanta.

Testing is a key component of an effective response to a respiratory disease such as COVID-19. It identifies where the virus is circulating, and it informs when and where to implement interventions to stop transmission, including tracing and isolating.  In the United States, what’s the current state of COVID-19 testing? And what could testing look like in the future?

Read more at Nat Geo

How Fast Can Vaccinations Make a Difference? Israel May Show The Answer

Vaccines reduce deaths and hospital admissions in two ways: they protect the vaccinated directly, stopping them becoming ill; and they offer indirect protection to the unvaccinated, because those already jabbed will be less likely to infect them. Measuring the combined effect—and how quickly it kicks in—is possible only where mass vaccination is well under way. But early results are starting to arrive.

A recent analysis compared, day by day, a group of 200,000 over-60s who had been vaccinated with an otherwise-similar group of unvaccinated individuals. They tracked differences in infection rates between the groups by comparing test results for people in them who were tested for COVID after reporting pertinent symptoms or close contact with someone who had previously tested positive.

Read or listen to the story at The Economist

All Interscholastic High School Sports Get Go-Ahead to Resume – Based on Local Conditions

New state Department of Health guidelines issued Friday appear to give the green light for high school and recreational sports considered as a high-risk for the spread of coronavirus to begin Feb. 1. That covers activities such as wrestling, hockey, basketball and competitive cheerleading. 

“Effective February 1, 2021, participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities, (i.e., county health departments),” the guidelines read.

Read more at Syracuse.com