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Daily Briefing – 288

Post: Apr. 20, 2021

Ulster County to Fast-Track Manufacturing Job Opportunities

The pandemic has resulted in a shift in jobs as some occupations have recovered faster than others. As a result, Ulster County is joining forces with other organizations to identify job opportunities, said County Economic Development Director Tim Weideman. 
“We are working with the Council of Industry and our partners at SBDC, SUNY Ulster, and the SBA, on a new program that we are tentatively calling the Fast-Track Workforce Platform that will help to be able to identify the jobs that are available in these manufacturers and related businesses, identify the skills that they need, both for entry-level positions and experienced positions to be able to start recruiting the candidates that can fill those positions,” he said.

NYS Vaccine Update

As of 11 am Tuesday 8,406,028 (plus 79,596 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 5,736,139 are fully vaccinated (Plus 76,722).  In the Hudson Valley 882,978  (plus 9,223) have at least one dose and 569,191 (plus 8,949) are fully vaccinated. 

NYS COVID Update –Positivity Rate Drops to 2.80%

The Governor  also updated COVID data through Monday April 19th.  There were 45 COVID related deaths. The governor also announced that the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 2.80 percent, the lowest since November 12. 

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


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 3,873
  • Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: 396

ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)

  • Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 4,120
  • Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 383

Other Data

  • Statewide Positivity Rate: 2.80%
  • Mid-Hudson Positivity Rate: 3.19%

Useful Websites:

US Vaccine Rollout – 3 Million Doses a Day

The US has distributed 265 million doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and administered 211 million doses. Daily doses administered* remains steady at approximately 3 million, including 1.6 million people fully vaccinated.

More than half of all adults have received at least one dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and one-third are fully vaccinated. A total of 132 million individuals have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine, equivalent to 40% of the entire US population and 51% of all adults. Of those, 85 million (26% of the total population; 33% of adults) are fully vaccinated. Among adults aged 65 years and older, 80% have received at least 1 dose, and 65% are fully vaccinated. In terms of full vaccination, 42 million individuals have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 35 million have received the Moderna vaccine, and 7.9 million have received the J&J-Janssen vaccine.

Read more at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Analysis: 3 Things Scientists Have Learned About Vaccine Hesitancy

As of Monday, all adults in the country — not just those most vulnerable to the virus — are eligible to get vaccinated. As of Monday, all adults in the country — not just those most vulnerable to the virus — are eligible to get vaccinated. But a troubling challenge remains in a country that has access to millions of doses while some nations still have none. A sizable portion of the population has what experts call “vaccine hesitancy.”

According to an ABC News analysis of the county-level data, vaccine hesitancy is estimated to be higher in rural parts of the country, especially in western states including Wyoming, North Dakota and Idaho, as well as in southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. Hesitancy is also estimated to be higher where COVID-19 cases are the highest — and in some of the most underserved parts of the country where vaccines are needed the most.

Read more at ABC News

Return to “Normalcy” – Lesson for the U.S. From Three Countries With Rapid Vaccination Rollouts

Rapid Covid-19 vaccination rollouts in Israel, the U.K. and Chile hold an important lesson for the U.S. as it navigates back to normalcy: Risks remain, even after inoculating a significant share of your population. The three countries have so far had contrasting experiences. Israel has reopened its economy and is closing down its Covid-19 treatment wards. Chile, by contrast, has locked down again and shut its borders. The U.K. is taking it slow, with a staged reopening planned over the next few months.

Epidemiologists say the risk is real of a so-called exit wave of new infections as countries drop their guard while shots increase, since vaccines don’t provide 100% protection against contracting Covid-19. New coronavirus variants that can evade the immunity conferred by vaccination or past infection heighten the risk of another surge.  Ease restrictions too rapidly and the virus will seize its chance, scientists say.

Read more at the WSJ

NIH-Funded COVID-19 Testing Initiative Aims to Safely Return Children to In-Person School

The National Institutes of Health is awarding up to $33 million over two years to fund projects at 10 institutions across eight states to build evidence on safely returning students, teachers and support staff to in-person school in areas with vulnerable and underserved populations. This funding was made available by the American Rescue Plan.

Known as the Safe Return to School Diagnostic Testing Initiative, the awards are part of the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program, which aims to increase COVID-19 testing access and uptake for vulnerable and underserved populations. Projects will combine frequent COVID-19 testing with proven safety measures to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Read more at NIH

State Department To Issue Travel Warnings Amid ‘Unprecedented’ COVID-19 Risks

The U.S. State Department on Monday announced plans to expand travel advisories, urging U.S. citizens to stay home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose “unprecedented risks” around the globe. The updated travel guidelines are intended to curb visits “to approximately 80% of countries worldwide” that are experiencing dramatic spikes in cases, the department said in a statement. New guidance is expected be released later this week.

The latest recommendations come as the coronavirus “continues to pose unprecedented risks to travelers,” and the new guidelines “better reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s science-based Travel Health Notices,” according to the notice.

Read more at NPR

Union Accuses Amazon of Illegally Interfering with Vote

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has filed objections to the National Labor Relations Board regarding the Alabama Amazon union vote, accusing the retailer of illegally skewing results by threatening employee layoffs and warehouse closure if workers voted to establish a union. Workers  overwhelmingly voted against forming a union, with 1,798 rejecting it and 738 voting in favor of it. A total of 3,117 votes were cast, about 53% of the nearly 6,000 workers at the warehouse.

“Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda,” said Amazon spokeswoman Heather Knox.

Read more a the Associated Press

UAW Workers at Volvo Trucks Go On Strike in Virginia

The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) revealed on April 17 that over 2,900 UAW workers have gone on strike at Volvo Truck’s New River Valley (NRV) truck plant in Dublin, Va. According to UAW’s statement, the UAW members, who voted 96.8% in favor of striking if a deal was not reached by March 15, want a new agreement that protects their families through job security and adequate wages and benefits, as well as their health and safety.

Volvo’s reaction to the strike was also that of surprise and disappointment. “Progress was being made, and we had offered substantial increases in our employees’ compensation,” said Franky Marchand, NRV vice president and general manager. “We don’t understand why the UAW won’t allow our employees to continue building trucks while we continue negotiations.”

Read more at IndustryWeek

Greenwald Doherty on COVID-19 Leaves “2.0”

With all the recently enacted federal and state laws that provide employees with COVID-19 sick and vaccine-related leaves of absences, employers may be uncertain of their obligations.  Some provisions are voluntary, but others are mandatory.  The federal government extended the ability for employers to receive tax credits if they provide certain COVID-related voluntary leave, but doing so could require the company to then provide extensive leaves of absence. 

Council Associate Member Greenwald Doherty writes that employers should strategically consider how to approach these voluntary leave provisions and how to remain compliant with the mandatory components of applicable local laws and offers some guidance.

Read more at Greenwald Doherty