COVID-19 - What You Need to Know TODAY
August 11, 2020
Recent Updates that May Affect YOUR Business
There are quite a few updates from over the weekend. Continue to get the most up-to-date information from our COVID-19 News You Can Use newsletter. Please be informed. Please make sure it comes from a reputable source.

July jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was stronger than expected. Jobs increased 1.8 million in July. Analysts anticipated the economy to add 1 million jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 10.2% from 11.1% in June. Wages grew 0.2% on an annual basis and the labor force declined by 62,000 in June. For the complete report, CLICK HERE.

After negotiations in Congress failed to reach an agreement by the August 7 deadline, President Trump issued an executive order in efforts to relieve Americans’ financial strain. In the order, the President called for the deferment of payroll taxes for the rest of 2020, a pause on student loan repayment, efforts to halt evictions, and the reinstatement of federal unemployment benefits at a lowered rate of $400 per week ($300 from the federal government and $100 from state government). To learn more, CLICK HERE.

The US Chamber led supporters to urge Congress to pass temporary, targeted liability protection for businesses, schools and universities to get people back to work, students back to school, and our economy moving again. According to a US Chamber and MetLife Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll taken earlier this year, two-thirds (67%) of small businesses are worried about COVID-related lawsuits. To read the entire poll, CLICK HERE.

Governor Abbott extended the Disaster Declaration for all Texas Counties in response to COVID-19 on August 8th. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a variety of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced $1.1 billion in Quality Incentive Payment Program (QIPP) funds have been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to support Texas nursing facilities that provide care for individuals receiving Medicaid. QIPP provides performance incentive Medicaid payments to nursing facilities that provide care for persons with Medicaid and rewards quality improvements in staffing, infection control, and other key long-term care quality indicators. For more information, CLICK HERE.

On Monday, the Austin American Statesman reported more than one-fifth of Texans taking the coronavirus tests are currently testing positive. Over the past week, the average rate of Texans testing positive for the virus among those tested – known as the positivity rate – was reported on Monday as 21%. State health officials also reported 31 additional deaths attributed to the coronavirus, bringing the pandemic death toll in Texas to 8,490. To read the article, CLICK HERE.

Williamson County now has 6,893 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Since my last COVID-19 Newsletter (Thursday), there have been an additional 944 cases. According to Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD), the large amount of cases were due to a lab-reporting backlog from the state. There are currently 70 people hospitalized leaving 24% of the beds available. There are 25 in the ICU leaving 20% of the ICU beds available. Currently Williamson County has 76% of the ventilators available for use. The Rate of New Infection is at 25.9%.  For more information, visit the WCCHD Dashboard.

It’s time to get ready to go back to school! With the first three weeks of the school year completely online, LISD knows things are different. In an effort to assist families with planning for the start of this school year, LISD created the 2020-2021 Back-to-School Checklist. CLICK HERE to view the checklist.

There has continued to be an uptick in confirmed positive cases. In today’s newsletter there was an article from the Austin American Statesman that reported more than 20% of Texans who are taking tests – are testing positive. Williamson County caught up from a backlog of positive cases over the weekend as well. This added 944 additional cases. The current rate of new infection for WILCO is 25.9%.

Continue to be aware of the situation. Continue to practice physical distancing. Continue to wear masks whenever possible in public settings and if it is something you can medically participate in. While there are many people who are used to the current situation we are in, there are plenty more who are not used to it. Continue to have patience and understanding. 

Be safe and be kind to one another!

Tony Moline, IOM, PCED
President & CEO
Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce