Tuesday January 5th, 2021
Update on the State's Progress During the Ongoing Pandemic
"In 2021, we're going to be focusing on controlling and defeating COVID and to do that, we have two different goals we're working on simultaneously--controlling the spread, and then putting a harpoon in the beast and actually defeating the virus thanks to the vaccine," Governor Cuomo said. "What we're seeing in New York and all across this country is growing numbers of hospitalizations, infections and deaths, and they are all a consequence of our actions. We defeat COVID the way we've been controlling it for the past year, as a function of our activity. If the infection rate increases, then regions can close and that's the last thing anybody wants. If you don't want that, then do something about it--be smart, practice safe behaviors and reduce the infection rate."
Yesterday's statewide data is summarized briefly below:
  • Test Results Reported - 134,360
  • Total Positive - 11,209
  • Percent Positive - 8.34%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 8,251 (+288)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 925
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 1,357 (+13)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 843 (+28)
  • Total Discharges - 104,939 (+537)
  • Deaths - 170
  • Total Deaths - 30,648
Update on NY's Vaccination Efforts
Governor Cuomo today announced the latest prioritization for New Yorkers eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Beginning January 4, eligibility is being expanded to include all outpatient/ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers who provide direct in-person patient care, as well as all public health care workers who provide direct in-person care, including those who conduct COVID-19 tests and handle lab specimens. 

Beginning this week, eligibility will also be expanded to include home care workers, hospice workers, and nursing home and other congregate setting workers who have yet to receive a vaccine through the federal nursing home vaccination program.

"While we're trying to control COVID with one hand, we're trying to defeat it with the other and the vaccine is the weapon that will win this war," Governor Cuomo said. "Getting this vaccine out is going to be the single greatest operation government has ever had to accomplish and we're taking bold actions to ensure it is delivered swiftly and equitably for all New Yorkers. Not only are all health care workers - the heroes who have taken care of us throughout this entire pandemic - now eligible to receive their first dose, but we are taking steps to ensure providers expedite vaccinations, resources are in place to vaccinate the general public, and bad actors looking to game the system are held accountable." 

Under the Department of Health's most recent eligibility guidance, beginning January 4, all Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care, or other staff in a position in which they have direct contact with patients will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine.

This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Individuals who work in private medical practices 
  • Hospital-affiliated medical practices; public health clinics 
  • Specialty medical practices of all types 
  • Dental practices of all types 
  • Dialysis workers
  • Diagnostic and treatment centers 
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Phlebotomists
  • Behavioral health workers
  • Student health workers

Additionally, all front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including individuals who administer COVID-19 tests, handle COVID-19 lab specimens, and those directly engaged in COVID-19 vaccinations are also eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Eligibility also expands this week to include home care workers, those in the consumer directed programs, hospice workers, and staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities and other congregate settings who did not receive the COVID-19 vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.
NYers Can Use Sick Leave Benefits Started January 1st
Governor Cuomo announced that New Yorkers can begin using sick leave benefits under the state's nation-leading paid sick leave law starting January 1, 2021.

This legislation, which was advanced in the Governor's 2020 State of the State address and enacted as part of the FY 2021 Budget, secures paid sick leave for workers at medium and large businesses and paid or unpaid leave for those at small businesses, depending on the employer's net income. Under this groundbreaking law, New Yorkers can use guaranteed sick leave to recover from an illness themselves, care for a sick family member, or address safety needs if they or a family member are the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. More information is available on the state's Paid Sick Leave website.

New Yorkers earn sick leave based on the hours they work, earning one hour of leave for every 30 hours they work, retroactive to September 30, 2020. New York's new guaranteed sick leave law requires businesses to provide different levels of sick leave depending on their size: 
  • Businesses with 100 or more employees must provide up to seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave per year; 
  • Businesses with five to 99 employees must provide up to five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave per year; 
  • Businesses with fewer than five employees, but a net income of more than $1 million must provide up to five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave per year; and;
  • Smaller businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of less than $1 million must provide up to five days (40 hours) of unpaid sick leave. However, those already providing paid sick leave can continue to do so. 
UK Strain of COVID-19 Has Been Detected in Saratoga Springs
Gov Cuomo announced that the first confirmed case of the UK strain of COVID-19 virus has been detected in Saratoga Springs.

The new strain was detected by the Department of Health's Wadsworth laboratory as part of the state's UK strain testing program.

Governor Cuomo: "The Wadsworth lab confirmed a case of the UK strain in Saratoga County, New York. It's a gentleman who is in his 60s. He was symptomatic, but he is on the mend and he's doing better. He did not travel recently, so this suggests that it's in the community, it was community spread as opposed to having traveled to the UK." 
Today's Dose Sponsorship Opportunities
In 2020, and amidst the pandemic, the North Country Chamber of Commerce upgraded their communication offering to a two times a week enewsletter called “Today’s Dose”. This enewsletter has quickly become the go to resource for our business community, with a readership over over 4,000 people.

Because of this we want to extend a few advertising opportunities to our members to reach this incredibly engaged audiences. Below are a few statistics about the enewsletter as well as opportunities that are available.

Today’s Dose Stats:
  • Sent twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Sent to over 4,000 contacts
  • Reached Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren and Akwesasne Counties and Southern Quebec
  • Average readership around 50%
  • Click rate is 30%

These spots will go fast, so contact Adriana today to reserve your space!
Updated Quarantine Guidelines to Align with CDC
The Govenror announced updated quarantine guidelines for New York which are consistent with the latest Centers for Disease Control guidance.

Under the new guidelines, individuals exposed to COVID-19 can end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. After day 10 is reached, individuals must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 and if any develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare provider to report this change and determine if they should seek testing. Individuals should to continue strict adherence to all recommended safe behaviors to stop the spread - wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.

"As we approach the New Year and the end of the holiday season, all New Yorkers must remember one simple truth - celebrating smart stops shutdowns," Governor Cuomo said. "While the holidays have always been synonymous with socialization, the data shows vast majority of new cases are stemming from private gatherings. I understand not being able to join together with loved ones makes an already trying year, more difficult, but it also means we control our own destiny. New York is leading the nation in quickly and efficiently administering the vaccine, so if we can continue that progress and the rest of us keep making smart decisions like avoiding gatherings, socially distancing and wearing masks, we will finally reach the light at the end of the tunnel." 
Quebec Headed for Full Lockdown, Curfews Beginning Saturday
As health experts warn that the pandemic is out of control in Quebec and hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to mount, Premier François Legault on Wednesday will announce a province-wide lockdown that will include curfews.

Quoting sources within the government, the report says the lockdown will go into effect on Saturday, last three to four weeks and extend to schools, offices, construction work and all other activities and commercial operations except for those deemed essential such as food stores and pharmacies.

While Legault was expected to make the announcement on Tuesday, it was delayed for 24 hours in order to meet with representatives of those sectors that will be affected and establish means to execute the lockdown in a coherent manner.

According to the report, provincial health officials want to impose a curfew that would begin at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. and continue until morning. However, questions remain over how it could be applied, and the provincial public security ministry is examining what guidelines would be established.
The North Country Chamber of Commerce is pleased to acknowledge the generous partnership from our friends at CDPHP in support of our continued commitment to a comprehensive program of assistance for our region's small businesses through the pandemic.

With CDPHP's generous support, we will continue our informational services including:
  • Our twice-weekly "Today's Dose" e-newsletter
  • Webinars on a variety of topics related to the pandemic and business recovery
  • Promotion of safe practices including continued mask wearing and also vaccination
  • Direct staff assistance from small businesses answering their questions and addressing their challenges challenges
  • And our other efforts aimed at "leaving no business behind"

"We thank our partners at CDPHP for helping us to sustain our endeavors until this pandemic is behind us," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "Their clear commitment to the health and well being of the North Country is commendable and deeply appreciated."  
  • Forward NY: Official State Website for opening procedures and guidelines.
  • NYS Travel Advisory: Stay up to date on the latest NYS Travel Advisory Updates.
  • Looking for Supplies: If your business is looking for hard to find protective products, we have created a list of businesses offering hand sanitizer, gloves, wipes, masks and other items.
  • SCORE: Small business owners are resilient and can power through this challenging time, with SCORE by their side.
To help the North Country reopen safely and meet the state and local mandates, The North Country Chamber of Commerce has created a comprehensive list of resources to navigate state and local requirements. Check out the home page for details. There is also a series of webinars available for businesses to help educate and provide answers to common questions.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce