Thursday January 28, 2021
Update on State's Progress During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Governor Cuomo announced that following a decline in new case and hospitalization rates over the past weeks all orange zone restrictions, and some yellow zone restrictions, have been lifted statewide, with remaining yellow zones in New York City and Newburgh where communities continue to qualify under the state's metrics for yellow zones. In New York City, the Bronx, Queens and Washington Heights remain in yellow zones. Existing statewide restrictions remain in place for areas no longer in orange and yellow zones, including capacity limits for certain businesses and restrictions on mass gatherings.
 
The Governor also announced additional cases of the UK variant have been found in Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Saratoga, Tompkins, Niagara, Onondaga, Essex and Warren Counties, bringing the statewide total to 42 cases.
 
"New York State has finally reached a point where we are comfortable saying the holiday surge we experienced from November to January has subsided," Governor Cuomo said. "While our infection and hospitalization rates are on the decline and more vaccines are in our immediate future, this war is not over and we must remain smart. Protecting of our hospitals and their staff remains a top priority and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure these facilities do not become overwhelmed. With more and more vaccines being administered every day and an increase in allotment from the Biden administration, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, but until it is in full view we must keep doing what we know works - wear a mask, social distance and avoid gatherings."
 
Yesterday's data is summarized briefly below:
 
  • Test Results Reported - 202,661
  • Total Positive - 11,028
  • Percent Positive - 5.44%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 8,771 (-60)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 1,041
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 1,558 (+14)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 1,027 (+21)
  • Total Discharges - 124,003 (+909)
  • Deaths - 170
  • Total Deaths - 34,579
Update on State's Vaccination Program
New York's health care distribution sites have received 1,304,050 first doses and already administered 96 percent or 1,246,946 first dose vaccinations and 77 percent of first and second doses. The week 7 allocation from the federal government is in the process of being delivered to providers for administration.

"I'm pleased that President Biden has put forth a plan to fix the mess left by the previous administration, including increasing our vaccine supply by 16 percent in the short term and ramping up production substantially to ensure we have the supply we need for the coming months," Governor Cuomo said. "Remember, until now we've been operating week to week. Now, we know exactly how much supply we're getting for at least the next three weeks. Providers can schedule appointments further out and should continue administering to their assigned priority populations to ensure equity and fairness. It will still take months to vaccinate the entire eligible population but with new leadership in Washington, I'm confident we're headed in the right direction."

7 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. The federal government has increased the weekly supply by 16 percent but New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

Vaccination program numbers are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state's vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government's Long Term Care Facility program. A breakdown of the data based on numbers reported to New York State as of 11:00 AM today is as follows:

STATEWIDE BREAKDOWN
  • First Doses Received - 1,304,050
  • First Doses Administered - 1,246,946
  • Second Doses Received - 564,600
  • Second Doses Administered - 186,283
North Country Employment Continues to Outperform State
Our area of the North Country continued in December to outperform the state at large in terms of employment. Unemployment statewide in December 2020 was 8.1% compared with 3.7% a year earlier.

In Clinton County, it was 5.8% compared with 4.7%; in Essex County it was 5.9% compared with 5.6%; in Franklin County it was 5.7% compared with 5.4%; in Hamilton County it was 6.1% compared with 9.6%; and in Warren County it was 6.4% compared with 5.7%.
Please join the North Country Chamber of Commerce for a special "Morning Virtual Forum" featuring annual addresses and presentations on the State of Clinton County, the City of Plattsburgh and the Town of Plattsburgh. Following a turbulent 2020 and a change in federal leadership in 2021 we look forward to hearing what is ahead for the North Country region and what our government leaders are prioritizing. 

Speakers include:
  • Mark Henry, Chair, Clinton County Legislature
  • Chris Rosenquest, Mayor, City of Plattsburgh
  • Michael Cashman, Supervisor, Town of Plattsburgh

Details:   
  • Date: February 3rd
  • Time: 8am
  • Where: Virtually at your computer or on your smartphone
  • Registration:
  • $10/person for members & partner members
  • $15/person for not-yet-members
  • Proceeds will support the continued work of your Chamber during this time.

Use the link below to register.

Call Adriana at 518.563.1000 or email her at adriana@northcountrychamber.com with any questions. 

  • We look forward to "seeing" you!
Made Possible by:
Consolidated Appropriations Act Update
On December 27, 2020, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2021. This new law provides relief options related to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Employers can choose to adopt any of these provisions or to keep their plan the same.

Optional provisions include:
  • Full carryover of all unused funds for plan years ending in both 2020 and 2021. This is applicable to all health and dependent care FSAs.
  • Grace period extension: Increase from 2 ½ months to 12 months for plan years ending in both 2020 and 2021. This is applicable to all health and dependent care FSAs.
  • Post termination reimbursements: Terminated employees or employees who choose not to participate in the plan during 2020 or 2021 can spend down unspent balances through the end of the plan year in which they terminate (and through the end of the grace period for that plan year, if applicable). Reimbursements would be limited to unused contributions, similar to a dependent care FSA. This is applicable to all health FSAs.
  • Mid-year election changes to FSA elections can continue to be allowed on a prospective basis during plan years ending in 2021 without regard to any change in status requirements. This is applicable to all health and dependent care FSAs.
  • A special carry forward for dependent care FSAs, where the age limit for qualifying children may be extended from age 13 to 14 for a plan year. Eligibility requirements apply.
Legault says Restrictions will Remain in Place in Montreal After Feb. 8
Premier François Legault said he will announce a lifting of some COVID-19 prevention measures in some parts of the province next week, but those in place in the greater Montreal region will almost certainly be extended beyond Feb. 8.
“We are being careful. Effectively, you can expect that in the greater Montreal region, significant measures will remain,” Legault said at his COVID-19 update news conference in Montreal Tuesday afternoon.

While hospitalizations are still far too high to consider lifting restrictions in Montreal, Legault noted the trend in new cases is positive. He cited an average of 1,500 per day across Quebec this week, down from 2,500 two weeks ago, and he credited the measures his government has taken to reduce the spread for that drop.
ROOST - Year in Review
Last month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it is developing a new digital health credential solution that has the potential to reopen international travel and replace compulsory quarantine measures. As FTE this week unveiled plans for a new dedicated Digital Health Pass Symposium, which will take place during the upcoming Virtual Expo 2021, we caught up with Alan Murray Hayden, Head Airport, Passenger and Security Products, IATA, to find out more about this emerging technology and how it can help restart global aviation in a safe, secure and unified manner.
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.
Sponsored by:
QUICK LINKS:
  • NYS Vaccination Updates: Official Site for making an appointment to get the COVID-19 Vaccine.
  • 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.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce
518.563.1000