Weekly Chamber COVID-19 Update

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November 5,2020

HEALTH DASHBOARD UPDATES
For the most recent information on COVID-19 case numbers by jurisdiction, please visit the following dashboards:
Ohio  
Kentucky
Indiana
Hamilton County
City of Cincinnati

FEDERAL NEWS 
•    So far, congressional leaders have not indicated they are prioritizing a post-election stimulus package. Neither has the administration made public comments since the election on what it wants to pursue before the end of the year. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the two principal negotiators on previous bipartisan deliberations, have not met for over two weeks. 
•    The public health landscape is presenting mixed economic news. Case increases of COVID-19 are rapidly rising throughout the country, and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified that this is causing fears of potential economic interruptions similar to what happened in the spring. But hopes remain high for the delivery of an effective vaccine. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced Monday that initial results on their vaccine showed it was 90% effective. The timeline for final testing, approval, mass manufacturing and delivery of a vaccine are still unclear. 
•    New unemployment insurance claims were down this past week, though they still remained over 700,000. This is the lowest number of new claims since late March. 
•    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 638,000 jobs in October, which dropped the national unemployment rate to 6.9%. Industries with the most improved job gains were in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. 
•    Demographic groups are still stratified in terms of unemployment rates. White workers have the lowest unemployment rates in the country, while Black workers have the highest. It’s a trend that has continued throughout much the pandemic and recovery. 

STATE NEWS 
OHIO 

•    Ohio reported a record 7,101 new COVID-19 cases today.  This number is significantly higher than the 21-day average of 4,001 new cases. 
•    68 counties in Ohio are now red.  This is an increase of 8 counties since last week. 
•    $30M in federal stimulus dollars will be spent to support county health departments.  $200k will be sent to each county health department to be sued as needed to fight COVID.  The remaining funds will be used to hire contract tracers who can parachute into local communities to assist with contact tracing.    
•    On Wednesday, Governor DeWine addressed Ohioans to stress the importance of social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing as virus numbers continue to rise ahead of the flu season.  Ohioans were given one week for numbers to improve or else bars, restaurants, and gyms face another mandated shutdown on 11/19 as these are locations where it is difficult to maintain wearing a mask. 
•    Governor DeWine is implementing a new social distancing order that places significant restrictions on banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings after funerals. Open congregate areas can no longer be open. The new order requires everyone to be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks and prohibits things such as dancing and games. 
•    Governor DeWine will ask the Department of Health to reissue the mask order that’s been in place since July 23rd to include the following new provisions:  
      o    Each business will be required to post a Face Covering Requirement sign at each public entrance. A printable sign that businesses can use can be found here.   
      o    Each business will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks.  
      o    A new Retail Compliance Unit, led by the Bureau of Workers Compensation, will be inspecting to ensure retail compliance. A first violation of this order will bring about a written warning and a second violation will bring about closure of the store for up to 24 hours. 
•    Two new dashboards will be available at https://www.coronavirus.ohio.gov
      o    A zip code dashboard with the ability to view data from local communities and filter by case status.   
      o    A flu dashboard that expands the statewide seasonal flu information that is shared annually by the Ohio Department of Health. 
•    The small business relief grant application is open and applications are being reviewed. Each county has had 50 $10,000 grants reserved for their businesses.  Locally, only Brown County has not met their 50-business allotment.  More information can be found at https://www.businesshelp.ohio.gov.  
•    The DeWine administration has produced COVID-related fact sheets for the tourism/arts, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors as well as the general business community.
 
KENTUCKY 
•    Kentucky updated the state’s high-incidence map with the latest data available. Red counties are asked to follow the state’s more strict guidance due to the highest rates of COVID-19 spread. This week’s map includes Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant, Pendleton and Bracken counties in the highest level alert. There were more than 2,700 new cases on Wednesday, the most ever, and the positivity rate is over 8%, the highest it has been since May.  

•    Governor Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, state medical director, offered Thanksgiving guidance to Kentuckians in preparation for the upcoming holiday. The recommendations include: 
      o    Avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household. 
      o    Always wear a face covering or mask when you are not eating or drinking. 
      o    Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet. 
      o    Avoid large gatherings, especially those held indoors. 
      o    Do not host or attend crowded parades. 
      o    Avoid shopping in crowded stores before, on or after Thanksgiving. 
•    Governor Beshear announced a new program called Work Ready Kentucky Scholarships. The program will offer up to 60 hours of tuition for anyone who has not yet earned an associate degree in specific technical programs. 
•    The Kentucky State Supreme Court upheld executive actions Governor Beshear has taken during the pandemic emergency. In a ruling from a case appealed from a lower court earlier this year, the Supreme Court overturned a trial court decision that had issued an injunction against some of the mandates Gov. Beshear issued under his emergency powers.  

INDIANA 
•    The daily positivity rate in Indiana is now 10.3%. Due to rising case numbers, the state has formally ended the Back on Track Indiana plan and, beginning Nov. 15, Gov. Holcomb will implement an executive order instating new pandemic safety requirements for orange- and red-status counties.  
      o    If a county is at orange on the color-coded map, social gatherings of any kind (indoor or outdoor) are limited to 50 people.   
      o    If a county is at red, social gatherings of any kind (indoor or outdoor) are limited to 25 people. Vulnerable populations are requested to self-isolate. Local officials may limit hours of operation for bars, nightclubs and restaurants.  
•    To make it easier for local governments to comply to these new requirements, the state is offering $20 million in grants to use for compliance efforts, public awareness and enforcement. More details will be available on this soon. 
 
LOCAL NEWS 
•    Beginning on November 23rd, Cincinnati Public Schools will return to a distance learning model.  They plan to remain in distance learning through January 4th, at the earliest.  Complete details can be found here
•    Hamilton County continues to see record new cases, with hospitalizations and ICU admissions reaching worrying levels.  The County and the Health Collaborative both recommended that residents reconsider in-person, indoor Thanksgiving celebrations and other gatherings. 



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