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CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION

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  • Tuesday, December 29, 2020 10:42 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    SPECIAL ALERT

    Many employers are wondering whether they may require their employees to be vaccinated from COVID-19. The short answer is yes.



    Generally, employers may require employees to be vaccinated, so long as the vaccination is job-related, consistent with business necessity, and the employer makes reasonable accommodations for disabilities and religious beliefs. But, perhaps the better question is should you require it?

    Business Necessity

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employer may require a vaccination or medical exam when it is "job-related and consistent with business necessity." As such, whether an employer may require a COVID-19 vaccine is likely to turn on questions such as: (1) Does the employee work in a high-risk setting (such as in a hospital or health care facility)? (2) Does the employee often interact with the public (such as a cashier at a grocery store)? (3) How effective is the vaccine?

    Reasonable Accommodation

    Even if employers can require employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine, they should expect a flock of requests for exceptions or "reasonable accommodation."

    Practical Considerations

    Employers should also consider employee morale, fears, and concerns. Some employees may be fearful about vaccination side effects. Others may be open to taking the vaccine but may want to wait until it has been available for a while. 

    Get more details and on the business necessity, reasonable accommodations, and practical considerations involved with considering making the COVID-19 vaccination required >>


    California Employers Association
    1451 River Park Drive, #116
    Sacramento, California 95815
    (800) 399-5331   employers.org




  • Monday, December 21, 2020 1:43 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Monday, December 21, 2020, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Newsom participated remotely and is in quarantine for a second time after being exposed to a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19.  The governor’s office made this announcement on Sunday evening.  According to his office, Newsom tested negative Sunday, as did other staff members who were in contact with the infected person.

    At the start of the briefing, Newsom addressed the latest spike in COVID-19 case numbers.   He said the ICUs continue to reach breaking points across the state.  “We have built surge capacity, but because of the nationwide surge, staffing is extremely limited.”   Newsom also addressed California’s federal resource requests.

    Specifically, the Governor reported there were 37,892 new COVID-19 cases on December 20th and California's seven-day average has increased to 43,901 new cases.  The 14-day positivity rate has climbed to 12 percent.  Hospitalizations and ICU patient figures also continuing to trend upward in the state— a 63 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 51 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the last 14 days.  Newsom soberly said the death rate is also increasing – 2,741 lives have been lost over the last two weeks.

    Below is the current available ICU capacity by region.

     

    • Statewide                    2.5%
    • Bay Area                     13.7%
    • Greater Sacramento   16.2%
    • Northern California     28.7%
    • San Joaquin Valley   0%
    • Southern California  0%

    The Governor further noted 98% of Californians are under Regional Stay-at-Home Order (San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Greater Sacramento, and the Bay Area).  Based on current trends, Newsom said it is likely that the Regional Stay-at-Home orders will be extended. The orders were set to expire between late December and early January depending on the region.

    Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Newsom said the FDA approved the Moderna vaccine over the weekend.  The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has confirmed it safe for public use.  Additional details reported include 672,600 Moderna doses for California this week (Moderna is easier to store and will be more accessible in rural California) and 560,625 Pfizer doses for California thus far, with 70,258 doses administered.

    Newsom also highlighted some upcoming meetings related to vaccine distribution:   

    • Today: Drafting Guidelines Workgroup. 
    • December 23rd: Community Vaccine Advisory Committee.  Public Meeting 2-4 PM.  

    The Governor also spoke about the Federal COVID-19 Relief package.  He noted the following:

    • $300/week for 11 weeks for unemployment – approximately $20 billion to CA
    • $600 in direct stimulus checks to help lower-income Californians – approximately $17 billion to CA
    • Extension of CARES Act Funding until end of December 2021
    • $325 billion in small business relief
    • $25 billion in rental assistance – approximately $2 billion to CA
    • $69 billion for testing, tracing, and vaccines – approximately $1.3 billion to CA
    • $82 billion for education – approximately $8.5 billion to CA
    • $7 billion in broadband support including $3.2 billion for low-income families
    • $45 billion for the transportation sector– approximately $2 billion to CA
    • $10 billion in childcare – approximately $1 billion to CA
    • $26 billion for nutrition and agricultural assistance including $13 billion to increase SNAP benefits.

    Additionally, Newsom spoke about the New COVID strain.  The California SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing Initiative monitors the COVID-19 virus and looks for new mutations constantly and are monitoring the new strain closely, he said.  Currently, there is no evidence of this new COVID strain in California.   Reports in South Africa and a recent report from the UK note a few cases in other nearby European counties.  Newsom said California is exploring potential quarantine protocols for visitors from the UK, as this new COVID-19 strain emerges.

    Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services,  also spoke at the briefing about this new strain.   He said the new strain in the UK doesn't seem to make people sicker, but it does appear to spread more easily.  He also expressed concern about “the unknowns.”

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked more about ICU capacity.  In response, he and Dr. Ghaly said the state is working to support facilities across the state.   Dr. Ghaly also referenced the crisis standards of care guidelines that are posted on the CDPH website.  Newsom again stressed the need for staff as ICU patients increase. 

    The Governor was asked about the Rose Bowl moving from Pasadena to Texas.  In response, Newsom said,  "I love the Rose Bowl. As a 5th generation Californian, I feel like there was the Gold Rush, and then there was the Rose Bowl," but he said "we can't make exceptions" to allow fans as cases in the region increase.

    Regarding the regional Stay-at-Home order, Dr. Ghaly said the state is looking to decide on extending the orders, possibly by the end of this week.

    Asked about being in quarantine after exposure to a staffer who later tested positive for COVID-19, Newsom said he's "separate from the family" in the house and will be "for the next number of days."

    The briefing concluded at approximately 1:25 p.m. PDT.  Newsom said he'll be providing additional updates this week, but intends to spare us on Christmas.

     

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There is now a total of 1,892,348 (+2.0 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 22,676 (+0.4 percent) deaths in California.  As of December 20th, there have been 29,860,404 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.  

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Thursday, December 17, 2020 11:14 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Should Companies Require COVID-19 Vaccines?


    Generally, employers may require employees to be vaccinated, so long as it's job-related, consistent with business necessity, and allow reasonable accommodations for disabilities and religious beliefs. Perhaps the better question is should you require it?

    Read more >>

    California Employers Association
    1451 River Park Drive, #116
    Sacramento, California 95815
    (800) 399-5331   employers.org

  • Thursday, December 17, 2020 11:00 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Standards Board Unanimously Adopts Emergency Temporary Standards to Protect Workers from COVID-19

    New Cal/OSHA standards are expected to go into effect by the end of the month. The Department of Industrial Relations' Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board unanimously adopted emergency temporary standards to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19.

     

    Read more >>

    California Employers Association
    1451 River Park Drive, #116
    Sacramento, California 95815
    (800) 399-5331   employers.org


  • Tuesday, December 15, 2020 1:27 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 10:00 am PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    At the start of the briefing, Newsom discussed the distribution of the vaccine and the plans to administer it to the Phase 1A people who include healthcare workers and residents in long-term care settings.  He further discussed the meetings taking place this week to talk about the folks who may be included in Phase 1B.  He specifically mentioned people being considered include teachers, farm workers and grocery store employees.

    Newsom also addressed the latest spike in COVID-19 case numbers.  Specifically, there were 32,326 new COVID-19 cases on December 14th and the 14-day positivity rate has climbed to 10.7 percent.  Hospitalizations and ICU patient figures also continue to trend upward in the state— a 68 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 54 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the last 14 days.  

    Recall, the Regional Stay Home Order (PDF), announced December 3, 2020, will go into effect at 11:59 PM the day after a region has been announced to have less than 15% ICU availability.

    Below is the current available ICU capacity by region. 

    • Bay Area                     15.8%
    • Greater Sacramento   14.9%
    • Northern California      29.8%
    • San Joaquin Valley     1.6%
    • Southern California     1.7%

    The Governor further noted that the statewide ICU capacity rate is 5.7% and there is a great need for additional healthcare workers to work in California’s healthcare facilities.  He noted recent emergency regulations to change the nurse to patient staffing ratios from 1:2 to 1:3 to try to address the surge of hospitalizations as an example of efforts being made to address capacity issues. 

    The Governor also discussed plans to deal with the number of deaths and highlighted that in November the average 7-day death rate was 41 and now in December the average 7-day death rate is 163.  

    Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services, was also present at the briefing and gave brief remarks.  He spoke about the importance of people wearing a mask and being really careful about congregating during the holidays.  He expressed concerns about people being A-symptomatic and unknowingly getting their loved ones sick. 

    Regarding a vaccine – yesterday, Newsom joined Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, one of the first locations in the state to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, as first doses were administered.  His Administration also launched “Vaccinate All 58”, California’s campaign for a safe, fair and equitable vaccine for all 58 counties in the state.   As noted in a Governor’s office press release, “California is determining its distribution guidelines in an open and equitable fashion as initial vaccine supplies will be very limited.  At first, vaccines will be provided to health care workers and those in long-term care settings in accordance with the CDPH Allocation Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine During Phase 1A.”

    During the Q&A the Governor was asked a number of questions about the administering of the vaccine and who will be considered a priority.  He indicated that the decision will be made at the state level and it will be a result of very thoughtful and deliberative discussions in the coming weeks.

    In closing, the Governor reiterated the importance of wearing a mask and being safe during the holidays.  He highlight that there is light at the end of the tunnel but we are still currently in the tunnel. 

    The briefing concluded at approximately 11:45 a.m. PDT.

    On December 14th, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order addressing a variety of issues in response to the pandemic, including extending the availability of housing for migrant agricultural workers, providing a 90-day extension on tax returns and tax payments for small businesses and updating Cal/OSHA requirements related to quarantine guidelines. The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There is now a total of 1,585,044 (+2.1 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 21,046 (+0.4 percent) deaths in California.  As of  December 14th, there have been 27,552,039 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.  

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Monday, December 07, 2020 11:18 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    MKA California COVID-19 Update  

    On Monday, December 7, 2020, at 9:30 am PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The briefing was held earlier than normal given the Legislative swearing-in session taking place later today. 

    At the start of the briefing, Newsom unveiled the ‘CA Notify’ – a new app allowing Apple and Google smartphone users to opt-in to COVID-19 exposure notifications letting them know when they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.  Newsom promised that the app is 100 percent private and secure; 100 percent opt-in; and does not track location.  CA Notify launches Thursday, December 10th.   The initial pilot for this tool started in September at UC campuses.   Additional information can be found here: https://canotify.ca.gov/.

    Newsom also addressed the latest spike in COVID-19 case numbers.  Specifically, there were 24,735 new COVID-19 cases on December 6th and California's seven-day average has increased to 21,924 new cases.  The 14-day positivity rate has climbed to 8.4 percent.  The rate of positive tests has increased to 10.5 percent in the past week, surpassing the levels of the summer surge.  Hospitalizations and ICU patient figures also continuing to trend upward in the state— a 72 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 69 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over the last 14 days.  Hospitals are cutting back on elective surgeries as coronavirus patients pour in, Newsom said.

    Recall, the Regional Stay Home Order (PDF), announced December 3, 2020, will go into effect at 11:59 PM the day after a region has been announced to have less than 15% ICU availability.  Over the weekend, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced two regions – San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – dropped below the 15% capacity.  The Regional Stay at Home Order took effect in those two regions at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday and will remain in effect for at least three weeks.  Regions will be eligible to exit from the order and return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy on December 28th if ICU capacity projections for the following month are above or equal to 15%. 

    Also, it should be noted that six Bay Area jurisdictions decided to enact the order ahead of the state edict.  The regional action will apply in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, and the city of Berkeley.

    Below is the current available ICU capacity by region. 

    • Bay Area                     25.7%
    • Greater Sacramento   20.3%
    • Northern California     28.2%
    • San Joaquin Valley   6.3%
    • Southern California  10.9%

    The Governor further noted that staffing remains the number one issue as we take on the latest COVID-19 surge.  He then highlighted some examples of what the state is doing to address this concern including contracting staffing agencies and requesting federal assistance.  California is also expanding a program to care for COVID-19 patients who need oxygen support from their homes.  The state is also training more nurses to work in ICUs through a 2-day training program.  Finally, Newsom reminded  Californians that the state is actively trying to onboard additional individuals (who may have expired licenses or be retired or are not currently working) for the California Health Corps.

    Regarding a vaccine update, California successfully submitted first order last Friday (part of the initial 327k) and the anticipated delivery is around December 15th.  First doses will go to facilities that will vaccinate their high-risk healthcare workers.  Community Vaccine Advisory Committee meets on Wednesday to discuss Phase 1b allocation.  The meeting is open to the public.  The total number of vaccine doses California is anticipating in December, Newsom said, is 2.16 million.  The vaccines will require two doses.

    Newsom then went over the six steps of the vaccine process for California.  He also provided information regarding new public education campaign efforts, including billboards and PSAs.

    In closing, the Governor introduced Tomas Aragón, San Francisco’s public health officer, who has been appointed as the Director of the California Department of Public Health.   This comes four months after Dr. Sonia Angell resigned.

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked more about the CA Notify app and whether or not it will be effective given the opt-in nature of the tool.  The Governor responded by simply stating that he believes enough individuals will opt-in to make it meaningful.

    Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services, reiterated that the Thanksgiving-related surge continues to show up in the COVID-19 data.

    On schools and education, Newsom punted on specific questions regarding inequity.  He simply rehashed past efforts his Administration has undertaken to reopen schools and noted that a lot of decisions around in-person instruction are happening at the local level.

    The briefing concluded at approximately 11:00 a.m. PDT.  

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There is now a total of 1,341,700 (+2.3 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 19,876 (+0.4 percent) deaths in California.  As of November 15thth, there have been 25,195,046 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.  

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Friday, December 04, 2020 10:17 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Thursday, December 3, 2020

    (916) 445-4571

    California Health Officials Announce a Regional Stay at Home Order Triggered by ICU Capacity 

    Health officials are tracking the state by five regions: Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California

    Regional Stay at Home Order takes effect Saturday; affects regions with less than 15 percent ICU availability

    Regional Stay at Home Orders will require Californians to stay at home as much as possible, close operations for certain sectors and require 100 percent masking and physical distancing in all others

    Schools currently open can remain open and retailers can operate indoors at no more than 20 percent capacity to reduce exposure risk

    New order is a modification of the state’s initial Stay at Home Order signed in March and builds on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy

    SACRAMENTO – As COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations continue to rise at an alarming pace and threaten to overwhelm the health care delivery system, California health officials today announced a Regional Stay at Home Order that will be triggered if Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity drops below 15 percent in a given region. State health officials are tracking the state by five regions: Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern CaliforniaNo regions currently meet this threshold but some are projected to within the next week. Residents are required to stay at home as much as possible and minimize mixing to reduce unnecessary exposure, while still being able to do important things like go to the doctor, buy groceries, pick up take out, go on a hike, or worship outdoors. K-12 schools that are already open can remain open and retailers can operate indoors at no more than 20 percent capacity to reduce exposure risk.

     

    The public health order takes effect at 12:59 p.m. on December 5. Thereafter, if a region falls below the 15 percent ICU threshold, it will have 24 hours to implement the Stay at Home Order.

    The five regions are:  

    ·         Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity 

    ·         Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma 

    ·         Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba 

    ·         San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne 

    ·         Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura 

    Regions will remain in the Regional Stay at Home Order status for at least three weeks once triggered. Counties are eligible to come off the Regional Stay at Home Order after three weeks if their hospital ICU capacity projected four weeks out reaches 15 percent. Counties will return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier determined by their case rate and test positivity after they are eligible to exit the Regional Stay at Home Order.  

    “We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” said Governor Newsom. “By invoking a Stay at Home Order for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15 percent, we can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our health care system. I’m clear-eyed that this is hard on all of us -- especially our small businesses who are struggling to get by. That’s why we leaned in to help our small business owners with new grants and tax relief to help us get through this month. If we stay home as much as possible, and wear masks when we have to go to the doctor, shop for groceries or go for a hike, California can come out of this in a way that saves lives and puts us on a path toward economic recovery.” 

    “We know what a struggle this pandemic has been for so many California families, but our actions have saved countless lives,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary. “This targeted action will preserve vital ICU beds for people who need them -- whether they’re COVID-19 patients or someone who has suffered a heart attack or a stroke.” 

    “Staying home for three weeks is a sacrifice, but if every Californian did that for a month, we could stop this disease in its tracks,” said Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Public Health Officer. “This public health order strikes the balance between saving lives, providing essential services that we all rely on and still allowing Californians to participate in lower-risk outdoor activities that are crucial for our physical and mental health.” 

    The terms of the Regional Stay at Home Order closely mirror the March order, with some variations.  

    What does the Regional Stay at Home Order do?  

    The Regional Stay at Home Order would be in effect for 3 weeks after the trigger and instructs Californians to stay at home as much as possible to limit the mixing with other households that can lead to COVID-19 spread. It allows access to (including travel for) critical services and allows outdoor activities to preserve Californians’ physical and mental health. This limited closure will help stop the surge and prevent overwhelming regional ICU capacity.  

    In any region that triggers a Regional Stay at Home Order because it drops below 15 percent ICU capacity, all operations in the following sectors must be closed:  

    ·         Indoor and Outdoor Playgrounds 

    ·         Indoor Recreational Facilities 

    ·         Hair Salons and Barbershops 

    ·         Personal Care Services 

    ·         Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums 

    ·         Movie Theaters 

    ·         Wineries 

    ·         Bars, Breweries and Distilleries 

    ·         Family Entertainment Centers 

    ·         Cardrooms and Satellite Wagering  

    ·         Limited Services 

    ·         Live Audience Sports 

    ·         Amusement Parks 

    The following sectors will have additional modifications in addition to 100 percent masking and physical distancing: 

    ·         Outdoor Recreational Facilities: Allow outdoor operation only without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted. 

    ·         Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.  

    ·         Shopping Centers: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems. 

    ·         Hotels and Lodging: Allow to open for critical infrastructure support only. 

    ·         Restaurants: Allow only for take-out or pick-up. 

    ·         Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.  

    ·         Places of Worship: Allow outdoor services only. 

    ·         Entertainment Production including Professional Sports: Allow operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged. 

    The Order does not modify existing state guidance regarding K-12 schools.

    The following sectors are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible with appropriate infectious disease preventative measures including 100 percent masking and physical distancing: 

    ·         Critical Infrastructure  

    ·         Non-urgent medical and dental care 

    ·         Child care and pre-K 

    When does a Regional Stay at Home Order end?  

    The Regional Stay at Home Order will be implemented regionally once there is less than 15 percent ICU capacity remaining in the designated region. After three weeks from the start of the Stay-at-Home Order, the following criteria would apply: 

    1.       End for a county in a region if the region’s ICU capacity projected out four weeks (from three weeks since the Stay-at-Home Order started) is above or equal to 15 percent. Each county in the region would be assigned to a tier based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

    2.       Remain in effect in a county if the region’s ICU capacity projected out four weeks (from three weeks since the Stay-at-Home Order started) is less than 15 percent. The order would remain in effect until the region’s ICU capacity meets criteria (1) above. This would be assessed on a weekly basis. 

    Non-Essential Travel Lodging

    Except as otherwise required by law, no hotel or lodging entity in California shall accept or honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired.  

    Can people go outside? 

    Members of the same household are encouraged to maintain physical and mental health by safely going to a park, hike, walk or bike ride when safe to do so and socially distanced. Californians are also encouraged to keep connected with loved ones virtually.

    The Regional Stay at Home Order can be found here

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


  • Thursday, December 03, 2020 2:44 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    MKA - McHugh Koepke & Associates Government Relations

    MKA California COVID-19 Update 

    On Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 12:30 PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    At the start of the briefing, Newsom addressed the latest increase in COVID-19 case numbers.  Specifically, there were 18,591 new COVID-19 cases on December 2nd and California's seven-day average has increased to 15,121 new cases.  Newsom said the effects of Thanksgiving will be felt for a few weeks – “ A surge on top of a surge.”  The 14-day positivity rate is up to 7 percent.  Hospitalizations and ICU patients are also continuing to trend upward in the state— a 86 percent increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and a 67 percent increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions over 14 days.  The number of COVID-19 deaths is also rising.  In the last 14 days, there have been 971 deaths. 

    "If we don’t act now, California’s hospital system will be overwhelmed and our new death rate will continue to climb," Newsom said.

    To blunt the surge and save lives, Newsom announced a Regional Stay-at-Home order for California based on available hospital capacity.  Regions where the ICU capacity falls below 15 percent will be placed under this order.  The order will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 percent.  This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial 3 week period.

    Counties will be grouped by regional hospital networks, into five regions.  The regions are:

    • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
    • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

    Currently, no region has been placed under the Regional Stay-at-Home Order.  However, Newsom said that four of the five regions could within early December, as early as the next day or two.  It is anticipated that the Bay Area will probably get there by mid-to-late December.

    Under this Regional Stay-at-Home Order, bars, wineries, hair salons/barbershops, and other personal services will close. The state will also restrict statewide nonessential travel for affected regions.  Sectors that will remain open when a region is placed into the Regional Stay-At-Home, include: Schools that are already open; critical infrastructure; retail (20 percent capacity to reduce exposure; restaurants (take-out and delivery).  The Governor also said its important to stay active and connected during these times.  He encouraged Californians to get outdoors by walking their dog, going on a run, doing yoga, etc.

    Newsom said the state is doing everything in its power to help hospitals prepare for this surge, while also supporting businesses and workers impacted.  

    He noted that California has 11 surge facilities throughout the state, and also PPE inventory is in the millions for N95 and surgical masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, etc.  In terms of ventilators, the state has 14,233 available in state inventory and 6,996 still available in hospitals.

    The Governor acknowledged this new stay-at-home order will hurt small businesses. He then recapped relief efforts businesses, including tax deferrals, an emergency relief package, and an increased California Rebuilding Fund.  Also, he said his Administration will be working with the Legislature to do more, including waving fees for heavily impacted industries.  He also spoke to supports for workers.  The Governor also summarized housing efforts including the evictions moratorium, project Roomkey, Housing for Harvest, and hotel rooms for healthcare works.

    Newsom also noted that this is not a permanent state.  He proclaimed, “help is on the way.”  A vaccine is coming – with first doses arriving in the next few weeks.  The state has "sub-prioritized" the 327,000 doses that will arrive first into 3 tiers for Plan 1-A, as follows:   

    Tier 1:

    - Acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospitals

    - Skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable

    - Paramedics, EMTs and others providing emergency medical services

    - Dialysis centers

    Tier 2:

    - Intermediate care facilities

    - Home healthcare & supportive services

    - Community health workers

    - Public health field staff

    - Primary Care clinics, including

    Rural Health Centers, correctional facility clinics and urgent care clinics

    Tier 3: Other settings and health care workers, including:

    - Specialty clinics

    - Laboratory workers

    - Dental / oral health clinics

    - Pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers

    The 327k doses will be distributed through 6 regions in California. Here are the doses per region:

    Region I: 126,750

    Region II: 80,497

    Region III: 8,592

    Region IV: 35,145

    Region V: 16,706

    Region VI: 59,910

    Tomorrow these regions will make orders directly to Pfizer based on prioritizations of the 3 tiers.

    Newsom said transparency, equity, and safety will continue to be the state’s top priorities as California begins the vaccine distribution process for Phase 1.  The state will be watching to ensure that wealthy people do not jump the line and get vaccines ahead of front-line workers.

    In closing, Newsom said, "This is the most dangerous moment of the pandemic so far. All of us will be rewarded knowing we saved the lives of loved ones and saved the lives of strangers."

    During the Q&A portion of the briefing, Newsom was asked more about this new Regional Stay-at-Home order.  Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's Health and Human Services secretary, responded by reiterating that the evidence shows this is a tool that can be successful. 

    When asked about enforcement, Newsom said he has been in conversations with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).  He said his team is seeing “overwhelming support for enforcement.”  Again reiterates California does not want to penalize counties or the public for violating rules but instead, convince people to follow guidelines.  Newsom said a "very small number of people now are in total denial."

    Regarding holiday travel – "We're asking people to stay at home," Dr Ghaly said.  He also said more guidance will be issued.  Despite the voluntary nature of the travel advisory, he believes it has made a difference.

    "I'm doing my job, I'll continue to do my job. That's what I have to do," Newsom said when asked a question of how he'll earn back trust following the French Laundry incident.

    The briefing concluded at approximately 2:00 p.m. PDT. 

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There is now a total of 1,245,948 (+1.7 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 19,324 (+0.3 percent) deaths in California.  As of November 15thth, there have been 24,299,126 tests conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here 

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Thursday, December 03, 2020 1:25 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)


    California Employers Association
    1451 River Park Drive, #116
    Sacramento, California 95815
    (800) 399-5331   employers.org

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    Reimbursing Remote Work Expenses

    Remote worker

    Labor Code 2802 requires employers to reimburse employees for "all necessary business expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties." Let's break that down further.

     

    Read more >>


  • Wednesday, December 02, 2020 2:30 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    COVID-19 Emergency Regulations For Employers Take Effect

    State regulators have approved new rules outlining the steps employers must take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at work.  Specifically, on November 30th, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) offer their approval of the 21-page emergency regulation containing new statewide standards for employers regarding COVID-19 training, testing, hazard assessment/mitigation, reporting, among other rules. 

    “These are strong but achievable standards to protect workers. They also clarify what employers have to do to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19 and stop outbreaks,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker

    As emergency standards, these regulations become effective immediately.  In terms of enforcement, the following statement was noted in a Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) press release: “For employers who need time to fully implement the regulations, enforcement investigators will take their good faith efforts to implement the emergency standards into consideration. However, aspects such as eliminating hazards and implementing testing requirements during an outbreak are essential.”

    Also notable, Cal/OSHA has posted FAQs and a one-page fact sheet on the regulation, as well as a model COVID-19 prevention program

    In terms of next steps, Cal/OSHA announced they will convene a stakeholder meeting in December, where it is anticipated that members of the broader business community may push for revisions to the emergency regulation.   

    For more information, please see https://www.dir.ca.gov/DIRNews/2020/2020-99.html.


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