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Jan 26

January 26, 2021 TML Coronavirus Update #167

Posted on January 26, 2021 at 5:30 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


What is the new schedule for the TML Coronavirus Update?


The plan is to send one update email per week, usually each Tuesday. As always, we will send additional updates if needed to ensure that city officials remain informed of breaking news.


What are the latest COVID-19 statistics?


The Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 Dashboard shows that while deaths are increasing, cases and hospitalizations in much of Texas are slightly decreasing. The vaccine rollout continues nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 19 million Americans have received the first dose, and more than 3.3 million are fully vaccinated.


What steps has the President taken with respect to the pandemic?


On January 21, President Biden released a 200-page National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness


Relevant to cities, the plan places a strong emphasis on cooperation with, and support for, local government. Some examples include plans to:

·    build channels of communication with state and local leaders (p. 33);

·    make state and local-level data available to manage the pandemic and provide support to mayors and governors deciding on COVID-19 interventions (p. 30);

·    enlist EMS and firefighters to support vaccination efforts (p. 44); and

·    create as many venues as needed for people to be vaccinated (p. 9).


What pandemic-related executive actions has the President initiated?


Last week, President Biden signed executive orders, proclamations, and memoranda related to various subjects. At least 15 are related to the pandemic. Arguably some of the most important for cities are:


-Executive order coordinating a government-wide COVID-19 response: Creates the position of COVID-19 response coordinator, who will advise the president and oversee the distribution of vaccines, tests, and other supplies.


-Executive order strengthening public health supply chain: Requests that the heads of various federal departments assess the nationwide availability of personal protective equipment and other resources needed to distribute COVID-19 tests and coronavirus vaccines, as well as to develop a strategy to manufacture supplies for future pandemics.


-Executive order establishing the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force: Creates the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will provide recommendations on the allocation of resources and funding in light of “disparities in COVID-19 outcomes by race, ethnicity, and other factors.”


-Executive order promoting workplace safety amid the pandemic: Directs the Department of Labor to revise and issue new guidance for employers to promote the health and safety of their workers, including mask-wearing in the workplace.


-Executive order establishing a COVID-19 pandemic testing board: Creates the pandemic testing board to coordinate national efforts to “promote COVID-19 diagnostic, screening and surveillance testing” and to increase the distribution of free tests to those without comprehensive health insurance.


-Executive order guaranteeing unemployment insurance for workers who refuse work due to COVID-19: Requests that the Department of Labor consider clarifying its rules to establish that workers “have a federally guaranteed right to refuse employment that will jeopardize their health,” and that workers who do so will still qualify for unemployment insurance.


Further Updates


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.