Thu. 4/23 COVID-19 Daily Update

Tune in for another Facebook Live tomorrow @5pm with Jenny Johnson from Sheraton Waikiki. Watch Jenny bake cookies and promote our Local 5 Membership Hardship Fund!

New Resource Added:

Hardship assistance for Hotel & Travel Industry Federal Credit Union Members:


COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 2.7M (+80k).  Deaths: 190k (+7k)

USA: Cases: 869k (+27k).  Deaths: 50k (+3.4k).  Total Tested: 4.6M (+100k)

Hawaii: Cases:  596 (+4).  Deaths: 12 (+0).  Hospitalized: 63 (+7). Recovered: 455 (+11)

Fed, facing pressure, commits to disclose monthly who’s getting bailouts (Politico, April 23, 2020)

The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced it will reveal every month the names of companies that borrow under its massive emergency lending programs, as it faces intense pressure to be transparent about the use of bailout money.  This is good news as it would disclose CARES Act funding including CESA loans that include labor neutrality provisions.   However, Paycheck Protection Program loans administered by the Treasury Dept. and the SBA and Federal Reserve financial market support programs not under the CARES Act are not covered by this transparency pledge from the Federal Reserve.

State raises concern about city’s ambitious testing program, saying kits aren’t FDA-approved (Hawaii News Now, April 23, 2020)

Honolulu is planning to spend $2M on 10,000 testing kits from company called EverlyWell.  The tests are FDA approved only under an emergency use standard.  The State is expressing doubt about the tests and the state and county are reported to be pointing fingers at each other about response communication among leadership.   the tests are to be used at community health centers, but it appears the city can’t move forward without state approval.

OSHA leaves it to employers to monitor coronavirus at work (Pacific Business News, April 23, 2020)

I linked to another news article about how the DOL and OSHA has abrogated its responsibilities to crate safe workplaces for workers. This article details how federal OSHA has left it up to employer to monitor and enforce coronavirus controls.  the article says that OSHA has received about 2,400 complaints and resolved 1,400 of them with no citations issued yet.

The agency said it would not enforce the record-keeping requirement for COVID cases until further notice, except when the employer could obtain clear evidence that the infection was work related, a substantially higher bar than before. Only employers in health care, emergency response or prisons must apply the standard record-keeping procedure in COVID cases.  This could make contact tracing more difficult.

Former OSHA officials also note that the agency has not issued a so-called emergency temporary standard that would instruct employers across a variety of industries to put safety protocols into effect and raise the prospect of fines for failing to do so.

Hawaii manages its own OSHA regulations under HIOSH, and James Hardway suggests looking at the “General Duty” requirement under HIOSH rules to motivate Hawaii employers to take infection control actions to protect workers.

Supreme Court sides largely with environmentalists in Maui wastewater case (Hawaii  News Now, April 23, 2020)

In a 6-3 decision, SCOTUS says that polluters can’t get around the Clean Water Act environmental protections by injecting wastewater into the ground first before it eventually reaches waterways.    Still, the court did not go as far as the federal appeals court, which adopted a standard that would have brought even more groundwater discharges under the clean water law.