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Managing, tracking COVID vaccinations in the workplace

'They want to be careful'

While the need to track those vaccinated can differ depending upon the industry, there are certain pitfalls to avoid in managing the process, experts say, including asking questions that could be perceived as a medical inquiry.

"The question is can employers ask if the employee is vaccinated?" says Domenique Camacho Moran, a partner at Farrell Fritz in Uniondale. "The answer is yes, but the challenge is that they want to be careful about asking any other questions."

Asking further questions such as why they're not getting vaccinated may result in disclosure of medical information that violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, she says.

So employers have to ask themselves what's the benefit of knowing if employees are vaccinated, says Camacho Moran. "It could potentially cross lines of a medical inquiry."

Still, there could be reasons why employers may want to know, says Karla Grossenbacher, chair of Seyfarth Shaw LLP's Washington office's labor and employment practice.

The number of new positives reported today: 676 in Nassau, 824 in Suffolk, 4,185 in New York City and 8,382 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in New York City and the state each day.

Search a map of new cases and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Yankees aim for 'seamless, recognizable experience' for fans

A crowd of 10,850 will be allowed inside Yankee Stadium for Thursday's Opening Day game against the Blue Jays — the first time fans get to see the Yankees play in person at the Stadium since the 2019 ALCS.

But they will first have some hurdles to clear.

No fan will be able to enter the ballpark without proving he or she has been fully vaccinated — meaning both doses for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine — or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of game time.

Fans, in addition to being encouraged to arrive early, also are urged to visit yankees.com/updates for a full list and explanation of protocols that will include temperature checks as well.

Doug Behar, the Yankees' senior vice president of stadium operations, said via Zoom that once inside fans should have a "seamless, recognizable experience, as they've had in the past" when attending games pre-COVID.

Newsday Voices: LIers' pandemic stories in their own words

The coronavirus has affected all of us over the last year. But we weren't affected the same.

It's forced many of us to embrace a new normal, one lacking many social structures and support systems that made our lives work. Some have lost work. Some have had to work harder than ever before.

Many of us have lost activities that once kept us happy or time with family and friends. Some have lost family and friends.

We've all read the daily news reports and pored over the positivity rates. We've watched the death toll creep up and heard about what the pandemic has done to local businesses. But behind those numbers are real people, people like these seven Long Islanders, who have agreed to share their stories.

Program to provide food packages to LI entertainers

Long Island Cares Inc., the charity founded in 1980 by singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, announced a collaboration with Long Island concert venues and theaters "to ensure local musicians, performers, actors, stagehands and others in the music and entertainment industry" receive emergency food assistance and support needed because of closures and job losses from the pandemic.

The initiative, called "Music Box of Meals," was announced at a Tuesday news conference at Mulcahy's in Wantagh.

Describing how the economic fallout caused by the pandemic continues to negatively impact industries across Long Island, Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank officials said the organization established a Music Industry Council, made up of members of the music and entertainment industries on Long Island, and created the "Music Box" program with the goal of handing out pre-packed food boxes to residents in those industries and venues in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

"Musicians, actors, entertainers, performers, stagehands, that industry has been left behind for over a year now," said Long Island Cares CEO Paule T. Pachter, adding that even as music and entertainment venues begin to reopen across Long Island it "will take at least another six to eight months for people to get back to where they were prior to March 2020."

Pachter said the "Music Box" solution offers about 5-7 days of food for those in need, but also personal care products and even pet food if needed.

More to know

Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall. In a study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12-15, preliminary data showed there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 cases among those given dummy shots, Pfizer reported.

The Long Island region continues to have one of the state's highest coronavirus infection rates, with a seven-day average of 4.38% as of Tuesday.

Long Island's unemployment rate grew slightly to 6.7% in February but remained largely in line with the previous month's rate, the state Labor Department reported Tuesday.

News for you

Road trips to take in New York State this spring. Looking for a change of scenery? Then consider some of the many things to do in the state this season, from white-water rafting to trying out a brewery's seasonal offering called the "M-Town Shakedown Sour Milkshake IPA." Remember to check the latest guidelines and coronavirus testing requirements, and follow COVID-19 protocols.

FAQ on your vaccination record card. We answer your questions on using and preserving the card, which could be your admission ticket back to normality.

Finding your first job … during a pandemic. If you're about to graduate, that sure sounds daunting. A Newsday Live conversation next week with education and employment experts should help; register here for the April 8 event.

New bakery in Lake Grove. Mayra Pastrano of Mayra's Bakery certainly knows her way around a tequeño, a longtime Venezuelan street snack: She comes in each day at 5 a.m. to bake the oblong puffs of dough stuffed with queso blanco (or ham) and brushed with sugar. She and her family opened the bakery late last fall. "It is a privilege to be able to fuse flavors from Venezuela with the American palate," Pastrano said in Spanish.

Plus: Bluebell, daffodil and primrose are some of the flowers you'll find this spring at Old Westbury Gardens, which reopens Thursday. It didn't open last year until July due to COVID-19, notes Nancy Costopulos, president and CEO of the 200-acre facility. It includes Westbury House, which is undergoing construction and slated for a June reopening.

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Commentary

Don't believe the doomsayers. Vaccines will end the pandemic. Faye Flam writes for Bloomberg Opinion: Following pandemic news too closely can be an emotional roller coaster, with dire public health warnings immediately followed by hopeful new studies.

The latest soaring discovery: a new CDC study showing vaccines sharply cut all COVID-19 infections — not just symptoms. That news puts to rest one worst case scenario: that vaccines might protect the vaccinated against hospitalization, but allow millions of silent infections to continue circulating.

The new data was collected from 4,000 health care workers, first responders, delivery workers and teachers who were vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines between December and March. The participants were asked not only to monitor symptoms but also to test themselves weekly. The study authors concluded the vaccines caused a 90% reduction in all infections. If people aren't getting infected, they can't transmit the virus to others.

The next drop on the roller coaster could come from new virus variants, some of which have shown ability to evade antibodies generated by the original strain. But experts such as Paul Offit of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia are more optimistic. The vaccines show some efficacy against all the currently known variants, and good efficacy against one — the B.1.1.7 strain identified in the United Kingdom last year. Keep reading.

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