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As positive cases of COVID-19 spike across Texas, Local 520 Business Manager Ben Brenneman offered words of encouragement for members of the IBEW Local Union. His remarks were first posted as a video on Facebook.
Brenneman first explained the rolling seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations and what the number means. At the time he posted the remarks, that number was about 70. Currently, that number is just under 70.
Brenneman then explained what was discussed at the Austin City Council special called meeting. Although the numbers in the state capital are still too high, it is promising to see them down compared to a few weeks ago.
As of July 14, Travis County had 15,445 confirmed cases, Dallas County had 34,914 and Harris County had 47,369. It is promising to see Austinites following protocol to minimize the number of cases.
He then explained how intensive care units at area hospitals are still filling up at high rates. An epidemiologist from the University of Texas explained to the City Council that if the region stays on the same path, following the same behaviors, things could plateau, get better or get worse. In short, the expected results are unknown.
On Thursday, July 9, Austin passed two ordinances;
- Allows the city to declare any business not adhering to the same standards the Local 520 membership has been working under a public health nuisance. This allows the city to issue a fine to a business or shut it down.
- A personal enforcement ordinance for those who are negligent and not complying with safety standards. The ordinance allows for individuals to be fined.
Local 520 members are encouraged to use the 311 phone line or cell phone application to anonymously submit complaints of non-compliance they witness on job sites.
Near the end of his address to the members, Brenneman said 10 members and two travelers have tested positive for COVID-19.