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Health & Medicine

Workers' Memorial Day Sentimental in a Year Full of Crisis; Call to Action for Protections

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WAER News

Workers in Central New York are being remembered  in a year that has brought unexpected loss and workplace threats. There are already risks in the workplace, but COVID-19 added a potentially deadly dimension this year.  

Workers’ Memorial Day pays tribute to workers who died from injuries and illness from work…and this year was the most tragic on record as hundreds across the state died from exposure to COVID-19 at work. Loretto nurse Carlita Adamy reflects on how hard her job has been this year.

“They’re dying around you and all you can do is hold their hand and let them know that they’re not alone. It’s just a really tough thing to see.”

Adamy got COVID herself. At work, she worries if people unknowingly carry the virus to the residents she looks after. The Occupational Health Clinical Center is calling for more dedication to workers’ protection. Director of Preventative Services Jeannette Zoeckler shares State Health data that show 405 workers’ compensation filings for COVID-19 work-related deaths in just nine months. Normally about 35 cases relating to a specific illness are filed. She also notes such death stats are not well tracked.

“In Onondaga County we have 664 folks who died from COVID. How many of those were caused by transmission from work is a very big question mark. It’s not something we know.”

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Work-related deaths join the list of unknown statistics for the year 2020.

Zoeckler adds the health risks create extra stress for workers, particularly in the riskiest jobs, such as health care, and other essential workers. Zoeckler and Adamy both encourage people to get vaccinated to protect individuals and the workplace.

WORKERS ADVOCATES PUSH FOR PRO-ACT AND HERO ACT PASSAGE IN ALBANY

Stemming from our collective grief over so many fallen workers is a call for action! DEMAND CUOMO SIGN THE NY HERO ACT! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Bu34aMcLV9VfXXg9BIiBjxZgk2E-I5dwKGSegkzgho8/edit WRITE YOUR SENATORS ABOUT THE PRO-ACT! https://actionnetwork.org/forms/pro-act?source=website

(SOURCE: Occupational Health Clinical Center, SUNY Upstate Medical University)