Your Update for 6-16-20
*This information is changing quickly, so be sure to check for any updated information.
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Update from the Pennsylvania Department of Health:
Secretary Levine and the Department of Health did not hold a press conference today. However, the Pennsylvania Department to Health did release an update today (June 16) on COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania has reached 79,483, an increase of 362 cases from yesterday. There were 33 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 6,276. There were 630 positive serology tests, which are counted as probable cases of COVID-19.
There are 16,720 residential cases and 2,955 employee cases in 650 long-term care facilities in 47 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 4,279 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing and personal care facilities account for ~68% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania. Long-Term Care Facilities Dashboard.
75% of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 in Pennsylvania have recovered.
According to the Hospital Preparedness Dashboard, 45% of hospital beds, 38% of ICU beds, and ~79% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. A total of 6,033 COVID-19 cases are in healthcare workers.
An Update from DC:
President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order that would lay out the case for creating a national database of police misconduct, urge the placement of social workers and mental health professionals alongside police officers, and offer guidelines for de-escalation tactics and the best use of force. The order was drafted with the input of police representatives, black conservatives, and religious leaders.
Separately, the Senate will consider either the National Defense Authorization Act or Republican Senator Tim Scott’s policing bill after finishing with two judicial nominations, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. The announcement on which bill the Senate will consider next is expected Wednesday.
The Trump Administration is considering a $1 trillion infrastructure package to spur the economy. The Department of Transportation draft follows House Democrats’ own offer of $500 billion legislation to renew infrastructure funding for five years, but Senate Republicans have opposed calls of including such spending in coronavirus relief legislation.
SBA Resumes Applications for Small Firm Disaster Loan Program
The Small Business Administration resumed accepting applications yesterday from small businesses for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. To apply for the program, you can visit: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/.
HHS is planning for a COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which will build on allocation methodology developed as part of pandemic flu planning. The allocation methodology will “be adjusted based on experience during the first wave of the COVID-19 response, data on the virus and its impact on populations and the performance of each vaccine, and the needs of the essential workforce,” HHS says. This program will plan and prepare infrastructure for distribution before vaccines are approved or authorized.
Governor Wolf’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania:
On April 22, Governor Wolf announced his plan to reopen Pennsylvania, focusing on a regional decision making approach. Along with the previous standards the Governor announced last week, he highlighted that the data-driven decision making process will be done in consultation with Carnegie Mellon University.
You can review Governor Wolf’s Plan for Pennsylvania here.
The three color phases determine when regions are ready to begin easing restrictions on businesses, stay-at-home orders, large gatherings, child care and more. The three phases are red, yellow and green, with the entire state currently in the red phase. Movement between phases will be based on the population incidence rate above.
- Contract Tracing Plan
- Testing Strategy Plan
- Universal Testing in Nursing Homes
- Testing Guidance for COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities and Healthcare Personnel
The red phase singularly purpose is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures. There are currently 0 counties in Phase Red
- Life Sustaining Businesses Only
- Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
- Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed
The stated purpose of the yellow phase is begin to power back up the economy, while maintaining social distancing while easing restrictions on certain businesses and travel. However, the Department of Health will maintain strict monitoring over public health data to contain COVID-19. Guidance for businesses in Counties in the Yellow Phase. With 12 additional counties moving to Phase Green, there are 21 counties in Phase Yellow. Eight additional Counties will move from Phase Yellow to Phase Green on June 19.
- Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
- Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
- Child Care Open with Worker and Building Safety Orders
- Stay-at-Home Restrictions Lifted in Favor of Aggressive Mitigation
- Large Gatherings Prohibited
- In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
- Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
- Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
The green phase should facilitate a return to a “new normal”, by easing most restrictions on stay-at-home orders and business closures. Strict adherence to CDC and Health department guidelines are required, and similar to the yellow phase, monitoring of public health data will continue. 12 new counties moved to Phase Green on June 12, increasing the total count of counties in Phase Green to 46. Eight additional counties moving to Phase Green on June 19.
All Businesses Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
- Aggressive Mitigation Orders Lifted
- All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
The standards previously highlighted by Governor Wolf:
- Our approach will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopenings in Pennsylvania.
- We will put forth guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities for assured accountability as we reopen.
- Reopening necessitates that adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing are available.
- Reopening requires a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to be deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
- Protections for vulnerable populations must remain steadfast throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
- Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.
Guidance for Pennsylvania:
- Department of Aging Guidance
- Sports Operation Guidance
- Damaged Business Guidance
- School Reopening Guidance
- Childcare FAQs
- Restaurant Industry Guidance
- Business Guidance
- Business FAQs
- Real Estate Industry Guidance
- Construction Industry Guidance
- CDC Guidance for child care centers
- Life Sustaining Business FAQs
- Dental Health Care Personnel Guidance
Critical Needs Portals:
- Business-2-Business (B2B) Interchange Directory
- Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal
- Manufacturing Call to Action Portal
- COVID-19 Job Portal
- Critical Medical Supplies Donations Portal
COVID19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Grants:
On June 8, Governor Wolf announced a $225 million grant program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Today, June 11, the Department of Community and Economic Development released guidelines for the use of funds and additional application information.
- $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program
- $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program
- $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program
With the application closed for the CWCA, please look into the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program or the Paycheck Projection Program.
Gov. Wolf: Funding Awarded to Support Affordable Housing Projects in 17 Counties
June 16, 2020
Governor Tom Wolf announced more than $10 million in funding through the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to support affordable housing projects across the commonwealth.
The HOME program provides federal funding to assist municipalities and local governments in expanding and preserving a supply of affordable housing for low and very low-income Pennsylvanians. HOME funds can be used in a variety of ways to address critical housing needs, including market-oriented approaches that offer opportunities such as homeownership or rental activities to revitalize communities with new investment. HOME program funds are provided to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the annual entitlement appropriation process.
The funding will be distributed to projects in the following 17 counties: Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Columbia, Franklin, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Union and York.
Gov. Wolf Announces $40 Million in CARES Act Funding Available to Address Dairy Industry Relief, Food Security
June 16, 2020
Governor Wolf announced today the availability of $40 million in funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and food security programs, following months of uncertainty and loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, $15 million will provide an opportunity for dairy farmers to receive direct relief payments and $5 million will reimburse dairy farmers who participate in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program by donating excess dairy product to the commonwealth’s charitable food system.
Also, $15 million will go to the State Food Purchase Program, which provides cash grants to counties for the purchase and distribution of food to low income individuals, and $5 million will go to the PASS program to reimburse the agricultural industry for the costs involved in harvesting, processing, packaging and transporting food that they donate to the charitable food system.
Human Services Secretary: Gov. Wolf’s Disaster Declaration Necessary as Health Care and Social Services Providers Rise to Continued Challenge of COVID-19
June 16, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today outlined regulatory suspensions and operational adjustments permitted under Governor Tom Wolf’s disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. These flexibilities and waivers are necessary to ensure continuity of services and operations while keeping people served by and working in the health care and social services systems safe from COVID-19, and they remain in effect until notification is issued by DHS.
Since March, DHS’ offices have made numerous adjustments to operations and functions to help providers across the health care and social services spectrum continue to operate with necessary social distancing measures in place and responding to the evolving challenge of COVID-19. Many of these waivers are permitted by the federal government but require a state-level disaster declaration be in place. The following are among the regulatory suspensions and operational adjustments that remain in effect under Governor Wolf’s disaster declaration:
Agriculture Secretary Invites Applications for $2.5 Million in Conservation Excellence Grants Created by PA Farm Bill
June 16, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding today invited Lancaster and York County farmers to apply for up to $250,000 in Conservation Excellence Grants. The $2.5 million program, created by 2019 PA Farm Bill, funds on-farm measures that reduce erosion and run-off, improving soil and water quality to ultimately sustain agriculture and improve the region’s quality of life.
The PA Farm Bill, a historic $23 million investment in growing and sustaining the commonwealth’s agriculture industry, was modeled after the governor’s six-point plan to cultivate future generations of Pennsylvania agriculture. The bill supports business development and succession planning, creates accommodations for a growing animal agriculture sector, removes regulatory burdens, strengthens the ag workforce, protects infrastructure, and works toward making Pennsylvania the nation’s leading organic state.
BMPs funded by Conservation Excellence Grants will help Pennsylvania meet its federally mandated goals to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment into the Chesapeake Bay by 2025.
Department of Aging: Department of Aging releases reopening guidance for senior centers, adult day centers, and in-person visits.
June 15, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) has issued reopening guidance for aging services providers located in counties that are entering the green phase.
In collaboration with representatives of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and adult day centers (ADCs), PDA has developed guidance and procedures for resuming operations of adult day centers, senior community centers (SCCs), and aging and protective services that involve in-person consumer contacts and in-home visits.
Guidance for SCCs has each AAA in a county that has entered the green phase identify which SCCs can reopen at full attendance and adhere to Centers for Disease Control and PA Department of Health precautionary and social distancing guidelines; which SCCs can reopen, but with reduced attendance to ensure social distancing; and which SCCs, if any, will not reopen immediately and provide the reason to PDA.
The reopening guidance documents, including health screening and other tools developed by PDA, can be found by clicking here and scrolling to “COVID-19 Reopening Provider Guidance.”
This newsletter was prepared by Ridge Policy Group a Top Government Affairs Firm.