Gov. Wolf Announces 12 Additional Counties Will Move to Phase Yellow

Your Update for 5-15-20

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Press Conference with Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine:

At 2:00 p.m. on May 15, Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine held a press conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation, the efforts to mitigate the virus, and an announcement for additional counties moving to Phase Yellow.

Governor Wolf announced that an additional 12 counties will be moving to Phase yellow starting on May 22. These 12 counties join the previous 37 counties that are already in Phase Yellow. The Governor noted that the 18 counties still in Phase red are being held there due to case numbers, the capacity for an increase in the number of cases, and other metrics.

The 12 new counties are: Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne and York.

Secretary Levine gave an update on the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth (+59,636), an increase of 986 cases. COVID-19 is in all of the Commonwealth’s counties. There were 35 deaths new deaths associated with COVID-19 and an additional 89 (124) deaths were reported as a result of the continued data reconciliation, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 4,342.

There are 12,937 residential cases and 2,039 employee cases in 550 long-term care facilities in 44 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 2,991 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing or personal care facilities account for ~68% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania.

According to the Hospital Preparedness Dashboard, 45% of hospital beds, 38% of ICU beds, and ~75% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available.

A total of 4,349 COVID-19 cases are in Healthcare workers. An additional 2,369 cases are in food industry workers in 150 facilities.

County-specific information and a statewide map are available here. You can view the data on infections by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania here.

You can watch the daily press conference here.

Business Community:

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.

Their metrics will focus heavily on a regional approach that is built on a population based incidence rate of 50 new confirmed cases per 100,000 population reported to the department in the previous 14 days.

An example: An area with a population of 800,000 people would need to have fewer than 400 new confirmed cases reported in the past 14 days to meet the target.

The first regions that the administration will target are the north-central and the north-west regions of PA, with a goal of moving them from phase red to phase yellow on May 8.

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.

Red Phase:

The red phase singularly purpose is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures.

  • Life Sustaining Businesses Only
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed

Yellow Phase:

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.

  • 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

Green Phase

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.

  • 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.

Industry Guidance:

Critical Needs Portals:

The application for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access program is closed. The program reportedly received roughly 900 applications requesting roughly $75 million. The program’s original appropriation was $60 million. A link to the DCED page can be found here. The first round of funding was announced on April 20, you can find information on the funded projects here.

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.

You can find the application for the Paycheck Protection Program here.

You can find the application for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, here.

Press Releases:

Gov. Wolf: 12 More Counties to Move to Yellow Phase on May 22

May 15, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf announced 12 additional Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22. Those counties include Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and York. Twenty-four counties moved into the yellow phase of reopening on May 8 and another 13 moved to yellow beginning today.

With these additional 12 counties, there will be a total of 49 counties in the yellow phase. The remaining 18 counties are in the red phase.

The reopening plan prioritizes the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by using a combination of factors to gauge how much movement a location can tolerate before the 2019 novel coronavirus becomes a threat, including metrics developed in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that will be released twice each week.

You can read the full press releases here.

Governor Wolf Announces New Funding for Agriculture, Business Development Projects

May 15, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of four projects through the Commonwealth Financing Authority that will spur economic development, create jobs, and support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry.

The approved projects, which were recommended by CFA at Thursday’s board meeting, are as follows:

First Industries Fund

Jacob and Lindsay Light, through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation, were approved for a $400,000 First Industries loan to construct two 31,500-square-foot broiler houses. The project site is located in Bethel Township, Lebanon County. The total project cost is $1.25 million.

Business in Our Sites

SR424, LLC, through the Greater Hazleton Community Area New Development Org, Inc, was approved for a $4 million Business in Our Sites grant and a $6 million Business in Our Sites loan to complete phase one of the Crossroads Point Business Park in Hazle Township, Luzerne County.

You can review the full list of approved projects here.

Department of Agriculture Highlights Pennsylvania Food Rescues, Outlines Steps to Reduce Food Waste, Feed Hungry during COVID-19

May 15, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today highlighted the department’s efforts to reduce food waste and decrease stress on our food supply chain. He also outlined steps Pennsylvanians can take at home to reduce food waste, and connect with organizations across the commonwealth working to recover food and distribute to those in need.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that more than one-third of all food goes uneaten due to waste. COVID-19 has compounded the issue of food waste in the commonwealth, with ongoing pressure of the food supply chain to produce more consumer-sized goods and less commercial-sized goods as more people are eating in the home.

The department’s Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program helps to support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry in all 67 counties and reduce waste of agricultural surplus by making connections between production agriculture and the non-profit sector.

Read the full press releases here.

Written by

Ridge Policy Group

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