Your Update for 5-27-20
*This information is changing quickly, so be sure to check for any updated information.
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Press Conference with Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine:
At 3:30 p.m. on May 27, Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine held a press conference to provide an update on COVID-19 and efforts to mitigate the virus in Pennsylvania.
Governor Wolf discussed the increased testing capacity of the commonwealth. Pennsylvania currently has 300 locations open for testing, and has increased its contact tracing capacity to 2000.
Secretary Levine gave an update on the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth (+69,417), an increase of 780 cases. COVID-19 is in all of the Commonwealth’s counties. There were 113 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 5,265. There were 576 positive serology tests, which are counted as probable cases of COVID-19, and not confirmed cases.
There are 14,990 residential cases and 2,528 employee cases in 596 long-term care facilities in 44 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 3,469 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing and personal care facilities account for ~66% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania.
62% of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 have recovered.
Secretary Levine provided an update on the amount of PPE that the administration has provided to hospitals, long term care facilities, Counties and state agencies. Secretary Levine stated that the administration has provided 5 million N95 masks, 300,000 hospital gowns, 1.6 million procedure masks, 2 million pairs of gloves, 280,000 face shields, and 300,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
Secretary Levine also provided an update on the number of cases of MIS-C in Pennsylvania. Currently there are 13 confirmed cases of MIS-C, with another 10 cases currently under investigation.
According to the Hospital Preparedness Dashboard, 45% of hospital beds, 38% of ICU beds, and ~77% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. A total of 5,216 COVID-19 cases are in healthcare workers. 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.
An Update from DC:
Future COVID-19 Response Packages
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Congress will “probably” need to pass another coronavirus relief bill, but that he wants it to be narrowly tailored than the $3 trillion bill House Democrats approved earlier this month and that state reopenings will inform how broad of a scope the bill will have. McConnell also said relief for state and local governments would be limited to help only with expenses and revenue lost during the coronavirus pandemic.
Separately, Senate Democrats are seeking $8 billion in the next coronavirus relief package to strengthen the food supply chain and provide more protective gear for food processing and farm employees.
The nation’s premier infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said there’s a “good chance” of a vaccine for Covid-19 by year’s end, perhaps by November or December. Fauci told CNN in an interview today that a second wave of Covid-19 isn’t “inevitable” if people are prudent, but also said recent instances of social crowding, such as a pool party in Missouri on Memorial Day weekend, were “very troubling.”
Scientific evidence shows that hydroxychloroquine isn’t an effective treatment for Covid-19. Dr. Fauci said that he’s not sure the drug needs to be banned in the U.S. as a coronavirus treatment, but the “lack of efficacy” becomes increasingly clear as more studies are released. A study released last Friday indicated that the anti-malaria drug is tied to deaths and heart risks. Separately, the World Health Organization temporarily removed the drug from global trials over safety concerns.
Only one drug, Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir, has been shown to benefit coronavirus patients in a clinical trial. It reduced patients’ recovery time from an average of 15 days to 11 days in that study. Many other drugs are still in development and testing.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
House Democrats intend to go ahead with a vote later today on renewing authorities used in federal tracking of suspected terrorists and spies even though the Trump administration said it will advise the president to veto it. The bill already has been passed by the Senate by a vote of 80-16, meaning House passage would send it to Trump.
The House of Representatives is poised to give final passage today to legislation that would sanction Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Muslim minorities, the latest in a series of moves by Congress and the White House to put pressure on the Beijing government.
The measure was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate earlier this month, and it has broad support in the House amid rising criticism of China over trade, its handling of the initial coronavirus outbreak, and its attempts to put down anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
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.
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 18 counties in Phase Red, however 8 more counties will move to Phase Yellow on May 29. Afterwards, the rest of the counties in the commonwealth will move to Phase Yellow on June 5.
- 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. There are currently 49 counties in Phase Yellow, however 8 additional counties will move to Phase Yellow on May 29.
- 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. There are currently 0 counties in Phase Green, however 17 counties will move to Phase Green on May 29.
- 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.
- Restaurant Industry 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
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.
Gov. Wolf Issues Green Phase Order, Guidance on Dining and Professional Sports
May 27, 2020
As more counties move to yellow and green, Governor Tom Wolf today issued an order to elaborate on the reopening process for green phase counties and guidance on outdoor dining in yellow counties, dining in green counties, and professional sports in yellow counties.
Green Phase Updated Order
The governor elaborated on green phase guidelines announced on May 22 by issuing an updated order for counties in the green phase of reopening.
The orders from Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine update existing yellow phase orders with these:
- Specifics are included on those areas that have raised questions from business owners and residents, including:
- Personal care services, including hair salons and barber shops must operate by appointment only; appointments or reservations are also strongly encouraged for gyms or spas.
- Any gathering for a planned or spontaneous event of greater than 250 individuals is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, a concert, festival, fair, conference, sporting event, movie showing, or theater performance.
- Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations established by the order. These institutions are strongly encouraged to enforce social distancing and other mitigation measures such as masking at their gatherings.
You can review the full guidance, and press release here.
Gov. Wolf Highlights PA Businesses Rising to Meet COVID-19 Needs
May 27, 2020
As Pennsylvania continues to take measured steps to reopen, Governor Tom Wolf today praised Pennsylvania businesses that have pivoted to produce critical products during the COVID-19 public health crisis, which undoubtedly contributed to the commonwealth’s efforts to protect public health and safety.
As the governor and Department of Health took critical, life-saving steps to help mitigate the spread of the contagious and deadly virus, Pennsylvanians adjusted their everyday lives to protect themselves and their families, friends and communities.
The governor highlighted several of the numerous Pennsylvania-based businesses that stepped up to assist first responders, health care systems, and life-sustaining businesses by shifting production to much needed medical equipment, products used for personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitization.
You can review the full list of highlighted businesses here.
Department of Human Services Advises Providers and Partners of Operational Recommendations for Yellow Phase Counties
May 27, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today released guidance for its providers as counties enter the yellow phase stressing continued vigilance for mitigation efforts to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.
The guidance comes in addition to the guidance outlined in Governor Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf announced that a total of 57 counties will have moved from the red phase to the yellow phase by Friday, May 29 with 18 counties moving to green the same day. All remaining red counties are expected to move to yellow on June 5.
All DHS providers in yellow-phase counties must continue to strictly follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance. Specific guidance for providers is as follows: Child Care, Visitation for Residential Settings, Home and Community Based Services, Behavioral Health Services, Child Welfare, and Employment and Training.
You can review the guidelines here.