Your Update for 5-9-20
*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 did not hold a press conference today (May 9) however, the Pennsylvania Department to Health released an update on COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. The number of cases of COVID-19 has reached 55,316, an increase of 1,078 cases. There were 72 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 3,688.
There are 11,239 residential cases and 1,605 employee cases in 530 long-term care facilities in 44 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 2,518 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, 39% of ICU beds, and ~74% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. There are a total of 3,685 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.
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.
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
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
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.
- Contract Tracing Plan
- Testing Strategy Plan
- Business Guidance for operation during COVID-19
- CDC Guidance for child care centers
- Life Sustaining Business FAQs
- Dental Health Care Personnel Guidance
Real Estate Industry Guidance
On April 28, Secretary Kathy Boockvar of the Pennsylvania Department of State issued a revised guidance for Real Estate Professionals, Appraisers, Notaries, Titles Companies and Home Inspectors.
The guidance includes instructions and limitations on in-person authorized activities, virtual/telework appraisals, and compliance with orders from the Department of Health. According to the guidance:
“Failure to strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance may result in disciplinary actions up to and including suspension of licensure.”
Construction Industry Guidance
On April 23, Governor Wolf announced that beginning on May 1, 2020, all businesses in the construction industry are permitted to maintain in-person operations. This announcement was issued in the Construction Industry Guidance
Businesses that have questions about whether this guidance applies to them may email the Department of Labor and Industry at RA-LIBOIS-BUILDINGS@pa.gov.
Critical Medical Supplies Donations Portal:
The portal is designed for individuals, corporations or community organizations to inform the commonwealth of critical medical supplies available for donation. Donations will be distributed to hospitals, medical facilities and emergency management services.
Additional Critical Needs Portals:
- Business-2-Business (B2B) Interchange Directory
- Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal.
- Manufacturing Call to Action Portal
- COVID-19 Job Portal
Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) Prepayments:
Governor Wolf announced on April 14 that businesses that collect PA sales tax will not have to make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) prepayments over the next three months.
Please visit the Department of Revenue’s page on Accelerated Sales Tax Prepayments for more information on prepayments.
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.
Wolf Administration Releases Information Regarding Approved Business Exemptions
May 8, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) released information pertaining to the 6,066 approved business exemptions provided to businesses that could offer life-sustaining services or conduct life-sustaining activities across the commonwealth.
On March 19, Governor Tom Wolf issued an order along with the Secretary of Health’s order indicating that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations to slow the spread of COVID-19. The exemption process was instituted to identify businesses that offer life-sustaining services or are necessary to assist life-sustaining functions notwithstanding the general closure of the industry in which they operate.
You can read the full press release here.
PA Primary Voters Can Vote by Mail-In Ballot or In-Person at Polling Places in All Counties on June 2
May 09, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar reminded voters today that they have their choice of voting by mail-in ballot or going to their polling place on June 2, primary election day. While in person voting will be available for counties in the red phase of reopening, the Wolf administration is encouraging all voters to apply for a mail-in ballot.
The Department of State and counties are preparing to exercise every precaution to provide safe polling places for in-person voters and Pennsylvania’s dedicated poll workers.
Read the full press release here.