Your Update for 6-2-20
*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, due to the Primary Election. However, the Pennsylvania Department to Health released an update today (June 2) on COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania has reached 72,894, an increase of 612 cases from yesterday. There were 616 positive serology tests, which are counted as probable cases of COVID-19, and not confirmed cases.
There were 100 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 5,667.
There are 15,660 residential cases and 2,696 employee cases in 609 long-term care facilities in 44 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 3,597 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing and personal care facilities account for ~63% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania.
67% 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 ~76% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. A total of 5,523 COVID-19 cases are in healthcare workers.
You can watch the daily press conference here.
An Update from DC:
COVID-19 Response Packages
Trump is expected to meet with advisers as soon as this week to talk about policy options for the next pandemic relief package, Dow Jones reports. The Administration is getting ready for negotiations with lawmakers. White House aides predict a final package won’t be completed until July. The dollar figure of a measure is uncertain. McConnell has privately told Trump he doesn’t want it to exceed $1 trillion.
House Surface Transportation Bill
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee expects to release text of its highway bill tomorrow. The bill, which would authorize highway, railroad, and transit programs, would replace the surface transportation law set to expire at the end of September. House Democrats released a blueprint for the legislation in January that included $319 billion for highways, $55 billion for rail, and $105 billion for transit. However, they didn’t offer a way to pay for it at the time.
While not a comprehensive infrastructure package, this bill is being seen as a way to help stimulate the economy in the aftermath of the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
Separate from COVID-19, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he would support measures “to ensure transparency and accountability” of police for misconduct. The Congressional Black Caucus has been considering proposals on a package of measures, Hoyer told reporters. If the legislation is ready by June 30, which is when the House is next scheduled to vote, then lawmakers will be called back early, he said.
On the other side of the Hill, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said that “police accountability is ‘something we need to take a look at.’” McConnell said mayors and governors are on the front line, but “there may be a role for Congress to play in this as well.”
Finally, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham told his committee this morning he’s committed to doing a deep dive on the broader issue of policing and race relations, and penciled in a June 16 date for a hearing.
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 10 counties in Phase Red. The rest of the Phase Red counties 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 40 counties in Phase Yellow, however 8 additional counties moved to Phase Yellow, while 17 counties moved to Phase Green 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 17 counties in Phase Green. An additional 16 counties will move to Phase Green on June 5.
- 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.
- Childcare FAQs
- 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
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.
Department of Human Services Provides Guidance for Parents with Children Returning to Child Care
June 02, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today released a Frequently Asked Questions guide for families in need of child care and parents with children that will be returning to a child care facility in counties moving to the yellow or green phase of reopening. DHS has previously issued guidance to child care providers in counties that have moved to the yellow phase.
All child care facilities that reopen must closely follow CDC guidelines for child care centers Essential workers who need child care can find approved options here for counties still in the red phase. For those counties still in the red phase, all child care facilities operating outside a residence are required to submit a waiver to DHS’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) if they intend to remain open.
You can read the full press release here.
Department of State Reminds Voters in Counties Affected by Executive Order to Mail Ballot Today
June 02, 2020
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of State is reminding absentee and mail-in voters in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties that their ballots must be postmarked by today and received by mail at their county election office by 5 p.m. on June 9 to be counted. Voters in these counties may also deliver their ballots to county election offices or to designated ballot collection sites by 8 p.m. today.
Governor Tom Wolf signed the executive order Monday to help voters in the six counties affected by civil disturbances, curfews and closures.
You can read the full press release here.
Gov. Wolf Amends Emergency Declaration to Add Erie, Delaware and Montgomery Counties for Assistance during Protests
June 01, 2020
Governor Tom Wolf this afternoon amended his May 30 disaster emergency declaration to add Erie, Delaware and Montgomery counties to provide all necessary assistance to these counties as they respond to the escalation of protests. These counties join Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Dauphin counties, which were in the original declaration.
On Saturday, Gov. Wolf announced the expanded activation of the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). That activation, combined with this declaration, authorizes PEMA to direct emergency operations in these six counties, allocating all resources and personnel as deemed necessary to cope with the situation.
Read the amended declaration here.
You can read the full press release here.
This newsletter was prepared by Ridge Policy Group, a top Pennsylvania Government Affairs Firm.