An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


Daily Policy Update

Each day a summary of news and information that has been gathered from community partners and credible news sites will be posted.

Governor Wolf:


State Government:

General CoVid resources:


Dept of Human Services:


Dept of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,208 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 46,971” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 1,820 cases. 7,809 negative tests. 106 deaths. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Gov. Wolf Summary:
      • Beginning 12:01am on Friday, May 8th, 24 counties will have some COVID mitigation restrictions lifted. Those are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.
      • Selected because they have low per capita case count, the Dept. feels they are ready with contact-tracing and testing, and a variety of other factors, such as population density, determined by our epidemiologists
      • But all of those counties must continue to abide by the underlying message of Yellow: “Proceed with Caution”. Everyone still needs to continue to implement social distancing as much as possible.
    • Sec. Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 1,208 new cases bringing statewide total to 46,971 cases in all 67 counties. 2,354 deaths- all have been adults.
      • As of noon, hospitals are reporting that approx. 2,677 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID. 561 of those have required the use of a ventilator. Across our healthcare system, approx. 47% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds, and nearly 70% of ventilators are still available.
      • 24 counties moving from Red to Yellow: as part of that we are providing our plans for contact-tracing and testing in these counties: Contact-tracing is an established public health protocol that the Dept. uses in every disease investigation:
        • First, we receive a report of a positive test result, then our community health nurses contact the patient and do a full case investigation: discuss symptoms, collect demographic data, and discuss risk factors. In addition, they determine whom they might have been in contact with while they have been infectious. Also do this investigation with probable cases as well.
        • Next, our nurses and public health staff notify the individuals who are contacts of the positive patient. (The patient is not identified by name.) Close contacts are required to quarantine for 14 days from the time of their last exposure. The Dept. checks with them everyday to make sure they aren’t developing symptoms and are remaining in quarantine.
          • We are moving to bolster this case investigation and contact-tracing process using additional personnel, technology, and improved workflows. Our strategy includes investing in an infrastructure focused on people, using innovative processes through technology tools and robust case investigations, partnering with the established healthcare community, and focusing on underserved and vulnerable communities.
        • In the counties announced today, we will be able to use our current infrastructure of our community health nurses to initiate this important work. We will work to maximize the efforts of our case investigators and contact-tracing teams by utilizing our partners in the healthcare system, academic institutions, volunteers, and hiring of personnel when needed. Also be using new alert system that will help with the daily check-ins. In addition, we will be able to get a more complete picture of the communities most impacted by COVID by carefully collecting data such as race and ethnicity from the patients themselves.
        • We know that Pennsylvanians living or working in large congregate settings, like long-term care facilities, food processing or packaging plants, correctional facilities, and in healthcare are most at risk for an outbreak. We have special teams of our epidemiologists, epidemiology research associates, master and doctoral students of public health, and a CDC public policy advisor trained and assigned to work with facilities to work with outbreaks once they are identified.
      • In addition to the contact-tracing efforts I just discussed, increased testing capacity is also a critical aspect of successfully moving counties from the Red to the Yellow Phase. Our testing strategy focuses on ensuring that testing is accessible and available for all symptomatic Pennsylvanians, as well as adaptable to the evolving landscape of the virus transmission.
        • To accomplish this we plan to make testing widely available by partnering with existing community resources such as retail pharmacies and FQHC’s. We are also planning to target resources where they are most in need such as long-term care living facilities. We will continue to build our network of community-based testing sites.
        • To secure the equipment and materials needed to do this testing, we are working closely with DCED, as well PEMA and our federal partners. Using our current incident command structure, the DOH will have the responsibility of determining who should be tested based on the best science available. DCED will proactively seek out FDA-approved resources and work with PA companies to produce tests and testing supplies that PA needs. PEMA will assist in deploying testing to communities. We will continue to remain flexible in our testing strategy as the disease changes and progresses, new technology is developed, and more data is available.
      • If you, or someone you know, needs mental health resources please contact the mental health crisis line by texting “PA” to 741741 or call the statewide support and referral helpline at 1-855-284-2494


Office of Advocacy and Reform: (Executive Director is Dan Jurman)

  • The Office of Advocacy and Reform Facebook page is now live and getting followers!  We’ll be sharing news and updates as well as resources for vulnerable populations generally and during Covid-19.


National News:

Washington Post:


Recurring Resources:



  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health:





Joining Forces:

  • Joining Forces for Children Resource Directory
    • Joining Forces for Children is an extension of Lancaster County Joining Forces and works to coordinate direct services to support children affected by parental substance use disorder. The Joining Forces for Children Leadership developed a resource directory of services and supports focused on the needs of children impacted by substance use disorder. Please feel free to share this directory This document will be updated regularly. Please send any additions to Chris Glover.


  • Help is Still Here
    • Substance use disorder treatment and recovery support are still available, even if they look a little different right now. Local treatment providers are using telehealth methods to provide ongoing access to counseling and medications, and recovery meetings are taking place on virtual platforms.
    • For direct recovery support, Lancaster County has a strong network of certified recovery specialists who can provide individual social support and connections.
  • To connect to treatment, recovery support or support for loved ones, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831 or visit their website at
  • Outside of normal business hours, you can contact the Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit the online treatment locator here.
  • The RASE Project can help find treatment and recovery support. Speak to a certified recovery specialist at 717-295-3080.
  • For online recovery resources, see the attached PDF.
  • If you are using drugs alone, ask a friend to stay on the phone with you or call the Never Use Alone hotline at 800-484-3731.
  • In the event of an overdose emergency, always call 911 for emergency medical care.




I’m In Campaign

  • The “I’m in!” campaign: Lancaster County’s health systems and community organizations are teaming up on a public service message to encourage everyone to continue taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the coming weeks.  We are making progress to slow the spread, but we need everyone in the community to join in to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.  The I’m In campaign will include TV ads, social media engagement, and will encourage everyone to show that they are IN to help slow the spread and save lives.
  • How your organization can help: Create your own “I’m in” messages on social media and encourage your community to do the same.  Attached are the simple instructions to create and share your message.  We will share additional resources and tips for joining the campaign over the coming weeks.
  • If you would like to share the PSA video, please do!  Here are the links to the 30-second and 60-second clips on YouTube:
  • With questions about the “I’m in” campaign, please contact Brenda Buescher.