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:


Insurance Dept.:


Dept. of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 865 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 50,957” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 2,018 cases. 8,759 negative tests. 144 deaths. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Dr. Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 865 new cases bringing statewide total to 50,957 in all 67 counties. This includes 3,204 cases in healthcare workers, it also includes 2,032 workers in the food industry at 120 facilities statewide, it also includes 9,625 residents in 495 long-term care living facilities.
      • As a result of our continued work to reconcile data from various sources, we are reporting an increase of 554 deaths over the past 2 weeks. Which brings our statewide total to 3,012 patients- all have been adults.
      • As of 10am, hospitals are reporting that approx. 2,583 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID. 542 of those have required the use of a ventilator. Across our healthcare system, approx. 46% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds, and nearly 75% of ventilators are still 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
    • Reporters’ Questions:
      • You testified yesterday during the Senate hearing that Lancaster County had community spread- could you be more specific in terms of what way? What kind of community spread? And where is the concern?
        • Community spread, or community transmission, means there are individuals with COVID in the community and it is spreading from person to person in a widespread way. For example, today we have reported that 2,018 cases have been tested positive in Lancaster county. I know there has been a discussion around long-term care living facilities and the importance of that in terms of counting in the community and the community spread. 453 residents in Lancaster, in nursing homes, have tested positive but far more have tested positive in the general community. So, it is very important for these congregate settings such as nursing homes or food manufacturing facilities to be included in the county’s count.
      • A report about nursing homes says they are taking COVID-exposed residents. Has that happened and what about staffing shortages?
        • This has been one of the most challenging situations with COVID and seniors in long-term care living facilities and other congregate settings. We know that there are individuals that are positive, we know that there are individuals who were hospitalized for COVID and as they are recovering are transferred back. We have worked with these homes in terms of guidelines of how to take care of those patients, how to congregate the patients, how to cluster patients and staff separately from one another, so we are working with them on those infection control policies and procedures. We are making sure they have enough PPE and know how to use that PPE, we have contracted with ECRI to further those consultations, and at severely affected Nursing Homes we have had National Guard medical personnel go in to assist the facility. So we are doing everything we possibly can.

In terms of testing, we have some ideas about how we might improve our testing in nursing homes and we are maybe going to start some pilot programs about how to do things differently but we want to do everything we can to protect staff and residents at these facilities.

      • The Univ. of Washington modeling has recently revised its projections upwards, in terms of cases and deaths, because its initial numbers counted on states being shutdown until May 30th and many of them, including PA, are opening or partially reopening now. Did you see those numbers and what is your reaction?
        • We have seen the new numbers and I think that they highlight the significant risks of opening up too quickly and that has formed the basis for the Governor’s phased reopening, going from Red to Yellow in a careful, iterative fashion. Everything we are doing is to try to avoid the increases seen in that model.
      • Since the model now predicts more than 8,600 deaths in PA, was that what you expected before the restriction loosening on Friday and if it is higher are you making a mistake in letting those 24 counties partially reopen?
        • I did not know what the number was going to be before the model came out but it is concerning and I think it shows the risk of going too fast and forms the basis for the Governor’s careful, phased plan.
      • For a second straight day, the new case number is below 1,000. That seems like good news, but the death number increased by over 500, that seems like really bad news. What should the average Pennsylvanian make of today’s statistics?
        • I would agree that a number of a number of days in a row under 1,000 new cases is positive news. Now we know that we get less case reports over the weekend but today is Tuesday and we still had less than 1,000. That is promising but we are going to need to see if that trend continues. Now with the death reporting, as I have been saying, that involves a reconciliation of a number of sources and does not represent the number of deaths in one day, it would represent the number of deaths over several weeks. But we recognize that this is challenging for people to understand and leads to concerns about the regularity of our data, so in discussions with the Governor’s office we are going to work to put in place changes in terms of our system to reconcile that data on a daily basis. We are discussing those plans now and we are going to work out a much smoother way to reconcile that data in the future.
      • Why is the state not releasing the ages of the people who have died from COVID?
        • We have discussed the ages in general, clearly the majority of deaths are seniors, those 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions. We haven’t put out exact numbers but there is additional info on our website and we are always working to give the public more info so they understand the public health implications of COVID.
      • Will the Dept. of Health continue to not publicly disclose the COVID status of the individual nursing homes and leave loved ones in the dark about what is happening at specific facilities?
        • It is the responsibility of the facility to notify family members about the condition of their loved ones in the facility. We understand that communication has not been as good as it should be. We are trying to balance the privacy concerns, their legal right to privacy, of the residents of the homes vs the loved ones and the public’s right to know. So we are having those robust discussions and we will have an answer this week.
      • What have the science and health communities learned about warmer temperatures in relation to COVID?
        • We have not seen that in PA yet, but of course it has been episodic in terms of temperatures, there is some suggestion from other countries that the virus is transmitted less in warmer temperatures. So that is hopeful but not definitive, we will have to see in the US what we see as we head into summer and warmer times.
      • Can we expect any counties to move into Green before the rest of the state has moved into Yellow?
        • We haven’t made those determinations yet, again there is only 24 counties going into the Yellow phase starting on Friday. We will be making other determinations in terms of other counties moving from Red to Yellow, we actually have not discussed yet exactly when and how counties will go from Yellow to Green because we are not there yet.
      • Has the Dept. considered providing more information, such as a breakdown of when tests were taken to elaborate and give contexts to decisions?
        • I really feel that we have been very transparent in terms of the data we have put out. It’s actually unprecedented for state health depts., including ours and really all of the state health depts., in terms of the amount of data we are putting out on a daily basis. We are always looking to improve our data, improve our transparency with data and will continue to do so.
      • Pfizer began testing multiple versions of an experimental vaccine on healthy young people in the US this week. Their stated goal was to have a vaccine ready for use in high-risk groups by the fall- do you see that being realistically possible?
        • I don’t have specific detail about their testing, I have heard that they started the testing, I am sure we all wish them success in their goals and we will have to see what their timetable is but the sooner the better.
      • You said during the Senate hearing today that the Dept. will not supply PPE to hospitals going back to elective procedures- why is that?
        • We feel that if hospitals are able to go and do elective procedures, those procedures require PPE, if they are able to do those type of non-emergent procedures that it is evident that they have enough PPE so we wont have to send it to them. We do want to prioritize our PPE to facilities that have very large amounts, still, of COVID patients such as several hospitals in the Philly area and some of the collar counties as well as the challenged long-term care homes we have been discussing who definitely need PPE, so we have to prioritize to them.


National News:

Washington Post:


Local News:


Recurring Resources:


  • Lancaster Chamber:
    • Website updated daily:
    • Past webinars are listed on the Chamber’s site listed above!
      • Workplace Considerations: Practical Strategies for Your Workforce and Workplace [Webinar]
        WHEN: Thursday, May 7
        Join three business community professionals as they share what they are currently experiencing in their workplaces and how they plan to move their companies & organizations forward. Learn more about change management, how to create new norms, develop effective communication strategies, tips & tricks for outfitting your space and workforce and how to navigate new realities and challenges of the workplace in alignment with CDC and State guidelines as Pennsylvania prepares to reopen.
      • The Total Internship Management Workshop [Virtual Event]
        WHEN: Tuesday, May 12

        The Total Internship Management Workshop is designed to help you and your organization build a win-win internship program. Based on the most in-depth research ever to be conducted into the successful management of internship programs, you can be assured that you will leave the event with a newfound approach to internships. Now - it is virtual!
      • Work Wisdom Series: Authentic Communication In The Remote Era [Virtual Event]
        WHEN: Wednesday, May 27

        Authentic Communication is the make or break factor for leaders, teams and organizations during the remote era.  During this interactive workshop, Kedren and Sarah will teach three remote communication techniques to enable you and your teams to practice Authentic Communication to foster efficiency, psychological safety and joy.  Join us to learn how to mitigate zoom exhaustion, select the proper medium for communicating, and techniques for co-creating clear, realistic expectations.



  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health:





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.