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 Education:


Dept. of Labor & Industry:


Dept. of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,070 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 52,915” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 2,070 cases. 9,075 negative tests. 161 deaths. (According to Dept. of Health website- updated today at 12:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Sec Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 1,070 new cases bringing statewide total to 52,915 cases in all 67 counties. This includes 3,437 cases in healthcare workers, it also includes 2,107 workers in the food industry at 124 facilities statewide, and it includes 10,506 cases in residents at 514 long-term care living facilities.
      • As a result of our work to reconcile our multiple systems of data, we are reporting an increase today of 310 deaths over the last several weeks, this tragically brings statewide total to 3,416 deaths- all have been adults.
      • As of 10am this morning, hospitals are reporting that approx. 2,484 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID. 528 of those have required the use of a ventilator. Across our healthcare system, approx. 45% of hospital beds, 39% of ICU beds, and nearly 73% 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
      • If you, or someone you know, is suffering from an addiction you can call the Dept of Drug and Alcohol Programs helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
    • Reporters’ Questions: (Lots of repeat questions today!)
      • If a person is asymptomatic, how likely is it that they would test positive? How likely is it that they are contagious to others?
        • Well, we are still prioritizing testing for symptomatic individuals. Previously we were more stringent than that, but we have really recommended testing for all symptomatic individuals. We are not pushing out population-based testing at this time- we might in the future- and that would be widespread testing of asymptomatic people. we know that asymptomatic individuals can have COVID and spread COVID, but we don’t really know how many asymptomatic people there are in PA and what percentage or chance you would have of having COVID if you have no symptoms.
      • We have had viewers ask us the following question, ‘If masks work, why do businesses need to close? Or if they don’t work, why do people need to wear them inside of businesses that are open?
        • The issue is that masks work, but they don’t work 100%. These are not the N95 masks that healthcare professionals wear, these are cloths masks and cloth masks are not infallible and so even there is protection it is not 100%. The goal was to bend that curve and we did but we have to be careful in the future because COVID is not gone from PA, it is still very prevalent unfortunately, particularly in the southeast and the northeast, and it could surge again. But we are making significant progress and therefore, tomorrow 24 counties will go from the Red zone to the Yellow zone.
      • Rite Aid just announced it will begin testing asymptomatic people at its testing sites in PA and elsewhere- when will the state do the same at its testing sites and should hospitals do the same at theirs?
        • Rite Aid is part of our testing sites. We are building an eclectic array of different testing possibilities for PA. We want to make sure it is accessible and available for people to get tested. We still have the mass testing sites in Montgo and in Wilkes-Barre, our Exton state lab, and then hospitals and health systems are doing the majority of testing in the state and they are either performing those lab tests at their own tests or they are sending them to the commercial labs. And then we have Rite Aid which will be obtaining the tests and then sending them to a commercial lab. So we are looking to partner actually with other companies and pharmacies.
      • We have learned that the CDC detailed guide to reopening the country has been shelved by the Trump administration, what are your thoughts on that and does it mean that businesses will have fewer guidelines to concern themselves with as we reopen?
        • I am not going to comment on the Trump administration’s actions, but I will say that we collaborate very closely with the CDC, we have been looking at their guidelines, and when they meet our guidelines and our expectations we often use them, occasionally we might go in a different direction. But it is hard for me to comment on the federal govt. and what the White House is going to do.
      • We know the Dept. wants to expand testing to get a more accurate accounting of the virus, but if only the sickest people are currently being tested, how does the state factor into those decisions now?
        • We want more than just the sickest people to be tested. Previously, even more than over 2 weeks ago, when lab tested was restricted we were prioritizing testing to long-term care living facilities, hospitals, and seniors with symptoms who were over 65. However, now that we have more testing capability, we want to expand testing to all symptomatic individuals to get a better idea of how many patients have COVID-19.
      • How long has the Dept. of Health been using the Mitre-Sara Alert contact monitoring app? And how has it been working thus far?
        • Well, we have actually only started using it in the last day or so. I believe we have our first 2 patients that are part of the system and in the first and second day it is going great.
      • How far along is the Dept. when it comes to examining Bluetooth notification technology and is the Dept. using the Google/Apple/API/some other vendor or developing its own?
        • We are looking at the Bluetooth technology now and we are getting ready to work out a contract with them and then we will announce it.
      • Yesterday, you provided legislative leaders details on COVID cases- including 84.4% of the 3,106 deaths had at least one, and as many as four, comorbid conditions at the time of death. Is it fair to say that those people died of something else and tested positive for COVID or were probable for COVID?
        • No, what we are saying in terms of that data, was that it was very clear that seniors are most at risk for getting COVID and having a serious case of COVID, possibly leading to death. And those with comorbid conditions are even more at risk of contracting COVID or having a very serious case, and tragically passing away.
      • The number of new cases is up- what is your reaction? Is the trend over?
        • One of the reasons is that the number is up is that we had a “data dump” from one of our commercial labs, so we are going to see what the numbers are tomorrow, over the weekend, and then into next week to follow trends. Overall the number of new cases over time continue to go down.
      • While we know that the virus sets the timeline, what is your outlook as we look forward to the fall in terms of social distancing?
        • Well, I am a positive and optimistic person and I think we are going to be successful in our battle against COVID in PA and in the US. That being said, it is very hard for me to predict what the fall is going to look like. There are a number of public health officials that are very concerned about a possible, significant increase in the virus in the fall as the weather starts to get colder, that will be the same time that we start to see influenza, so we are going to make sure PA is ready.
      • Some parts of the country have opened up drive-through testing sites for anyone who wants one. Why isn’t this more widespread and will PA do this?
        • We are considering all of our testing criteria, but again we want to be testing people with symptoms. Again, if we are testing large amounts of people we want to do that in a systematic, surveillance type of way to get a sense of the total burden of COVID among people in PA. but we want to do that in a scientific way.
      • Given that Gov. Wolf said that he would announce the next round of re-openings tomorrow, can you say when the next opening will occur?
        • All of that information will be released tomorrow at the Governor’s press conference.


National News:

Washington Post:

Other important news


Recurring Resources:


  • Lancaster Chamber:
    • Website updated daily:
    • Past webinars are listed on the Chamber’s site listed above!
      • 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!
      • Maintaining A Compliant Workplace & Workforce Under COVID-19 Restrictions [WEBINAR]

May 12, 2020

This webinar will cover concerns companies and employees may have as states reopen, specifically about safety and working conditions. This webinar will cover steps employers are taking to comply with the Governor's orders and the implications to the workplace and workforce. It will specifically address: 1) what do employers need to do to maintain a safe working environment; 2) what are the OSHA, whistleblower, and workers' compensation considerations; and 3) what are the employees rights from a non-union and union perspective (e.g. protected concerted activity)


      • Ask an Attorney: Workplace & Workforce Considerations [WEBINAR]

May 15, 2020

This session is part of a series to give employers an opportunity to hear more about what they should be considering as it relates to re-opening for business, while also providing an opportunity to have questions answered. This webinar will focus on three key topics: 1) On-site screening/testing and EEOC considerations; 2) return to work unemployment challenges and considerations; and 3) furlough call-back considerations. Following a brief overview on those, we will have time for Q&A with the attorney panel.


      • 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.  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.