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.

State Government:

General COVID resources:


Dept. of Health:

  • “Department of Health Continues to Fight COVID-19 in Nursing Homes through Testing, Education and Resources” :
  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 837 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 57,991” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 2,295 cases. 10,076 negative tests. 168 deaths. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Sec Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, we have 837 new cases bringing statewide total 57,991 cases in all 67 counties. This includes 3,923 cases in healthcare workers and 12,130 cases among residents of 540 long-term care facilities. 3,806 deaths- all have been adults.
      • Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused our efforts to protect residents living in long-term care living facilities by ensuring resident safety, preventing and mitigating outbreaks, and working in partnership with state agencies, local health depts and long-term care facility operators. Today we are announcing a robust, universal testing strategy for all staff and residents in these facilities. To ensure PA is in line with federal guidance from CMS, today I am also ordering nursing homes to report deaths, cases, and tests performed using the same system that hospitals are currently using. They will be required to report beginning May 17th and this information will be reported publicly through press conferences and on our website. By testing every resident and every staff member in every nursing home, we will be able to pinpoint exactly who has COVID, who has been exposed but no symptoms, and cohort positive cases to prevent further spread.
    • PEMA Director Randy Padfield
      • We have been working hand in hand with the Dept. of Health since the beginning of the crisis. We really serve the role as cross-agency collaboration in being able to leverage the strengths of several state agencies in order to address complex problems such as the issues that we are seeing in the long-term care facilities. We know many of our local county partners have been working with nursing homes throughout this crisis. It’s really a tiered approach in how we look at these complex problems.
      • The National Guard has been a key partner in this and has provided support across a lot of different avenues, one of those being providing personnel to be able to assist in operational planning teams. The Guard has been instrumental in that layered approach regarding consultation with those facilities but also providing onsite assessment- to be able to go out and verify the info we are receiving through the consultations with these facilities to be able to provide key, initial info to some of these facilities to be able to protect those who are most vulnerable. They are also providing medical support- we have about 150 Guardsmen throughout the state that have medical training and have been actively engaged in the long-term care facility operations in providing direct medical support since early April. They also provide general support operations as well regarding staffing challenges because staff may be affected with COVID and may be out. The key is to try to stabilize these facilities to be able to provide them the support they need to be able to continue to function and to limit the spread within the facilities.
      • As Dr. Levine alluded to, we are also going to embark with the National Guard on mass testing in a lot of these facilities as well. They are well-positioned and trained to be able to provide these services. Some of the most complex things we deal with in long-term care facilities are related to staffing. So we are looking at ways to augment the initial staffing until such time they can add additional staffing through contracted services. We are also looking at leveraging federal support through the National Disaster Medical system and other support that may be available through the Emergency Management Assistance compact in state-to-state mutual aid. The challenge is that most of the medical personnel is engaged in their state, so leveraging the multiple tiers of aid we are addressing these issues as they come up on a regular basis.
    • Reporters’ Questions:
      • With 70% of the state’s deaths coming from long-term care facilities, where is our greatest need for improvement for these facilities?
        • Sec. Levine: I think we are looking at continuing all of the outreach we have made with these facilities and we now have the capability in PA to do the mass testing that we had hoped to do. We are continuing to roll this out as we have discussed and we want test all staff and residents at these facilities.
      • How many tests a day do you expect the facilities to require? How much will the program cost and who will pay for it?
        • Sec. Levine: We released an advisory today to nursing homes that helps them develop a testing schedule based upon their current situation. For example, if a facility has no cases, their testing strategy is geared to detect any cases early. If there is an ongoing outbreak, then initial testing will occur and then more frequent testing will be warranted. So it will be individualized to each facility.
      • How long will this weekly testing go on for and how much is budgeted to fund this?
        • Sec. Levine: We will be doing this as long as necessary and the funding will come, especially if we do it at our lab, the funding will come from our resources and there are other federal resources through the CDC, as well as the resources dedicated by Congress for the states, as well as from FEMA given the disaster declaration.
      • Why did the state wait until now to implement such a testing plan?
        • Sec. Levine: As I have outlined before, really before the last week or so we have not had the testing capabilities in PA to perform this. Until the last approx. 2.5 weeks it has been extremely challenging to get the supplies needed to be able to perform this amount of testing. But we are better resourced through the federal govt as well as through the testing companies.
      • Would it be more effective to focus on protecting nursing homes instead of continuing a broad-based shutdown of the economy?
        • Sec. Levine: One of the things that we have been emphasizing all along is that we are all interconnected given the scope of this global pandemic. So, in communities, nursing homes reside in communities, the staff that take care of the patients reside in those communities and then go home to their families or the grocery store or the pharmacy. So we are all interconnected. We have been working and will continue to work to protect the residents but they are part of the community and so that is why they are included in the county’s numbers and why this has to be an integrated strategy.
      • Can you clarify the benefits of population-based testing in these facilities? What purpose does that serve considering the lag between testing and results could mean more infections than originally tested?
        • Sec. Levine: So what we are trying to do is to find people who are asymptomatic. We have been testing symptomatic patients in these facilities all along, but as we are learning is that many patients have no symptoms or they might be transferring the virus before symptoms develop. So by testing them when they start to develop symptoms, we are missing people. We now have the testing capability to do the type of surveillance testing within the facilities and that is why we are implementing it.
      • Why did we wait 2 months into the pandemic to release specific nursing home data on COVID cases and deaths when many other states have already?
        • Sec. Levine: All along we have wanted to be very transparent. We were waiting for the federal govt.’s guidance on exactly what their recommendations were in terms of the data to release and now we are going to implement that release.


National News:

Washington Post:

The Latest

Other important news


Recurring Resources:

    • United Way of Lancaster County has launched a new website, This digital source of information for our community works in tandem with United Way's 2-1-1 resources to connect people and resources during this time of upheaval.
    • The Asset Map is a county-wide resource for all to utilize. If you need to add/update/delete information please follow the link here:


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:





PAVOAD Updates: