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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 Ag:


Dept. of Education:


Dept. of Human Services:


Dept. of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 707 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 58,698” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 2,325 cases. 10,420 negative tests. 172 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, 707 new cases bringing statewide total to 58,698 in all 67 counties. This includes 4,066 positive cases in healthcare workers and includes 12,408 positive cases among residents of 543 long-term care living facilities. 3,943 deaths- all in adults.
      • Yesterday, PA received our first shipment of Remdesivir from the federal govt- we received 1,200 doses of this medication to treat patients in hospitals with COVID. By this morning, 51 hospitals across PA received this medication. The hospitals who received the first shipments were decided based on the number and severity of the cases they had. The federal Dept of Health and Human services assured us we would be receiving more of this medication, on a weekly basis, over the next number of weeks. Remdesivir is not a cure, it is given  to severely ill patients in the hospital to shorten the recovery time.
      • 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 (4357).
      • Please remember to wear a mask if you are going somewhere in public and will be around other people.
    • Reporters’ Questions:
      • What is the latest info in PA on the inflammatory syndrome in children related to COVID-19?
        • So there is a recently described syndrome in children who have tested positive for COVID-19. These reports are coming from NYC. This is an inflammatory condition of blood vessels, it resembles toxic shock syndrome and often requires intensive care. There have even been some deaths related to it in NYC. We have asked hospitals to report any cases of this syndrome to us, to date we have not received any reports, but we are specifically reaching out to our 6 children’s hospitals to find out more info if they have any of those cases.
      • How will collecting data on gender identity and sexual orientation help in the fight against COVID-19?
        • We want to collect as much demographic info as possible about patients and about populations that have COVID. We have discussed before, through our data system, that we are looking for data on race and ethnicity, we are doing somewhat better in getting that data as we have had challenges in some of the reporting but we are adding to that reporting sexual orientation and gender identity to get as much info as possible.
      • Is there any concern that this info could be compromised?
        • No, our NEDSS data system is completely confidential within the Dept. of Health and the agencies that we work with.
      • What are the dangers of PPE ‘litter’? How important is it to properly dispose of PPE?
        • So, when we at the Dept. of Health say PPE, we are talking about the type of equipment that we send to healthcare providers, and if those workers are in contact with patients with COVID than it is very important that equipment be disposed of in the red biological waste bags and then disposed of in the way that all bio waste from hospitals in disposed of.

What the public often means is the masks that we are talking about wearing in public. For cloth masks we recommend you wash them every day. If you are using disposable masks, please dispose of them in the garbage and then wash your hands.

      • Can you please explain the role of plasma in the treatment of COVID-19?
        • There are studies that show that plasma, which is part of blood and it’s the part of blood that contains white blood cells and other immune factors, from patients who have recovered from COVID, after being processed by blood banks, can be used to treat severely ill patients with COVID-19. So those types of plasma transfusions is another tool in our toolbox in order to treat severely ill, hospitalized patients.
      • This week you called for testing in all PA nursing homes- can you give us more specific targets for who gets tested, how often the tests are administered, and when we will have the testing capacity to accomplish this?
        • Yes, we have called for the testing of all the patients and all the staff in these long-term care living facilities. Of course, if you test once that could be inconclusive, so the retesting will be individualized. I was giving some examples a number of days ago, but the testing will need to be individualized to the number of cases in the facility. If there is a facility with no tests, then that will have a certain retest schedule. If there is a facility with just a few cases then they would have a different schedule than a facility with many cases. So we will be working with them to facilitate the testing and to work with them in terms of a testing schedule. We do have the lab capacity, finally, now, we started piloting that last week and we have that capacity to roll that out. We are working on a timeline for the Gov in terms of how that will roll out with the approx. 693 nursing homes, the 1200 or more personal care homes, and other congregate facilities so it will take some time to roll out.
      • The White House’s plan for reopening states says that states should set up sentinel surveillance sites to screen for asymptomatic cases- what are these sites and where are they located in PA?
        • A sentinel surveillance site would be a site, something like the mass testing sites that we have done in Montgo and Luzerne and Philly, but they would be screening asymptomatic people. There is a lot of different ways to do surveillance and we are working on that. Actually we do not have the lab capacity to do that now, to do that type of population-based surveillance testing we would need to increase our testing capacity to be able to do that.
      • Is broad, surveillance-level testing a goal for PA?
        • So I just mentioned this, it is an aspirational goal to do broad population-based surveillance testing. We will need more testing capacity to do that and what would be most effective is if we had a rapid point-of-care test that was very accurate, very sensitive and specific, that could be done easily either by healthcare provider or at a mass testing site or at home even and then have results in 20-30 minutes.
      • Does the state anticipate making a blanket decision on whether schools in the Red and Yellow zones will be allowed to open? Or does the state anticipate leaving that to the schools?
        • I know that Secretary Rivera had a senate hearing about this a number of days ago and that our goal is that the schools will be able to open in the fall. We need to make sure with all the different models and metrics that we look at that it would be safe to do and I am sure that PDE will have discussions with all school districts in terms of that reopening.


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:





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