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 Human Services:


Dept. of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 980 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 65,392” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 2,690 cases. 12,916 negative tests. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:00pm)
    • # of Deaths: 269 deaths. (updated 11:59 pm on May 20, 2020.)
    • County Population: 543,557.
    • Death Rate per 100,000 residents: 49.5
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Dr. Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 980 new cases bringing statewide total to 65,392 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive in all 67 counties. This includes 4,871 positive cases in healthcare workers and 14,113 positive cases among residents of 570 long-term care living facilities. Tragically, 4,869 Pennsylvanians have died from COVID.
      • We continue to increase testing capability statewide with nearly 300 testing locations. In the last 24 hrs, more than 13,000 Pennsylvanians were tested for COVID.
      • I want to take time today to recognize our healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front line of this pandemic. This week in fact is nationally recognized as EMS week. The Dept. of Health is actually the lead agency for emergency medical services in PA. Our Bureau of Emergency Medical Services is responsible for the statewide development and coordination of a comprehensive system to prevent and reduce premature death and disability. There are over 42,000 certified EMS personnel and more than 1,000 licensed ground and air agencies in the commonwealth. These personnel and agencies respond to over 1 million requests for service each year. Today I want to sincerely thank EMS providers who serve across the entire commonwealth of PA. As all of our first responder heroes work to take care of our needs, I want to emphasize how important it is for these workers to also take care of themselves. Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to ask for help. It is okay to not be okay.
      • 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:
      • Is the state following CDC guidelines for reopening?
        • The CDC guidelines were just released, so we are reviewing them. Overall, we are certainly following the tenor of the phased guidelines, I am not sure if we are following each level the way they described it, but we are following the general principles of their guidelines. But again they were just released this week.
      • Can you explain in detail, the data problem from yesterday?
        • This was an information tech computer problem, the IT professionals who work for the Office of Administration fixed it and we are back running with NEDSS and I am sure they will do everything possible to prevent it from happening again.
      • According to the 3-day case trajectory data on the Dept. of Health website, it shows the regions seeing upticks in cases in the northwest, north central, and southwest regions that are in Yellow. Does this give you any pause and does it mean that community spread will become more common as more counties transition to yellow?
        • We are watching all of those trajectories very closely and we are very pleased to put them on the website so people can look at them. Remember it is only 3 days’ worth of data, and there are 7-day projections on the website as well and we are looking at all of that data. Some of the upticks we are aware about, because it might be through a congregate setting facility, but others we are investigating today. There is no indication that nay of those counties would have go from Yellow to Red but we are going to watch all of that very carefully. That is where it is really important in terms of our testing and case investigations and contact-tracing that we have been discussing.
      • You are recommending people don’t go to the Jersey Shore, are you also recommending people don’t take day trips to the Yellow zones?
        • I think that especially for people in the red zones, as we have been saying over and over again, we want people to stay home. Now, if the weather is nice this weekend, going outside in your immediate area is fine, if you are going to be in contact with other people, please wear a mask and practice social distancing. But we are really not recommending that people not take long trips.
      • Do you have an update on what criteria will be used to move counties into the Green Phase? And do you have any new information on the number of recoveries in the state?
        • We are working at both of those pieces of info and will have data very shortly.
      • The CDC released guidelines for restaurants, bars, and schools for how to reopen- have you seen these and how will PA incorporate those for when we go Green?
        • We have seen those, again they were only released this week, and as we release the metrics to go into the Green zone we are also looking at what life in the Green zone will look like, especially for businesses, restaurants, etc.
      • The CDC says the novel coronavirus does not appear to spread easily through objects and surfaces- does this change any of the guidance for businesses and individuals?
        • Well, I have just seen that report, that is new in the past couple of days, so we are going to be examining that, looking at the data that is based on, and then will consider if there needs to be any changes. We still want people to be very cautious, clean surfaces, wash your hands, etc.
      • The Atlantic is reporting that PA is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests in the reported totals for COVID test results- is this true? And if so, why is it appropriate to mix these results together as these measure 2 different things?
        • When we give you our total count, there are some of those individuals that have positive antibody tests, but in our own internal data, and what we can put on the website, we have confirmed cases and probable cases. The antibody tests are considered a probable case, not a confirmed case. If they get tested for the virus, and they test positive, then they could move to a confirmed case, if they test negative they wouldn’t be included at all. What’s very important to note is we only use the count of confirmed cases when we are looking at any metrics in terms of counties going from Red to Yellow or Yellow to Green or any other transition. We will make sure it is very clear on our website- so it is included but then we are also separating it out for clarity.
      • What information or data is most crucial when the state considers requests from counties when they are attempting to transition from the Red phase to the Yellow phase before June 4?
        • There are many metrics that we have been looking at and we have discussed this extensively. We are looking at incidence rates: how many cases per capita, how many cases per 100,000, their new cases per 100,000 not their previous cases, but how many new cases over a 2 week period per 100,000 that is called an incidence rate. We are looking at a model that’s been put out by Carnegie Mellon Univ, and that is on our website, we look at the trajectory animations that were just discussed, we look at hospital capacity and ICU capacity, we look at the capacity for the system to be able to do contact-tracing and the lab testing and so all of that goes into our decisions about how counties transition.
      • In all of May, the state has reported results of about 141,000 tests. The Governor wants weekly testing of every resident and employee of long-term care facilities amounting to about 135,000 tests per week. How are you going to accomplish such widespread testing in nursing homes considering statewide testing is nowhere near that level?
        • Well we are doing much better in terms of our statewide testing, today we announced 13,000 tests which is almost double the amount of tests even done a number of weeks ago, so our testing capacity is increasing significantly. We have already started, in terms of the testing of the long-term care living facilities, approx. a couple weeks ago with some pilot programs, we announced it last week, and now we are working on it this week. We are going to prioritize certain facilities that are significantly impacted and then are looking to test all of the patients and all of the staff throughout the state. The testing capacity is there to do that and all of that is proceeding as we speak.
      • Can you talk about the frustration concerning people who still don’t understand that social distancing and wearing masks is keeping the virus from spreading as much as it could have?
        • We want to continue to put out that message so that people hear it and learn to understand that. COVID-19 is a very serious threat to the public health, we have seen this with a global pandemic. It has had significant effect on the public health of the US and of PA. We know that it is a respiratory virus, it is spread through respiratory droplets and through the air, and so it has been determined that wearing a mask can be helpful. My mask protects you, your mask protects me, so if we are all wearing a mask then the community is more protected. It is not 100% but it is much better if we are wearing masks. We also know that washing hands and social distancing are very effective, none of it is 100% but we want to limit the transmission of this very dangerous virus as much as possible. And that is why I am here almost every single day so that people can hear it and then follow the guidance.


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:


  • Lancaster Chamber:
    • Website updated daily:
    • Past webinars are listed on the Chamber’s site listed above!
    • Webinars:
      • THIS WEEK Starts May 21 - Work Wisdom Series: Communication, Collaboration, Work-Life Integration
        Running for a three series program, invest in your employees and yourself by learning how to authentically community, collaborate and work on the work-life integration. Click the links to learn more about each session. Choose all three, or just one!
      • Wednesday, May 27 - PPP Loans: Review Loan Forgiveness Application and Process
        Walz Group CPA Principal Daniel T. Massey, CPA and Manager Benjamin J. Ritenour, CPA will be leading a discussion on the loan forgiveness application and related instructions that were released on Friday, May 15 by the US Treasury and SBA. This webinar will provide you with their take on the information provided including what questions have been answered and what issues remain unresolved. Please join us for this important PPP loan program update.



  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health: