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 Corrections:


Dept. of Labor & Industry:


Dept. of Health:


  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Gov. Wolf Summary:
      • This weekend is the unofficial start of summer. And I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say it feels as though a minute has passed and an eternity has passed since PA’s first known COVID-19 case on March 6th. Back then, there were many unknowns about this virus. We didn’t know how severe PA’s outbreak would become or if we could stop it from growing, and we knew life would be different now that this virus existed but we didn’t know how different. Today, we have a lot more answers than we did back then. We know that not only did we succeed in slowing the growth, but that our actions, our collective decisions to stay at home and avoid social contact, we know that all of that saved lives. A study by Drexel Univ. shows that in Philly alone, 60 days of staying at home resulted in more than 7,000 lives being saved and it prevented more than 68,000 people from needing hospitalization.
      • My Stay At Home order did exactly what it was intended to do, it saved lives, and over the last 2 weeks we have seen sustained reductions in hospitalizations. From May 8th until yesterday, the number of COVID patients hospitalized dropped by nearly 1,000 from 2,618 to 1,667 and the number of COVID patients on a ventilator shrank by about a third from 505 to 347. Our new case rate has been shrinking, it shrank by more than half from May 8th to May 15th and it declined by another third from May 15th just until yesterday. Many other states are seeing their new case rate continue to increase or remain flat, we have sustained this decline even as we are reopening businesses and resuming activities, and our ability to detect and isolate new cases continues to improve with each passing day.
      • Since May 8th, our number of daily lab tests has increased by 65% from 7,888 to 13,085 each day and we now have testing in 33 locations across the state in almost every county. We are continuing to ramp up our response team and with the development of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, we are laying out a road map to have the capacity in place to deal with a fall resurgence, if one occurs. Our ability to identify and isolate cases of COVID has increased, and this will allow every Pennsylvanian in our commonwealth to resume a more normal life without constant fear of contracting COVID.
      • As of this morning, 49 counties have moved into PA’s yellow phase and today I am announcing that on Friday, May 29th that number will increase to 57 with the addition of Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill counties and we anticipate the remainder of the state to be moved into the Yellow phase by June 5th. We have been closely monitoring these Yellow phase counties for signs of outbreaks, we have had a few incidents that have caused some concern but overall we have seen most areas continue to maintain or reduce their COVID new case count. So on Friday, May 29th 17 counties will move to the Green phase, those counties are Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
      • Now, I must emphasize that moving into the Green phase will still require precautions to keep our communities and our families safe. COVID continues to be a threat to our health and welfare and unfortunately that won’t change until we have a vaccine or a cure. So while these counties will see a return to near normalcy, some precautions will continue to be in effect for the safety of residents. These precautions will provide the greatest freedom while preventing certain situations that are known to be catalysts for the transmission of COVID. While all businesses may resume operations, including restaurants and bars, many will have reduced capacity. Large entertainment gatherings such as concerts,  festivals, sporting events, will continue to be restricted. Teleworking will continue to be encouraged, nursing home visitation will continue to be restricted, and hospitals and prisons may have visitations restricted on a case by case basis if deemed necessary. Guidance from the CDC and the Dept. of Health must continue to be observed and this includes wearing masks in public, washing hands, self-isolating when sick, and implementing social distancing. The more people who take precautions, the more likely we are to succeed at suppressing COVID.
      • Above all else, its on us to keep our communities safe and healthy so wear a mask when you are around others, wash your hands, and stay home when you are sick. Lastly, I want to thank all Pennsylvanians who have made tremendous sacrifices since this virus emerged in PA. I want to remember and honor all of those who we lost and I want to give solace to their families and their loved ones. The last 2 months have been trying, and they have tested each of us, and I want to thank and acknowledge all the people of our commonwealth who have been called upon to upend their lives to keep their neighbors, friends, and families safe. Thank you.
    • Secretary Levine:
      • As of 12am this morning, 866 new cases bringing our statewide total to 66,258 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive for COVID in all 67 counties. We have new data to report, 57% of these cases have recovered from the virus. This means that for 57% of patients who have tested positive it has been 30 days past the date of their first positive test or onset of symptoms. There are 481 patients who have a positive serology test, that’s an antibody test, and either have had COVID symptoms or are high risk of exposure to the virus. These cases are considered probable cases and are not considered confirmed cases. Only confirmed cases are taken into consideration in any of our metrics and calculations. Tragically, 4, 984 deaths in PA.
      • As you know, we have been carefully watching the progress counties have made in ensuring case counts continue to decline while they are in the Yellow phase. Instead of setting a new bar for counties to meet, our metrics to move a county from Red to Yellow have proven to be sufficient to forecast how a county will react when social distancing is relaxed and when they move to the Green zone. We have been monitoring the first 24 counties that moved to Yellow closely to see if there has been a significant change over the past 14 days now that social distancing has been relaxed. The 17 counties going to Green have been able to maintain the Yellow metrics for 14 days showing that they are ready to make this move to the Green phase.
      • As we increase testing, the specific incidence rate, such as the 50 per 100,000, is less critical now as a metric. Remember, there have always been numerous metrics being used to move counties to Yellow. These include analysis on the community impact from Carnegie Mellon Univ, as well as contact-tracing, testing, capacity, and hospital capacity. To help make all of our recommendations to the Governor, our team of epidemiologists, physicians, nurses, and emergency management staff and I consult regularly with many academic experts from Carnegie Mellon Univ, Univ. of Pitt, UPenn, CHOP, and others really from throughout country. We are confident that our contact-tracing and testing resources in the 17 counties moving to Green are sufficient to continue to carefully monitor for any signs of resurgence of the virus.
      • Pennsylvanians have shown once again that they have the resolve to win the battle against COVID and have been able to resume activities in the Yellow zone without increasing the risk of infection.
      • 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.
    • Director Padfield:
      • PEMA remains engaged daily in support of the Dept. of Health in the response to COVID crisis across PA. As a majority of citizens and businesses across the commonwealth are now focused on reopening and getting back to a new normal for the foreseeable future, we continue to be focused on supporting the Dept. of Health and the counties in continued response and recovery efforts. This will undoubtedly be one of the longest incidents that PEMA, and the county and municipal emergency management professionals that we work with on a daily basis, have seen in some time and in some cases the longest sustained operation that they have ever managed in their entire career.
      • Unfortunately, despite the best efforts and all of the results of those efforts that the Governor and Dr. Levine mentioned, despite those best efforts, the public and the businesses to adhere to social distancing and infection control standards, there will still be individuals that will become infected and vulnerable populations that remain at risk. In emergency management, our mantra is to plan for the worst and expect the best. We understand that there is no perfect plan and that every plan needs to be adjusted for every situation. That has definitely been the case with this complex and challenging pandemic. A lot of what we do comes down to people, having the right people with the right skills, knowledge, and ability to apply those in any given situation provides for the best outcomes. That is what we focus on every day, our agency is committed to continuing to refine these processes that have been put in place during the initial response phases of this incident. To support our county partners who continue to support the citizens during this evolving pandemic.
      • As the public works to establish the new normal in response to COVID, our agency is also focused on what the new normal is for emergency management and emergency response operations for the foreseeable future as well. There undoubtedly will be additional challenges with emergency response operations in the coming months both with COVID or whether it is from another natural or human-caused disaster. We look forward to working with our state agency partners and our county and municipal partners who are so key in being able to accomplish response operations as we define the new normal and continue to meet the needs of the citizens of the commonwealth during this public health emergency.


National News:

Washington Post:

The latest

  • The Post has a new map tool that shows which neighborhoods in your community are most vulnerable to COVID-19, based on metrics such as overcrowding, lack of medical insurance and chronic health issues. These areas also tend to be where minorities live, illustrating in clear, bold lines how the virus is taking advantage of America's racial inequalities. Find out how your town or city fares.
  • The novel coronavirus and the flu virus can both attack the lungs, but autopsies of several COVID-19 patients reveal how differently the two pathogens go about their destruction. The novel coronavirus “attacks the lining of blood vessels there, a critical difference from the lungs of people who died of the flu,” our health desk wrote after a new study was published Thursday. “Critical parts of the lungs of patients infected by the novel coronavirus also suffered many microscopic blood clots and appeared to respond to the attack by growing tiny new blood vessels.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has quietly updated its website to advise that the virus “does not spread easily” via contaminated surfaces or animals. The new language might relieve Americans concerned about catching COVID-19 through the mail or dirty doorknobs, but The Post interviewed a virologist who fears the CDC's shifting messages could confuse the public and discourage people from washing their hands.
  • COVID-19 patients who took hydroxychloroquine, the much-hyped anti-malarial drug President Trump said he was using to ward off the virus, showed no special improvement and were significantly more likely to develop dangerous heart conditions, according to a new study of 96,000 cases. “If there was ever hope for this drug, this is the death of it,” a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Translational Institute told The Post after the findings were published in a medical journal Friday.
  • Trump's months-long promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure-all for COVID-19 puts him in the same company as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and a handful of other world leaders who have played doctor-in-chief with bad science.


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:




  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health: