Each day a summary of news and information that has been gathered from community partners and credible news sites will be posted.

 

Governor:

 

State Government:

General COVID resources: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/

 

Dept. of Education:

 

Dept. of Labor & Industry:

 

Dept. of State:

 

Dept. of Health:

  • “Department of Health Distributes Third Shipment of Drug to Help Treat COVID-19 Patients in Hospitals” : https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=823
  • “Department of Health Highlights Ongoing Nursing Home Inspection, Sanction Information Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic” : https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=825
  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 451 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 68,637” : https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=828
  • Lancaster Stats: 2,985 cases. 14,634 negative tests. (According to DOH website- updated today at 11:15am)
    • # of Deaths: 281 deaths. (updated 11:59 pm on May 25, 2020.)
    • County Population: 543,557.
    • Death Rate per 100,000 residents: 51.7
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Gov. Wolf summary:
      • I know Memorial Day is truly about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I also want to take this opportunity to make note of the great work being done right now by our National Guard members. Right now, we have women and men in our National Guard supporting us in our efforts to halt COVID-19. Some have assisted at testing sites, some have provided support at long-term care facilities, and some have served in other ways. So I want to personally thank our National Guard members and their families for their work, especially in these trying times. Just like other families across the commonwealth, military families are facing new challenges, some of these military families are coping with these challenges with one parent being away from home due to a deployment to a COVID-19 site and that is really showing the strength of these dedicated Pennsylvanians. So if you know someone serving in the National Guard, whether they are deployed right now or have served us in another way, please reach out to them and let them know how grateful you are for everything they have done.
      • We are continuing to make progress in our fight against COIVD, our case count continues to trend downwards, we have increased our testing capacity from just over 50,000 the last week of April to nearly 80,000 last week, and we now have testing at over 300 locations across the state in almost every county. We have increased our contact-tracing capacity, we went from tracing 433 people on May 14th to tracing close to 1,700 as of today, and  those contact-tracing amounts do not include the work being done by county and municipal health depts. Because of our collective commitment to actions that reduce COVID spread, several counties will be moving into the Green phase on Friday and every county, including those that saw the highest infection rates, will soon be able to move into the Yellow phase.
      • We are continuing to ramp up testing and contact-tracing across the state to help ensure we can identify cases and eliminate outbreaks even as we reopen the economy. But we are able to make this progress towards safely reopening the economy only because people like you are taking precautions and keeping yourselves and your communities safe- whether it’s a person wearing a mask or a business changing their operations to protect employees and customers. So I thank each and every one of you for doing your part.
    • Secretary Levine: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 451 new cases bringing statewide total 68,637 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive in all 67 counties. This includes 5,159 positive cases in healthcare workers and 14,857 positive cases among residents of 594 long-term care facilities. This also includes 2,558 positive cases in the food industry at 177 facilities. Tragically 5,152 have been attributed to COVID.
      • We continue to see a decline in cases statewide which is very good news for PA. Regionally, we are seeing some fluctuations of case counts, but overall they continue to trend downward. This is especially encouraging considering we have increased our testing capabilities as the Gov mentioned. Statewide, we are now estimating that 61% of people with COVID have recovered.
      • COVID is a novel, or new, coronavirus that we are learning more about every day. When the virus was first identified, reports from other countries demonstrated that COVID did not seem to significantly children the way it impacted adults. In fact, most of the cases in PA are in adults 25 years or older. When we did see cases in children, most were mild, moderate, or even asymptomatic. Even though this is still true, the CDC now is reporting that some children are developing a new serious condition as a complication of COVID-19. The CDC is calling this condition MIS-C or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. This condition is very similar to a condition called Kawasaki’s disease, another inflammatory disease that can impact children. Symptoms of MIS-C include persistent fever, often a high fever, a rash or change in skin color, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, and abdominal pain. I want to emphasize that there is rather limited info about this condition- we do not know if it is specific to children or if it could also occur in adults, we also do not know the specific risk factors or how it is transmitted. This is why it is important for parents to be aware of the symptoms of this condition. If you notice any symptoms in your child, please contact your child’s pediatrician who will be able to guide you on what to do next. We are working with our great children’s hospitals and our major pediatric centers to gather case information using a standardized form that is provided by the CDC. Currently we are aware of 17 reports of MIS-C in PA, 9 of those are now confirmed, 2 of those have been determined not to be a case, and the remaining 6 are under investigation. There are developing treatment protocols being developed for those very ill children. It is important to remember that this is an evolving and changing situation and as more info on this new condition becomes available, we will work to provide updates as that info comes in.
      • We have done great work as a commonwealth to combat this enemy of COVID-19, but we still need to be very careful as we continue to go from the Red zones to the Yellow zones to the Green zones. As we come back together, we have to remain aware that COVID is still a risk. We have done great work together under the Gov’s leadership and I know that we will continue to work together to combat COVID-19.
      • 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 your reaction to the crowds of people gathering over the holiday weekend, not social distancing or wearing masks? Should those people self-quarantine for 2 weeks?
        • Sec. Levine: It would not be indicated to self-quarantine, there are different indications for that. But I would express concern about those individuals. As we have been saying, there is still community spread of COVID and if people are in large gatherings, not social distancing, not washing their hands as much as they should, and not wearing masks then I would be considered about the spread of COVID in those individuals.
      • Cases are rising in some states, do you expect to see a rise in PA after Memorial Day weekend?
        • Sec. Levine: So, we have had the reports that you mentioned of people not social distancing but as the Governor has mentioned many times, and of course I agree, that the people in PA want to do the right thing and the right thing right now is if you go out to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands and I believe that most people in PA did that. We will of course be very vigilant  for any potential outbreaks in the commonwealth.
      • On Friday we will see the first counties in PA move to the Green phase, do you have any updated info or guidance for counties moving into that phase?
        • Sec. Levine: There is some broad guidance on the Governor’s website and there will be some more specific guidance being put out early this week.
      • In what phase will large gatherings, such as weddings, be allowed and what do you expect those to look like?
        • Sec. Levine: There will be more guidance on the website this week in terms of ‘life in the Green zone’ so to speak and in terms of gatherings. We are not going to recommend very large gatherings however, certainly not gatherings at large events like concerts or something like that, and we do want people to practice social distancing as much as they can, we want people to wear masks even in the Green zone, we want people to wash hands and continue to be vigilant for the potential spread of COVID.
      • Gov. Murphy (NJ) today announced graduation ceremonies could start July 6th as long as they are outdoors with social distancing in place- when can such ceremonies safely be held in PA?
        • Governor Wolf: As Dr. Levine said, the guidelines as we become more specific especially in the Green areas, but also in the Yellow, have certain numbers of people beyond which we don’t think it is very safe. Social distancing and wearing masks are always going to be important but I think there ought to be limits in terms of how many people actually come together at one event. I don’t know what NJ is doing in that regard, but in PA what we are trying to do is say this is not about the regulations, this is about staying safe and whatever you do as a Pennsylvanian, and in every context, you should be doing everything you can to avoid infecting somebody else with this disease.
      • It seems the Budget will be broken into phases: a 5-month budget then a 7-month budget. Can you tell us how its going to work and why we need to do it that way?
        • Governor Wolf: We are continuing to work and the hope is we are moving with the General Assembly in fairly good order here to get to a budget. I think all of us are struggling to know exactly what the financial situation is going to look like over the course of the whole next fiscal year. So we are going to do, I know, some unusual things. The Budget isn’t finished yet, the General Assembly and my administration, we are still working on it and I think we are doing that in a very constructive way. So I hope that we get to a conclusion fairly quickly but it will be a conclusion that takes into account the very unusual circumstances we find ourselves in.
      • The state put out new information Friday on the Green phase: restaurants, salons, gyms and entertainment can only operate at 50% capacity- how and when did you decide on that number and how will these limits be enforced?
        • Governor Wolf: We are working with the PA Restaurant and Lodging Assoc. to establish guidelines and we should have those in a clear format later this week. But again, as with everything else what we are trying to do is lay out guidelines to keep people safe. Ultimately, what’s going to work is not enforcement, what’s going to work is each and every individual Pennsylvanian and each and every business owner doing everything they can to protect their employees and customers and protect each other from this very infectious disease that can be deadly. We want to protect Pennsylvanians and the best way to do that is to get Pennsylvanians to do that themselves.
      • As more and more places start to open up, the WHO is already warning about a second peak for places that open too soon- how is this warning for a second wave being factored into the reopening plans?
        • Sec. Levine: We will see, in terms of how the counties go from Red to Yellow which will be by the end of next week, and then as counties go from Yellow to Green, we will be watching our numbers, on a county level, very carefully as we have been discussing, we will be doing our increased testing, we will be doing our contact-tracing, and we will be watching for any outbreaks.
      • On Friday you said the ’50 per 100,000’ metric was no longer as important as it once was- can you elaborate on how and when that metric became less important? And any specific improvements in other metrics?
        • Sec. Levine: Over the last week we have significantly been able to increase our testing, so as we increase our testing, we are going to be picking up more and more people with COVID. That makes an incidence rate, such as that metric, less useful to us as a measure of what counties can go from Red to Yellow and from Yellow to Green. We are looking at many other models, we have the phased trajectory animations, we have the Carnegie Mellon data, we also have been looking at models from CHOP and their policy lab, so lots of different models we are looking at in order to make decisions for counties to move to the next phase.
      • What exact parameters does a Yellow county have to meet before going Green, and how specifically will they be closely monitored with the risk of transition to the Green phase?
        • Sec. Levine: Those counties need to have a continual decreasing rate of COVID while they were Yellow, and if that is continuing, it has to be at least 2 weeks, then they will be considered to go to Green. If there are questions about that, then we will hold them at Yellow and continue to watch those parameters.
      • Is PA equipped to handle all of the mail-in ballots election officials are going to receive? Counties have expressed concerns about the new system handling them all, especially in the fall election.
        • Governor Wolf: I think that is a legitimate concern. The state has gotten money together to make available to counties who are going to be counting these mail-in ballots. The hope is that this is going to be a better, healthier way to vote in the midst of the pandemic. But to the extent that more people vote by mail, that will also reduce the financial cost and pressure of operating in-person voting locations. So the hope is, while there will definitely be an increase cost of the vote by mail over what it used to be, there will be a reduced cost in in-person voting.

 

National News:

Washington Post:

The latest

  • The World Health Organization is warning that countries could face a second peak in COVID-19 cases, even before we enter a second wave of infections. North America, Southeast Asia and Europe could be scaling back restrictions too quickly, WHO emergencies program head Mike Ryan said, which could result in a rapid acceleration in the emergence of case clusters. “We need to be also cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time," Ryan said. "We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it’s going to keep going down.”
  • Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb linked the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations to states lifting restrictions. “We now see a trend in an uptick in hospitalizations. It’s a small uptick, but it is an uptick, and it is unmistakable, and it is probably a result of reopening,” he said Tuesday morning in an interview on CNBC. “I’m concerned that there are people who think that this is the all-clear.”
  • The number of Tyson Foods employees with COVID-19 has exploded from less than 1,600 a month ago to more than 7,000 today, according to a Washington Post analysis. Meat companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on protective gear, paid leave and ventilation systems. Despite the safety precautions, the industry has still seen a significant surge in cases, showing how difficult it is to get back to normal, even in essential fields such as food processing.
  • Local officials were stunned by raucous Memorial Day weekend festivities, even as COVID-19 killed at least 2,000 more people in the U.S. At a flashy club in Houston, dozens splashed around the pool. In rural North Carolina, thousands packed the stands without masks at a speedway. And in Daytona Beach, Fla., hundreds danced in the street and on top of cars near the boardwalk. The events led local officials to sound the alarm, warning that consequences could be dire.
  • The nation’s political leaders honored generations of war dead on Memorial Day, with former vice president Joe Biden wearing a mask and President Trump going without. Hours later, Trump retweeted a Fox News commentator criticizing Biden for wearing one, which sparked backlash from critics who questioned whether they valued Biden looking “cool” more than efforts to slow the spread of a deadly virus. (Analysis: Trump’s seeding of a culture war over masks just got a lot less subtle.)
  • We’re swimming in statistics, trends, models, projections, infection rates and death tolls, but even the experts are struggling to make sense of the numbers. With the fuzzy science, people are forced to do their own calculations and estimates, and figure out what’s safe and what isn’t. Read about the challenges we all face to interpret the uncertainty and the basic questions still unanswered.
  • With a simple Airbnb reservation, an American couple, their two dogs, a Chinese couple and their set of newborn twins have created an unexpected temporary family in a Salt Lake City suburb. A month-long reservation turned into more than three, and now all of the adults eat together, play games and hike together, and care for the new babies.

Other important news

 

Local News:

 

Recurring Resources:

  • OneUnitedLancaster.com
    • United Way of Lancaster County has launched a new website, OneUnitedLancaster.com. 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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UWMAP20

 

 

 

  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health:

 

 

 

Melina Godshall
Latest posts by Melina Godshall (see all)