Each day a summary of news and information that has been gathered from community partners and credible news sites will be posted.
- “Gov. Wolf Addresses Protests, Provides Update on Commonwealth Response” : https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-addresses-protests-provides-update-on-commonwealth-response/
- “Gov. Wolf Signs Emergency Declaration to Assist Municipalities During Protests” : https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-signs-emergency-declaration-to-assist-municipalities-during-protests/
- “Gov. Wolf: Commonwealth Response Coordination Center Activated in Response to Protests” : https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-commonwealth-response-coordination-center-activated-in-response-to-protests/
- “Gov. Wolf Issues Statement on Injustice, Encourages Pennsylvanians to Keep Each Other Safe” : https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-issues-statement-on-injustice-encourages-pennsylvanians-to-keep-each-other-safe/
General COVID resources: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-COVID-19/
Dept. of Agriculture:
- “Wolf Administration to Distribute $80 Million in USDA Foods, Receives Extension of COVID-19 Disaster Food Distribution Extension” : https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Agriculture_details.aspx?newsid=930
Dept. of State:
- “Secretary of State Boockvar Offers Important Reminders About Voting in Tuesday’s Primary” : https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/State-Details.aspx?newsid=386
Dept. of Health:
- “Department of Health Warns of Scam Targeting WIC Recipients” : https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=835
- “Sec. of Health Dr. Levine Meets with Future Health Care Professionals to Talk about COVID-19” : https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=833
- “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 356 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 72,282” : https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=836
- Link to Statewide map of testing sites: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Symptoms-Testing.aspx?fbclid=IwAR0q72qATsxBX9zL0KMErYO_OQZutSgVMY1I4fEEa8-3zcHN_7WixZ-VFAY
- COVID-19 Data: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx
- Lancaster Stats: 3,189 cases. 16,492 negative tests. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:00pm)
- # of Deaths: 297 deaths. (updated 11:59 pm on May 31, 2020.)
- County Population: 543,557
- Death Rate per 100,000 residents: 54.6
- Daily Press Briefings:
- Secretary Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
- As of 12am this morning, 356 new cases bringing statewide total to 72,282 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive in all 67 counties. Tragically 5,567 deaths have now been attributed to COVID. Statewide we are estimating that 67% of people who have had COVID have now recovered.
- Even before the arrival of COVID-19 in our commonwealth, the Dept. of Health has been committed to improving the quality of live for vulnerable Pennsylvanians including seniors and those living in long-term care living facilities. Nursing homes were once thought of as a retirement home, but today they are so much more. Today’s “retirement home” is a combination personal care homes and assisted living facilities and those are regulated by the Dept. of Human Services. Skilled nursing facilities for residents with serious medical conditions that often require constant care, those nursing homes are regulated by the Dept. of Health.
- In addition, the care residents need in skilled nursing facilities has required a change in how we regulate those facilities and that has something we have been working on since the start of the Wolf administration. We have implemented recommendations from the Auditor General and the Nursing Home Task Force, including resuming anonymous complaint reporting and we are working to update and rewrite our regulations to ensure they protect the residents of today and tomorrow. We have continued to conduct virtual and onsite inspections when investigations are warranted. Unfortunately, the very nature of a long-term care setting makes these places much more vulnerable to the spread of illnesses such as COVID. These facilities are congregate settings that house seniors, usually those 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions, and those make residents more susceptible to infection from this very contagious respiratory virus.
- COVID has significantly impacted long-term care living facilities across the country. When COVID first appeared, we recognized that this virus could easily spread in nursing homes and other congregate facilities. We instituted guidelines provided by the CDC early in March when the first cases were detected in PA, including limiting outside visitors from entering those facilities. Recent studies have shown that when there is an increase in cases in a county and community spread there is a direct impact on the long-term care facilities in that area. This impact is especially evident where there is more population density and widespread community transmission.
- We know that many individuals with COVID can be asymptomatic and yet very contagious- and that is how brave and courageous staff members, who have dedicated their lives caring for these vulnerable Pennsylvanians, unknowingly spread COVID into these facilities. It is important to remember that for most residents of these long-term care facilities this is their home, therefore following federal guidance from CMS, if a resident has tested positive for COVID at a facility, and then required hospitalization because of their symptoms, when they recovered they were returned home, to their facility. It is important to understand that this did not bring new cases into the facility, because that is where the resident initially came in contact with the virus in the first place. When they got home, these residents were once again separated from others believed not to have COVID, just as they had been before they required hospital care.
- Many long-term care facilities in our commonwealth have successfully prevented COVID from becoming widespread following our own, CMS’, and CDC’s protocols. Unfortunately, in some, COVID has been much harder to contain. Whenever a long-term care facility in PA reports a single case, we consider that to be an outbreak. We do a variety of assessments in that situation and offer up numerous resources. This involves working with our infection control team and making additional resources available such as our consultants ECRI, or in cases with severe staffing issues deploying the National Guard as, essentially, a strike team to assist those facilities.
- Now we have had instances where facilities with COVID infections have actually turned down these services, even though we felt it would be beneficial. One reason for this we think is that they were afraid they would be cited for failing to follow procedures, but I would like to emphasize that that is not the Dept. of Health’s intention. Our priority is actually halting the spread of COVID. We have actually supported long-term care facilities with approx. 1,800 shipments of PPE including more than 2 million N95 masks, specifically for long-term care facilities. We are now implementing a plan to test every long-term care staff worker and resident to identify where COVID exists.
- Now we are starting to see a significant decline in new cases in staff and residents in long-term care facilities, as well as a decline in deaths, but the threat to these facilities is not over. We will continue to pursue additional tactics that will allow us to protect and improve the quality of life for Pennsylvanians in these long-term care facilities. The best way to stop this virus from continuing to harm these and other vulnerable populations is to stop it from entering the facility in the first place. So we need to do everything we can to help prevent the workers from coming into contact with the virus in their communities. It is essential then, as we work to relax our social distancing, that we stay alert to prevent the spread of COVID.
- Daily Reminders:
- 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.
- Secretary of Aging Robert Torres summary
- Reporters’ Questions: (*note: the press conferences have now been adjusted to accommodate live questions from reporters since Dauphin county’s move to Yellow last week and while that is great news for that county, it is now incredibly hard to hear the questions from the open room so I will do my best to communicate Dr. Levine’s/other officials’ answers that are relevant, below*)
- Will Philadelphia moving to Yellow be postponed due to protests?
- Sec. Levine: There is no plan at this time to change Philadelphia’s move to Yellow due to the protests
- Have you seen spikes in cases from the protests?
- Sec. Levine: We have not seen any specific spike in cases from the protests in Harrisburg, of course that is difficult to do because of the amount of people involved, so there is no specific spike from that. We will be watching for specific increases that have had protests such as Philly, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh as well as some other smaller cities, but again it is difficult to tell because people don’t only come from those areas and we have no identifiers.
- The mayor of Atlanta recommended that if you were involved in a protest that you go get tested, do you encourage that as well?
- Sec. Levine: Well the incubation period is 2-14 days with an avg of 5 days, so going to get tested the next day probably would not be as valuable. I think that is an interesting thought, I have not heard that before, I think it is something people could do, probably wait at least several days before getting tested. Of course, if they have any symptoms they should absolutely be tested.
- Can you briefly describe what contact-tracing is going to look like for someone who is approached, not the person who is being traced, but the person being approached to answer questions?
- Sec. Levine: Increased testing, identifying people who are positive, doing a case investigation and learning about their contacts, and then doing contact-tracing and appropriate quarantine is critically important now and it will be critically important in the future. So we have a number of different ways of doing that- so there will be some type of virtual contact to reach you, and then we are going to say anonymously that ‘you have been in contact with someone with COVID’. We are not going to say ‘you have been in contact with Susan Smith who has COVID’, we are then going to ask you to quarantine and then we are going to ask you who you might have been in contact with. We have found that people, both when there were issues of Ebola in 2014 and now, that people comply with isolation and quarantine very well and they comply with our requests with case investigation and contact tracing and we are very pleased with the public’s response to that.
- Will Philadelphia moving to Yellow be postponed due to protests?
- Secretary Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
- Coronavirus has brought a particular trauma to black communities, which have been ravaged by the pandemic and its economic fallout. On top of that, a series of attacks on black people brought even more pain. Tanya Faison, an activist in Sacramento, had been staying at home, worried that she wouldn't fare well if she contracted COVID-19 because of a preexisting respiratory condition. But the coronavirus fear is being outweighed by the urgent need to push for change while people are paying attention. “So I’m going to put my mask on, I’m going to put my gloves on, and I’m going to protest," she said.
- Cliff Albright, co-founder of Atlanta political organization Black Voters Matter, called the current moment “a perfect storm — or imperfect storm.” “People are talking about two viruses — the virus of racism and the coronavirus,” he said.
- Meanwhile, President Trump on Monday berated the nation’s governors on a conference call, describing them as “weak” in the face of growing racial unrest and urging them to try to “dominate” unruly protests, according to three people on the call, which you can listen to here. The president has clashed with governors over reopening their states and rooted on those protesting public health restrictions in some areas even before demonstrations over George Floyd's death began.
- Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) spoke passionately about the weekend's protests, but she also raised another concern: that demonstrations are going to bring a new surge of coronavirus infections. Protesters frequently find it impossible to stay six feet apart or to dodge the respiratory droplets of their chanting comrades amid the swirling chaos, especially if tear gas is involved. “If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week,” Bottoms said. “There is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers.” Health experts are concerned, but they're also carefully weighing the risk level — the protests are outdoors, where transmission rates are much lower.
- The pandemic has some people reconsidering their city lives, and not only for the health risks it poses to constantly be in close quarters with so many other people. Some are moving out to be closer to family; others are looking for a lower cost of living and a taste of nature; some are being forced out by job losses and sky-high rent. Have you thought about moving?
- Two teens in a D.C. suburb were buying groceries for their grandparents in early March, as coronavirus began to spread across the region. It was then that they realized there was a greater need — many older Americans don’t have younger relatives nearby to help. So they created Teens Helping Seniors, which connects older adults with volunteers who will deliver groceries or other supplies right to their doorstep.
Other important news
- Retailers and restaurants are shutting their doors amid protests just as many were reopening from the pandemic.
- Despite the widespread economic toll, most Americans still favor controlling the outbreak over restarting the economy, a Post-ABC poll found.
- To convince kids to wear masks, adults are getting creative. Kids are getting … annoyed.
- 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
- Lancaster Chamber:
- Website updated daily: https://www.lancasterchamber.com/Apps/Pages/coronavirusnews
- “Important Updates Related to the Lancaster County Economic Recovery Plan” : https://www.lancasterchamber.com/Apps/Pages/page-slug-92504?formEntryId=21836
- Local Govt.:
- Mayor Danene Sorace is hosting daily briefings on Facebook every night at 5pm
- The County has a COVID site to keep up to date with their response: https://co.lancaster.pa.us/1296/Coronavirus-Disease-COVID-19
- Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health:
- Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health COVID-19 Data: online dashboard with COVID-19 testing and patient data. The site is accessible from the LGHealth.org homepage (click “data” in the top red banner), or at the link below. Data is updated each morning.
- WellSpan Health System:
- Meals: Hunger Free Lancaster
- Hunger Free Lancaster County: https://hungerfreelancaster.org/resources/important-resources-during-COVID-19/
- Resource to find childcare providers with waivers: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/providers/Providers/Pages/Coronavirus-Child-Care.aspx
- SAMHSA resources: https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/training-and-technical-assistance-COVID19.pdf
- Commonwealth response coordination center activated in response to protests
Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center, already activated at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) for the state’s COVID-19 response, has supplemented center staff to maintain situational awareness of the protests taking place in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and other parts of the state. Gov. Wolf advised that his Administration has been in touch with counties throughout the day, offering whatever assistance is needed to keep our communities from suffering from any additional violence.
- Gov. Wolf signs emergency declaration to assist municipalities during protests
The declaration allocates funds to PEMA for Emergency Management Assistance Compact expenses related to this emergency, to be increased or decreased as conditions require, and transfer money to PEMA for expenses authorized and incurred related to this emergency. Any unused funds will be returned to the General Fund. The declaration also authorizes the Adjutant General of the PA National Guard and the Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner to activate personnel and use resources as necessary to alleviate the danger to public health and safety caused by this emergency.
Read full article here.
- Feeding Task Force information reporting of protest effects
In light of the civil unrest being seen throughout the commonwealth, the COVID-19 Feeding Task Force wants to determine what feeding operations are being impacted. If you have any information please email Steve Gensemer at firstname.lastname@example.org and Christine Heyser at email@example.com. Please include as much detail as possible on these points:
A. Agency/organization name and location
B. Primary population(s) served i.e. children, families, seniors, etc.
C. Approx. number meals served/day or week
D. Description of the impact
E. Unmet needs or anticipated unmet needs