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.

Governor Wolf:

*This press release highlights the Governor’s comments from last night!


State Government:

General CoVid resources:




Dept of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,369 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 37,053” :
  • Link to Statewide map of testing sites:
  • COVID-19 Data: (now available at zip code-level data)
  • Lancaster Stats: 1,359 cases. 6,267 negative tests. 72 deaths. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Secretary Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe”
      • In the process of being transparent, earlier this week we started to include data about probable cases, but we realized this category can be confusing since it does change over time. When a case is confirmed, it means there is a positive test result for both our case counts and our death statistics. Some of the probable cases are still under investigation, some of these cases will remain a probable case after investigation, especially if someone passes away because we may never be able to get a confirmed test. This verification process is very intensive and under normal circumstances can take months to complete. So we continue to refine the data to provide everyone this info in as near time as we possibly can.
      • Today you are going to see a decrease in our probable cases, specifically probable deaths, and that impacts our positive case count. This does not impact our confirmed case count, just the probable case count. I want to emphasize, to make the data-driven decisions that we and the Governor are making, we actually rely on the confirmed case counts and probable cases make up less than 2% of our total cases. But they give us an idea of if something is happening in a community and in the spirit of transparency we want to report that to you.
      • As of 12 am this morning, there are 37,053 total cases. This includes 36,665 confirmed cases and 388 probable cases. 1,421 total deaths, this is a decrease of 201 than what was reported yesterday and that reflects the probable deaths that have been removed from the count due to further investigation.
      • As we work to move regions of the state, as Governor Wolf was saying last night, from red to yellow to green, we are actually looking at the confirmed counts to make those decisions. To further explain, we will be looking at regions where a population-based rate, which measures the cumulative number of new confirmed cases per county over the past 14 days using the 50 cases per 100,000 residents metric. This is just one metric that will be combined with the availability of testing, hospital beds, the contact tracing, and the modeling will all be put together to make final determinations about reopening a region.
      • If you need 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
    • Reporters’ Questions:
      • Will reopening be county by county or region by region? And will all counties in a particular region have to meet the requirements in order for the region to reopen?
        • The opening will be region by region. The metrics I mentioned earlier will all come into play so there are a number of different factors that will go into reopening a region.
      • For a region to reopen, there must be enough testing- how will that be defined and will asymptomatic people in target populations be tested?
        • We will not be able to test asymptomatic people in target populations- we are relaxing our standards in who will be tested. Previously we were prioritizing healthcare workers, those in long-term living facilities, and other seniors, all who had symptoms. But we are going to relax that and will look at anyone who has symptoms. But will not be able to do the widespread testing of asymptomatic individuals at this time. We are looking at a number of different ways to increase our testing capacities- working with hospitals and healthcare facilities, partnering with Rite Aid, discussed possibility of mass testing site, heard today about the possibility of mobile testing site from Senator Baker, so there are a lot of possibilities we are looking into.
      • Following the CDC Director’s comments last night about the importance of getting a flu shot- is the Dept of Health doing early or additional preparations for the flu season that would begin in the fall?
        • We don’t have early preparations and I don’t expect that we would have additional preparations. But we always have very robust preparations for flu season and I am sure they are developing the flu vaccine as we speak and then we will have a very robust push out of the vaccine and the messages surrounding it. It will be particularly important this year, even more important than usual, for people to get the flu vaccine so they are strong enough to be able to deal with a possible coronavirus if they are exposed.
      • Clarification: a county can make the list for consideration to open if they, on average for the past 14 days, had 50 or less new cases per 100,000 residents per day?
        • It isn’t going to be counties that are isolated. So we might have a county where the rest of the region is having significant rates of COVID and they might meet that criteria, we would not open that county. It will be region by region looking at the case counts from each county.
      • Why are daycare centers open but not gyms or schools?
        • If people are going to go back to work in those counties then they are going to need daycare otherwise they won’t be able to go back to work.
      • Since nursing homes are a large percentage of COVID illnesses, would the Governor consider removing those numbers from the 50 per 100,000 count for easing restrictions?
        • No, it will be all places and residents in a certain county. We know that the long-term care living facilities are our most vulnerable populations and we need to do everything we can to protect them. Of course, staff go in and out of those facilities so if there is a hotspot in the facility theoretically a staff member could spread that and it could impact a community. So all of that will be considered.
      • What is the status of the Dept getting antibody tests?
        • We are still continuing to look at antibody tests- there have been a number of different comments by public health officials and a number of different articles about challenges with the antibody tests. So we have to make sure that is it an accurate test and that is has good ‘sensitivity and specificity’ but future things really still need to be learned. For example, one of the common viruses that causes colds is a coronavirus, its not COVID-19, but people as we know can get colds frequently and having that immunity doesn’t seem to last very long. So, how effective are those antibodies at protecting an individual from getting infected? Are they completely ineffective? Are they completely effective? Probably they are going to be somewhat partially effective. And then the other issue will be how long-lived it is. So the utility of the antibody testing is not clear yet so we will be doing further investigations on that.
      • The Governor’s plan suggests when a region goes into the “yellow phase” the Stay at Home order is replaced by “aggressive mitigation” can you articulate what this looks like?
        • So it’s actually going to be “aggressive containment”, so when a region goes from red to yellow it will be doing exactly what I have been describing. It will be watching for symptomatic individuals, doing aggressive testing of those individuals, if a person is positive then they are isolated, extensive contact tracing of their personal contacts, those people are quarantined and we watch for symptoms. So that goes back to the containment strategy that we started with and that is what will be in place as we transition a region from red to yellow.
      • Can you address whether kids camps and kids summer sports will reopen under the yellow guidelines or do these recreations fall under gyms?
        • We have not made that determination yet.
      • When the Stay at Home order ends on May 8th, are we allowed to visit family and friends again as long as it’s not a large gathering and if so, should we wear masks?
        • In the areas that go from red to yellow, the answer would be yes but we do recommend social distancing as much as possible and we would recommend the wearing of masks. And that will be part of the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID from starting to reoccur in those yellow areas.
      • How will contact tracing be done and how will it be funded?
        • We have a plan that we are finalizing about how it will be done. A lot of the work will be done by our absolutely fantastic public health nurses in our county and state health dept centers as well as working with county municipal health depts. But we are also going to be using volunteers and working with hospitals and health systems, so we have a whole strategy that we are finishing up and we will be pleased to release that when it is ready.


National News:

Washington Post:


Local News:


Regular News:


Recurring Resources:


      • Workplace Considerations & Compliance
        When: Monday, April 27 from 3:30-4:30pm

Join us for a webinar featuring Steve Matzura and Austin Wolfe of McNees Wallace & Nurick as they discuss workplace safety measures, employer mandates related to building safety, cleaning measures and employee requirements, and OSHA guidance and compliance.



      • Beyond PPP: Loan Forgiveness & Cash Flow Strategies
        When: Tuesday, April 28 from 3-4pm

In this session, you’ll hear from Ryan Hurst and Bethany Novis, partners in RKL’s Consulting Services Group, who will provide insights and strategies into putting your company in the best possible position for loan forgiveness amid current ambiguity and making informed business decisions around your workforce, revenue planning and operating expenses to protect your company’s short and long-term success.

      • Non-Profit Peer Group – Communications & Marketing
        When: Thursday, April 23 from 1-2pm
        Join your peers for a discussion on best practices and tips to communicate and marketing your organization during the COVID19 pandemic. Featuring Tony Gorick, Lancaster Chamber; Brian Nguyen, Community Action Partnership; Gretchen Lusby, ASSETS.








Food Resources:



  • Free webinar: “Mental Health in a Time of COVID-19: Preparing Leaders to Address the Challenges”
    The Partnership Center, part of the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives of the US Dept. of Health & Human Services, is starting a new webinar series with the goal to help you understand what research tells us may be coming, the perspective of mental health professionals in this moment, and what faith leaders are preparing to address.
    When: Tuesday, April 28 | 12:00 PM
    Read more and register here.
  • Free webinar: “Combating Social Isolation for Seniors during the COVID-19 Pandemic”
    SAMHSA, Administration for Community Living, Veterans Health Administration, and National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging are hosting this meeting for National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day 2020. The meeting will be an open discussion about helping older Americans during this time of social isolation.
    When: Thursday, May 7 | 1:00 – 2:30 PM
    To read more and register, follow this link.