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:


State Government:

General CoVid resources:


Dept of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 885 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 42,050” :
  • Link to Statewide map of testing sites:
  • COVID-19 Data: (now available at zip code-level data)
  • Lancaster Stats: 1,633 cases. 7,125 negative tests. 75 deaths. (According to Dept. of Health website- updated today at 12:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Secretary Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 885 new cases bringing statewide total to 42,050 in all 67 counties. Approx 2,394 of total cases are in healthcare workers. Approx. 737 of total cases are associated 441 long-term care facilities. 1,597 deaths- all have been adults.
      • As of noon today, hospitals are reporting approx. 2,799 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID. 615 of those hospitalized require the use of a ventilator. Across our healthcare system, approx. 47% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds, and nearly 70% of our ventilators are still available.
      • Today we released guidance for hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities to resume elective surgeries, procedures, and admissions. We know that many Pennsylvanians have had to delay important elective surgeries- using this guidance, these procedures and admissions can move forward as long as they do not hamper the facility’s ability to respond to a COVID emergency in that area.
      • 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:
      • Is the average for the reopening metric, an average for a county or for the whole region?
        • It will be in the counties- but I don’t want to emphasize this metric too much. How to calculate the metric is on our website. So we will be looking at the counties and then we will be looking at the regions, as those are our healthcare regions for the Dept. of Health. But as the Governor mentioned today, we will not be held to any specific schema. We will not be looking at multiple factors as we determine which counties can go from ‘red’ to ‘yellow’.
      • What is “enough” contact-tracing and testing? Are there specific numbers or metrics to determine what is enough to go from red to yellow to green?
        • I don’t have a specific number, we are going to be looking globally at our ability to do testing. We are going to be looking to expand testing through hospitals, health systems, and other medical providers in that area. Possibly a mass testing site and possibly even a mobile testing site.
      • Several county officials have planned formal requests to be moved to a different region for reopening purposes- how would the state handle those requests?
        • We would be glad to take any requests and discuss all those different options, again, we are not going to be specifically held to the regions on a map. We are going to be making some informed choices about regions and the counties.
      • How many business complaint forms have been filed [about recent guidelines] since its launch and the response to some state lawmakers is that its too much government ‘big brother’ imposing itself on small businesses?
        • I don’t have a specific number about the number of complaints- I actually believe that a lot of the information that we have received has been rather positive in terms of our mitigation efforts. We, at no time, want to be ‘big brother’. We really have been working, the last 6-7 weeks, on the mitigation efforts in order to best protect Pennsylvanians. We have seen the results from other states and other countries and know that the best way to prevent the spread is through our mitigation efforts. But now starting on May 8th, we are ready to begin the reopening starting with specific regions across PA.
      • Can you detail the role hospitals will play in the reopening?
        • Hospitals will play a couple of different roles. First, they have to have the ability to take care of COVID patients and respond to an outbreak if we find that. In addition, we are going to be working with hospital personnel on case investigations and contact-tracing. So very important roles for our hospitals and health systems as this process proceeds.
      • Will the administration be releasing a map or list with each county or region’s 14-day case count? If not, is there another way for the public to access this historical information for daily new case counts within the past 14 days? 
        • For the regions that we open, we haven’t made that official decision yet but that seems reasonable for those regions that are going from red to yellow. But we are not going to give a statewide, county-specific map about that, people can calculate that from our website.
      • Can you clarify which type of businesses will be permitted to open in the yellow phase?
        • Many businesses will be able to open but some will not. We are not going to be opening restaurants outside of curbside delivery, bars, or large venues like movie theaters or any type of concerts. But many other businesses will be able to open. We still need to remain vigilant- we need to be careful about the spread and we still want people to wear masks, to practice as much social distancing as they can, wash their hands, etc.
      • Some people are struggling to get accurate information about their loved one’s health inside nursing homes. Do you plan to name specific nursing homes with outbreaks as other states have?
        • We are considering that. We have to take into account many different factors like patient privacy and confidentiality and the functioning of the facility versus the people who want to know. Really it’s the responsibility of the facilities to be notifying loved ones and that’s where the primary responsibility lies, but we will be considering other measures to make sure that families get the information they need.
      • Do you have any updates on testing supplies and chemicals that are need to reopen but are in short supply in the state?
        • We are doing somewhat better in terms of our supply of the chemicals and reagents to do testing.  That includes the ability to do more testing at our lab in Exton. In addition, hospitals and health systems will have the ability to do more testing- in fact one of the things we are asking hospitals to do is if they schedule someone for the elective procedures we talked about, is test them for COVID-19 beforehand and all of that data will be really useful for us. So our facilities are doing better in terms of supplies, what we really want is a consistent supply chain so we know that that will continue. We had discussions with the federal govt yesterday about that as well as working with the manufacturers of the testing supplies themselves to ensure that it is a consistent, reliable supply chain so we can continue to expand testing.
      • Gov. Wolf issued a tweet regarding the Class of 2020 - is he saying that no in-person graduations are permitted in the state?
        • I am not specifically familiar with that tweet but we know that school has been cancelled for the rest of the school year and we are not going to allow large gatherings, even in yellow zones, so I think that’s a fair assumption is that graduations will have to be remote. Large groups of people will not be able to gather for those ceremonies and it’s a real shame. But this is a global pandemic and we have to take precautions.
      • The Dept. is no longer counting probable deaths in its totals, is it still counting probable cases? And if so, what happens when someone whose case is probable dies before a test can be performed?
        • We are counting probable cases and its approx. 1% of our total so its not a very large number. If that patient, who is a probable case, dies we are including that case in our death total. But we are not including the separate category of probable deaths and we have no intent to do that in the near future.
      • What is the significance of two or more consecutive days without reports of COVID deaths? Does that mean we are in better shape in getting closer to reopening?
        • We need to look at trends over time, each day’s results we take seriously but we are looking for trends over time. So consistent decreases in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is a very good sign but we need to continue to watch the daily data.
      • How much does the discovery that race data has only been reported in 1/3 of cases, call into question all previously reported lab data about other health issues in the state and what is being done to enforce this data is properly reported in the future.
        • It has been a challenge to get race data in terms of our reporting. That became very evident when we were reporting the amount of lead poisoning in children and we have made some specific efforts to make sure we get that data for lead toxicity and we are making those specific efforts in terms of COVID. In the future, when we have the opportunity, we are actually in the process of updating our system, from NEDSS which requires manual input to a more computerized system, I am hoping that will make it easier for us to get that data. We were kind of in the middle of that, when we had to put it on hold for COVID, so when we have the opportunity to go back to that I am hoping that will improve our ability to get that very important data.


National News:

Washington Post:



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. In these times of uncertainty, our community seeks answers, reassurance and trusted sources of information. Creating this new site brings together multiple trusted voices from agencies to individuals providing daily updates of information needed to thrive amidst our daily strife.


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  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health: