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, 1,214 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 43,264” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 1,678 cases. 7,297 negative tests. 78 deaths. (According to Dept. of Health website- updated today at 1:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Sec Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 1,214 new cases bringing statewide total to 43,264 in all 67 counties. Approx 2,519 of total cases are in healthcare workers. Approx 7,360 of total cases are associated with 452 long-term living facilities. 1,716 deaths- all have been adults.
      • As of noon today, hospitals are reporting approx. 2,777 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID. 611 of those have required the use of a ventilator. Across our health care system, approx. 47% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds, and nearly 70% of ventilators are still available.
      • We know staying home has been difficult for Pennsylvanians, but one area of particular concern are people suffering from domestic violence and child abuse. If you suspect something is wrong, please say something. Signs of potential abuse and neglect include numerous unexplained injuries and bruises, chronic anxiety and frequent expressed feelings of inadequacy, poor impulse control, and demonstrating abusive behavior or talk. There is help and you are not alone.
        • If you see or suspect a child is being abused, call the Dept of Human Services’ Childline at 1-800-932-0313.
        • If you are experiencing domestic violence and need help, call the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-833-727-2335.
        • And of course, if your life is in immediate danger, please call 911.
      • 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
    • Reporters’ Questions:
      • When we move into Yellow Phase, can libraries, hair dressers, nail salons, and pet groomers reopen?
        • Yes, many stores will be able to reopen, but we still want people to practice social isolation and still want those businesses to follow the guidelines around social isolation and we want people to wear masks.
      • Yesterday, several times you warned against over-emphasizing the 50 case per 100,000 metric, but can you see a scenario where a county or region fails to get to that metric and still gets to go into the Yellow Phase?
        • I think that would be unlikely. We are still looking at our data and will be until the end of the week when we make some announcements for the counties and regions that go from Red to Yellow on May 8th. I think it would be unlikely that a county doesn’t meet that threshold but still is allowed to reopen.
      • A viewer wants to know, if she lives in a county or region that remains closed will she be able to travel to the county or region where she is employed if it opens before her county or region of residence?
        • Yes, there is no limitation of travel in PA and no limitation of travel between states, that is part of living in the democracy of the United States but there is no limitation of travel whatsoever.
      • What can you say to reassure the public that the state’s death toll is close to comprehensive and accurate?
        • I think we have been doing actually a very good job collecting the data from many different sources. This is data from our NEDSS system, which we have talked about needing to update, from our hospitals and health systems, long-term care facilities, county and municipal health department partners, and from the coroners. So again, collecting all of that and reconciling it is a challenge, especially since it’s on a day to day basis but overall I think our epidemiologists are doing a great job.
      • Gov. Wolf earlier today suggested that when doing the reopening process there might be other regions that could be considered other than the Health Dept’s regions. Will Pennsylvanians be provided with benchmarks regarding reopening factors and what factors were failed to meet within a county or region?
        • As I previously mentioned, the Governor has said numerous times that we will not be held to the schema in our Health Regions for the Dept. of Health. We are going to be looking at counties, within regions, that meet quantitative and qualitative factors and then we will be making our decisions and would be very pleased afterwards to discuss why we made those decisions.
      • Another Tuesday spike in the death toll- are you attributing this to a lag in reporting again and is this something we can expect every Tuesday?
        • It has followed that pattern, as it tends to be lower on Monday I think due to a lag in reporting over the weekend and higher on Tuesday. It’s hard for me to predict into the future but it certainly has been a pattern.
      • As parts of the state move into the Yellow Phase, what guidance is there for life-sustaining operations that work out of an office setting, should employees continue to telework or is it safe for employers to mandate they return to their normal settings?
        • Whenever possible, we would like people to continue to telework. But if businesses do need people to come back to work, in an office, they can do that. But we will ask them to follow the business guidance that has been released: we want people to wear masks, we want people to be 6ft apart and of course, be hand washing and other measures that we talk about every day to try to prevent the spread.
      • Philly’s Health Commissioner said yesterday that it looks like the city is past the peak of the epidemic- do you think Southeastern PA is past the peak?
        • I think that it is past the peak, we will see and the virus determines the timetable, but as we look at the trends in data it does seem that we are past the peak. But as we start to reopen, we are going to have to be very careful that we don’t see outbreaks and that we are able to deal with those very quickly to deal with the spread of COVID.
      • What kind of lead time will you give areas for reopening? For example, if you are planning to open an area on May 8th, will they be told a few days prior to give businesses a chance to prepare?
        • The working plan is that we will be able to make an announcement on Friday May 1st for regions and counties to go from Red to Yellow on May 8th.
      • Earlier today the Gov. said the state hasn’t developed a benchmark for adequate testing- can you talk about what considerations go into developing a benchmark?
        • We are going to be looking at developing a benchmark number in terms of the number of tests. It is just a number though, there will be a number of statistical and public health measures we will be looking at. As we make our announcement on Friday, we will have a benchmark for testing that we will be shooting for, it will be aspirational that we would like to get to this much testing in those areas.
      • What needs to happen before PA can legitimately test for COVID that the public will have confidence that it is safe to go back to normal?
        • I think as we go from Red to Yellow, which is not Green it’s not ‘normal activity’, I think the residents of those counties and regions should have confidence that we are and have developed a plan in terms of case investigation and contact tracing, we are in the final touches in terms of our laboratory plan, so we will be able to put all of that out by Friday as we choose which counties and regions will open. So I do think that the Commonwealth and the residents do have confidence in the Gov. and the Gov.’s plans.
      • Regarding the PA Supreme Court’s order today about court proceedings, if state health officials still have a county in Red or Yellow status can and should the court system in that county start performing additional functions?
        • The court system is a whole separate branch of govt, so we don’t control the court system. But I know that the Office of General Counsel has regular discussions with the Courts about public health implications of their activities. I can say that in a Red area, our recommendation would be that they continue to keep the courts from having public activities and sessions and hearings and stay as remote as possible.

PA Supreme Courts:


National News:

Washington Post:

Good News!


Local 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. 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.


  • Lancaster Chamber:
    • Website updated daily:
    • Unemployment Compensation Details:
      • Nonprofit Peer Group/Developing Lancaster: Fundraising during COVID-19: Moving Beyond The Immediate Crisis [Virtual Peer Group]
        When: Thursday, April 30 from 3:30-5pm
        Join Dani Beam, expert fundraising consultant and facilitator for a special 1.5 hour Developing Lancaster Webinar.  This session will address what you can do NOW to recoup fundraising losses as well as prepare you to hit the ground running once the economy opens again. The discussion will focus on how to: Analyze previous year’s fundraising data so you know where to focus to get your best ROI moving forward; Prioritize and segment your donor base so that you know what mediums and messages work best with each group; Craft a compelling appeal and learn how to ask donors about their ability to give to your organization in this new climate; Create tactics to help you replace event revenue.
      • COVID-19: The Provider Perspective And What's Next
        WHEN: Friday, May 1 from 8:30-9:30am
        As we have endured weeks of social distancing, there are some signs that the worst may be behind us. But, what does that mean? How do we transition back to a more normal existence? What do employers need to know as they work to keep their employees safe while still meeting the demands of their business? What does care look like if you need healthcare services or are about to deliver a child? Join us and the Penn Medicine HealthWorks leadership team from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health as we catalogue changes made and the reasons behind the changes. 
    • Past webinars are listed on the Chamber’s site listed above!



  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health:





Homelessness (via PAVOAD):

  • The Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) has received notice of the award of the first allocation of Emergency Solutions Grant program funds appropriated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) - ESG-CV funds. DCED’s priority for the use of these ESG funds will be to assist homeless providers and communities in preparing for, preventing the spread of, and responding to the coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance and to support additional homeless assistance and homelessness prevention activities to mitigate the impacts created by coronavirus. DCED will award ESG CARES funding to support applicants who will work to end or prevent homelessness quickly and as efficiently as possible for all vulnerable populations. The Emergency Solutions Grant – CARES (ESG-CV) Application and Guidelines are available for review at this link. The Electronic Single Application (ESA) closes at 4:00 pm on Monday, June 1, 2020. Please contact Stacy Hawthorne at if you need assistance.



  • The Census Open Innovations Lab (COIL) is currently running the “Get Out the Count” Video Challenge, where participants are encouraged to submit their most engaging, impactful and informative videos about the 2020 Census. The deadline for submission is now May 7th, with a possible $30,000 grand prize, along with $10,000 for the runner up and $10,000 for the best student entry. CPEP is encouraging staff to reach out to partners to participate, especially those who may have already created videos. More info can be found here: