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 Agriculture: “Secretary of Agriculture: Farmers Market Season is Here, Markets Prepared to Safely Serve Pennsylvanians Amid COVID-19” :


Dept of Labor & Industry: “L&I Offers Six Tips to Get Unemployment Compensation Benefits Quicker” :


Dept of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,397 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 45,763” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 1,765 cases. 7,590 negative tests. 104 deaths. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:45pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Sec Levine summary: “Stay Calm. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”
      • As of 12am this morning, 1,397 new cases bringing statewide total to 45,763 cases in all 67 counties. Approx. 2,753 of total cases are in healthcare workers. Approx 8,112 of total cases are associated 468 long-term care facilities. 2,292 deaths- all have been adults.
      • As of noon today, hospitals are reporting that approx. 2,706 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID and 562 of those patients are currently on a ventilator. Across our healthcare system approx. 40% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds, and nearly 70% of ventilators are still available.
      • We continue to push out PPE to critical care workers across the state. Since the beginning of April, we have made 1,378 shipments of PPE to nursing and personal care homes. Since the beginning of this outbreak we have provided our healthcare workers and first responders with more than 4 million N95 masks, 241,000 hospital gowns, 1.3 million surgical masks, 1.3 million pairs of gloves, and nearly 80,000 face shields.
      • 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:
      • How did the Health Dept. develop the 50 cases/100,000 residents metric?
        • We were looking for a metric/metrics that will provide information about the change over time, in the past 2 weeks, of cases in counties and regions. But it is not the only consideration, we will be looking at other data and modeling as we make our decisions.
      • When the state is ready to move to the Green phase, will bars and restaurants have restrictions imposed on them or will we be back to ‘business as usual’?
        • Right now we are laser focused on counties and regions going from Red to Yellow so we have not made any specific plans about going to Green yet.
      • Since the President has eliminated social distancing guidelines, what will PA use going forward? And will it change based on the 3 phases of opening? 
        • The Stay at Home orders remain, of course there will be change, as we have been discussing, as counties go from Red to Yellow and then in the future from Yellow to Green.
      • When an area moves to Yellow, is that a signal for all types of businesses to resume? Or will there be some types of businesses that will remain closed?
        • We have talked about this, there will be some businesses that remain closed, such as businesses where large groups gather. But we will have more information about “Life in the Yellow Zone” so to speak, tomorrow.
      • Yesterday, we saw an enormous leap in the number of deaths reported. To your knowledge, are there still large numbers of deaths being reconciled in the data systems and should Pennsylvanians expect to see another spike?
        • As we have talked about, we are collecting data from many systems and one of the challenges has been reconciling all that data to present the totals to you. It is possible as we are going forward that as we do another reconciliation that we will see another increase in terms of the number of cases and we will explain it that way.
      • We have spoken with hospital systems that say they have the capacity to do more tests but are limiting tests to those with symptoms. Is the Dept. aware that hospitals have extra capacity and should they begin testing asymptomatic patients?
        • At the moment we are recommending testing symptomatic patients, but we have liberalized our criteria significantly. Previously we were recommending only specific groups but we have liberalized that now to anyone with symptoms. We are aware that our lab in Exton and our hospitals and health systems have capacity and are encouraging anyone with symptoms get tested. The one area that asymptomatic people will be tested is before elective surgeries that we talked about earlier this week.
      • Is Remdesivir a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19? Explain what it does more effectively than any other remedy to date.
        • So this medication was developed for treatment of Ebola, it is an anti-viral (Ebola is a virus, a completely different type of virus) but it has been tested on patients with COVID. There is a study now that shows it can be effective in patients. A ‘game-changer’ is probably not what I would say, but it is promising. Of course, in science and medicine more studies need to be done to see how effective it is, which patients should be used, what dose should be used, how long it should be used for, all of that still needs to be determined but it is very promising.
      • If there is a resurgence of COVID in the fall, what ways might you prepare different based on the lessons learned this spring?
        • One of the challenges this spring, as we discussed before, were getting testing from the CDC and the federal govt. in Feb and into the beginning of March. So we are expanding testing as we have talked about, we have more capacity at our lab, as do the hospitals and health system and the commercial labs. We had a great phone call with the federal govt. a few days ago with the Assistant Sec. of Health as well as the CDC and the FDA about all the different components of testing: the swabs, the media for the viral test tubes, the platforms for testing and extraction, all the different aspects of that. They are going to be shipping us swabs and the test media and gave us information about how we are going to be able to access the other materials for testing. We are very pleased testing is becoming more available and we are going to be using that as we roll out our schema going from Red to Yellow. In the fall, we are hoping that even more testing is available. We have been discussing this with the Governor on a regular basis, from an aspirational view if we have much more testing, how would we use that to deal with, and hopefully prevent a surge in the fall and we are developing those plans now.
      • We are seeing a lot of misinformation on social media. Do you have any advice on how to effectively share the correct information when so much misinformation is already out there?
        • It is challenging and we know social media can be difficult in terms of the truth of the info. But you can go to our website to get the accurate info.
      • How are healthcare providers and medical facilities following the Dept.’s mandate of including race and ethnicity data in their tests?
        • It is very important, I and the Governor have called on those facilities to include all of that information when they report to us. We are doing better, in terms of facilities and labs reporting that data but we are not there yet.
      • You mentioned working with hospitals, counties, and municipalities to bolster state contact-tracing staff. Will you be hiring lay people and if people are interested in helping can they do so and how can they sign up?
        • We are looking to hire people, we are going to have more specific info about that soon.
      • What impact do you see this money (the state loans to hospitals announced today) having on health systems and how quickly?
        • I think it is going to be extremely helpful and of course the federal money is also going to hospitals and health systems to help keep them afloat. Many of them are going to start having elective procedures and operations that is a large part of their revenue, so we want to do everything we can to help our very important hospitals and health systems to stay afloat and take care of patients.


National News:

Washington Post:


Recurring Resources:


  • Lancaster Chamber:
    • Website updated daily:
      • 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!







US Census:

  • Digital Action Weekend May 1-3
    • We have reached an important milestone in the 2020 Census: More than half of the households in our nation have responded – that’s nearly 80 million responses!
    • We aim to count everyone accurately while we support efforts to protect the health and safety of the American public and the Census Bureau team.
    • For this reason we are encouraging all partners, influencers, community leaders, and trusted voices to join us during a Digital Action Weekend, May 1-3, 2020. Please use #2020Census and/or #Censo2020 when posting on all of your social platforms.


Hunger Free News:

  • (4/24) Caryn Earl from PA Department of Agriculture just shared good news from the USDA.
    • The Disaster Household Distribution program (using all streams of TEFAP – Entitlement, Bonus, and Trade Mitigation) through May 26, 2020;  and
    • The waiver of the requirement to collect self-declaration of need forms for SFPP through June 30, 2020.
  • Through its innovative, existing infrastructure built through participation in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus Program (PASS), the Fill A Glass With Hope fresh milk program, and the MidAtlantic Regional Produce Cooperative (MARC), the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is well equipped to handle more fresh produce, dairy products, and meat that will be provided through this new partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture.
    • These new "Farmers to Families Food Box Program" boxes will be provided in addition to the current Crisis Response Boxes.
    • Please feel free to share this widely. We're posting this on the HFLC website, as well.