COVID-19 Update: Friday, August 21

The following is the latest information from the state and federal governments as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, August 21.

Pennsylvania Update

Department of Health 

Earlier this week, the Department of Health announced a pilot program for a new COVID-19 exposure mobile app.  In an effort to support the commonwealth’s contact tracing efforts, COVID Alert PA will be available for smartphone downloads beginning in September.  The department is partnering with a number of institutions to develop the mobile app, which will alert users when they have come in close contact with a COVID-19-positive person.

Department of Health – by the numbers

  • The number of new COVID-19 cases has remained relatively steady for the past three weeks.
  • The department continues to report that the number of cases among people between the ages of 19 and 24 exceeds those among people between the ages of 50 and 64 and those 65 years of age and older.  The number of cases among those between 19 and 24 is nearly 38 percent of the total positive tests.
  • More than 9,200 health care workers in the state have contracted COVID-19.
  • The number of COVID-19-caused deaths in Pennsylvania is 7,558. Of these deaths, 5,121 have been nursing facility or personal care home residents.
  • The number of long-term-care facility residents and staff who have contracted COVID-19 now surpasses 24,930.  These cases have occurred in 910 such facilities in 61 of the state’s 67 counties.

 Department of Human Services

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) announced that it has received approval from CMS to allow certain services provided under the Consolidated, Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS), Community Living Waivers (ID/A Waivers) and the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) waivers to be provided in hospital settings regardless of the reason for hospitalization. ODP will be submitting waiver amendments soon to ensuret hat these changes remain effective after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Federal Update

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 

  • CMS had updated its COVID-19 emergency declaration blanket waivers and flexibilities for health care providers. CMS has postponed the September 1, 2020 deadline to submit applications for wage index reclassification to the Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board. The deadline has been pushed back until 15 days after the public display date of the FY 2021 IPPS/LTCH final rule by the Office of the Federal Register. See page 10 for details.
  • CMS has updated its memorandum on key components for  COVID-19 management in dialysis facilities. This update clarifies CMS guidance on dialysis facility patients residing in long-term-care facilities, home dialysis services, and essential procedures for dialysis patients.  View checklist for dialysis facilities here.

Food and Drug Administration

The FDA has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for emergency use of a commercial test to detect nucleocapsid protein antigen to COVID-19 directly from nasal swab specimens collected from individuals who are suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider within the first 12 days of the onset of symptoms. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Resources to Consult

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Main COVID-19 Page

COVID-19 Provider Resources

Press Releases

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Main COVID-19 Page

PA Health Alert Network

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Main COVID-19 Page


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Filed in Coronavirus, COVID-19.

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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania