The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania state government as of 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16th.
Department of Health
- Early in the week The Department of Health notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers to stop administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine until at least April 20 following the recommendation to do so from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration. On Thursday it extended this pause until April 24.
- The Department of Health also issued an alert to providers conveying the same message. The alert outlines the medical rationale for the decision and advises providers on symptoms to monitor among patients who have received this vaccine. Find that alert here.
- The Department of Health has made public data shared by skilled nursing facilities through last month’s mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Needs Assessment survey. Data may be downloaded here by facility and by county. These rates will serve as a benchmark and the survey will be conducted quarterly, with the next survey at the end of June. The statewide average facility vaccination rate for residents was 78.84 percent and for staff/contractors was 52.64 percent.
- The Department of Health published its vaccine strategy for long-term-care facilities, which includes three group purchasing organizations (GeriMed, Innovatix, and Managed Health Care Associates, Inc.) and CVS/Omnicare that will supply eligible long-term-care pharmacies with vaccine allocations that may be requested by long-term-care facilities as additional needs arise.
- The Department of Health reports that in March its nursing home surveyors conducted 570 inspections, including 283 complaint investigations of 396 separate nursing homes. Of these, 244 were COVID-19-specific investigations. Learn more about recent nursing home surveys, investigations, and vaccine efforts from this Department of Health news release.
Department of Health – by the numbers
- The daily number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply over the past four days: the highest four-day total since January.
- The number of COVID-19 deaths, which had been declining even amid rising case counts, has risen sharply in the past four days as well.
- For the week from April 2 through April 8 the state’s overall COVID-19 test positivity rate remained the same 9.5 percent it was last week, halting a three-week rise in this important measure.
- Seven counties currently have a positivity rate lower than five percent, down from 10 last week and 17 counties the week before; only one county has a rate greater than 20 percent, the same situation as last week.
- Three counties are currently experiencing low levels of community transmission of COVID-19, down from five last week and six the week before that; 14 counties are experiencing moderate levels of community transmission, down from 17 last week and 26 the week before; and 50 counties are currently experiencing substantial levels of community transmission, up from 46 counties last week and 35 the week before.
- The number of Pennsylvanians hospitalized with COVID-19 has risen 25 percent since April 1; the number in hospital ICUs because of COVID-19 has risen 28 percent since April 1; and the number on ventilators because of COVID-19 has risen 26 percent since April 1.
- Currently, 18 percent of adult ICU beds in the state are unoccupied, as are 12 percent of medical/surgical beds, 11 percent of pediatric ICU beds, 22 percent of pediatric beds, and 32 percent of airborne isolation units.
- Pennsylvania passed the 2.5 million mark of vaccinated residents yesterday and according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, more than 2.6 million Pennsylvanians have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An additional 438,000 people have been vaccinated in Philadelphia, according to the city’s Department of Public Health.
Around the State
- Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler has tested positive for COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms, and is recovering and quarantining at home. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports on Cutler’s illness and its implications for state House operations.
- The state Senate will consider extending a temporary rule that permits members to participate in the chamber’s deliberations remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to PennLive.
- Delaware County has begun offering COVID-19 vaccines to high school students who are 16 years of age and older. The Delaware County Times tells the story.
- Driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lancaster city’s council has joined several other Lancaster County municipalities in expressing interest in the county creating its own health department, Lancaster Online reports.
- Even though Westmoreland County has been hit hard by COVID-19, an area health system reports that vaccine appointments are going unfilled, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- After intervention by members of Philadelphia’s congressional delegation, the FEMA mass vaccination site in the city’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, scheduled to close after April 26, will remain open for an additional month. WHYY tells the story.
- Philadelphia’s health commissioner received his own COVID-19 vaccine; The Philadelphia Inquirer offers instant replay via Twitter. Governor Wolf will receive his next Monday.
- St. Luke’s University Health Network has launched a COVID-19 recovery clinic for COVID-19 long-haulers, according to the Allentown Morning Call.
- Next Monday, Berks County will introduce a hotline for people who are struggling to find vaccine appointments. The Reading Eagle provides the details.