COVID-19 Update: Friday, October 9

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 2:15 p.m. on Friday, October 9.

Pennsylvania Update

Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services has been issued a section 1135 waiver by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  The waiver consists of two parts:  it permits the provision of clinic services without the supervision of a physician or dentist and it permits the provision of inpatient psychiatric services to patients under the age of 21 without the direction of a physician.  The purpose of section 1135 waivers is to give states greater flexibility to serve their Medicaid beneficiaries during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Go here to see the waiver issued to Pennsylvania.

DHS has issued guidance to establish a state-wide protocol to manage situations in which a child care facility must relocate operation due to local education agency decisions to limit access to their facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Department of Health

Department of Health – by the numbers

  • The number of new COVID-19 cases has been in four digits for four days in a row – the first time that has happened in more than four months.
  • The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is up 32 percent since October 1.
  • The number of COVID-19 patients currently breathing with the help of a ventilator is up 53 percent since October 1 and is at its highest level since August 20.
  • Until today, deaths had been up in recent days but not outside the typical range over the past three months.
  • With the new deaths reported today, the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania now exceeds 8300.
  • Hospital bed capacity remains generally strong:  22 percent of adult ICU beds are currently unoccupied, as are 18 percent of medical/surgical beds, 32 percent of pediatric beds, 11 percent of pediatric ICU beds, and 38 percent of airborne isolation unit beds.

Federal Update

Provider Relief Fund

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has published more information about the new terms for repaying Medicare loans the federal government made to providers through Medicare’s Advanced and Accelerated Payment Program.  The new terms include a delayed deadline for beginning repayment, an extended period to make repayment, lower interest rates for those who do not repay their loans on time, and a process for seeking an extension on loan repayment.  Learn more from the following resources:
  • CMS’s announcement of the program’s repayment terms
  • a fact sheet on the program changes
  • an FAQ on the changes

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to its response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Office Hours

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and health care systems to increase hospital capacity, expand the health care workforce, and promote telehealth in Medicare.

Tuesday, October 13 at 5:00 (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6379959
Audio Webcast link:

Tuesday, October 27 at 5:00  (eastern) – dial-in and other information to be announced later.

Nursing Homes

Wednesday, October 14 at 4:30 (eastern)
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1897041 Audio Webcast Link:

Wednesday, October 28 at 4:30 (eastern) – dial-in and other information to be announced later.

American Medical Association

The AMA has introduced new CPT codes for COVID-19 testing and for joint COVID-19/flu testing and other COVID-19-related activities.

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC has published a flowchart for the management of health care workers who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19

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



Filed in Coronavirus, COVID-19.

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