The following is the latest coronavirus information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 1:30 p.m. on Friday, September 18.
A federal court has ruled that parts of Governor Wolf’s orders closing down aspects of life and commerce in the state in response to the COVID-19 emergency were unconstitutional. Find the entire court decision in this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article that also summarizes the decision, its implications, and reactions to it.
Governor Wolf called on the General Assembly to provide an additional $225 million in CARES Act funding for the state’s COVID-19 hazard pay program to support front-line workers risking their health to continue working in life-sustaining industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Health
- The Department of Health has issued guidance for individuals who have had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Following up on its guidance released last week on compassionate care access to skilled nursing facilities, the Department of Health has posted a fact sheet on compassionate care, a comparison between regular visiting and compassionate care visiting, and an infographic showing these differences.
- The Department of Health issued a health alert providing recommendations and considerations for point-of-care antigen testing in nursing homes.
Department of Health – by the numbers
- This week’s joint news release from Governor Wolf and the Department of Health revealed that during the week of September 4 to September 10 the number of new COVID-19 cases fell 8.9 percent but the state-wide rate of positive tests rose from 4.0 to 4.2 percent.
- Counties with especially high positivity rates are Columbia (13.4 percent), Indiana (10.7 percent), Juniata (10.3 percent), and Centre (9.2 percent), and these are also the counties the state believes are experiencing the highest rate of community transmission.
- For the past week the number of daily cases has differed significantly from day to day, from some of the state’s highest to some of its lowest numbers in the past six weeks.
- The continued high numbers are driven in large part by major increases in the number of young people between the ages of 19 and 24 who are contracting COVID-19. In southeastern Pennsylvania, for example, nearly five percent of COVID-19 cases fell in this age group in April; in September so far, that number has risen to nearly 32 percent. The trends are similar in other parts of the state except in the north central part of the state, where the proportion of 19-24-year-olds contracting COVID-19 rose from seven percent of cases in April to 71 percent this month so far, and in northeastern Pennsylvania, where the number of people in this age group diagnosed with COVID-19 rose from six percent of that region’s total in April to 39 percent in September.
- Despite this, the number of Pennsylvanians currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and the number of such patients breathing with the help of a ventilator are lower than they have been since the spring of 2020.
- More than 10,200 health care workers in the state have contracted COVID-19.
- 20 percent of the beds in Pennsylvania’s acute-care hospitals are currently unoccupied, as are 25 percent of adult ICU beds, 16 percent of pediatric ICU beds, 38 percent of pediatric beds, and 40 percent of airborne isolation rooms.
Resources to Consult
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention