COVID-19 Update: May 11, 2020

COVID-19 update for Monday, May 11 as of 2:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania Update

Governor Wolf

Governor Wolf held a news conference during which he spoke about the state’s need to stay the course in the fight against COVID-19 and responded to the plans of certain Pennsylvania county officials to move their counties to the yellow phase of reopening on their own.  See his remarks here.

Department of Health

The Department of Health has posted revised guidance on COVID-19 for dental services.  The guidance revises past business closure orders and removes the prohibition against elective (non-urgent, non-emergency) dental procedures under specific conditions.

The department has posted a health alert with information about pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a condition potentially associated with COVID-19.  The alert calls for hospitals to report to the Department of Health any patients meeting clinical criteria consistent with this condition regardless of COVID-19 testing results.

Department of Health Daily Briefing

  • Secretary Levine reported 543 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This is the lowest new case count in Pennsylvania since late March and only about half the number of new cases reported in recent days.  The Secretary warned, however, that case counts can be low the day after a holiday, noting that yesterday was mother’s day.
  • Among Pennsylvanians who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, more than 13,000 live or work in 540 long-term-care facilities located in 44 of the state’s 67 counties.
  • 3790 health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Sixty-eight percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state have been among residents of long-term-care facilities.
  • Starting today, Rite Aid is opening nine new drive-through testing sites in eastern Pennsylvania at which people can be tested without charge. These new sites are in addition to six similar Rite Aid sites already operating elsewhere in the state.
  • After receiving guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the state will begin releasing facility-specific data on COVID-19 cases in long-term-care facilities later this week.
  • The Secretary said that the department should have information later this week about a plan for periodic testing at long-term-care facilities.
  • The state Department of Health has begun discussing with officials in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties the metrics it might employ to determine when it might be appropriate to begin reopening those areas.
  • The state has not yet begun developing criteria for moving counties or regions from the yellow phase to the green phase.

Federal Update

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has announced its allocation plan for the distribution of the prescription drug remdesivir to treat patients with COVID-19. The initial shipments were to Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and New Jersey.  The drug is being shipped to state health departments, which will decide how it will be distributed among hospitals.
  • HHS will base future distribution of remdesivir on hospitals’ active COVID-19 cases. For this reason, it is asking hospitals log on to the COVID-19 Web Portal at, using the same login information they recently used to provide year-to-date coronavirus-related admissions.  Once logged in, hospitals are asked to provide the number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and of those admissions, the number of currently hospitalized patients requiring placement in an intensive care unit as of May 10 or the date they are submitting this data, up to the submission deadline of 8:00 pm ET on Tuesday, May 12.  Hospitals will be asked to provide this information weekly so HHS can adjust to the changing national need for remdesivir.  Hospitals will receive additional information about future submissions later this week.  Find additional help about HHS’s teletracking portal here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has updated its compendium of information about COVID-19 emergency declaration blanket waivers for health care providers. Changes include:
  • Expanded ability for hospitals to offer long-term-care services (swing beds) (p. 7).
  • Waiving of certain eligibility criteria for sole-community hospitals (p. 10) and Medicare-dependent hospitals (p. 10).
  • Reduced training requirements for long-term-care facility and nursing facility feeding assistants (p. 18).
  • Expanded scope of responsibilities for occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists working for home health agencies (p. 19).
  • Changes in service delivery requirements for end-stage renal dialysis providers (p. 24).
  • Life-safety code waivers for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and others (p. 26).

CMS Stakeholder Engagement Calls

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern)

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 healthcare systems to:

  • Increase Hospital Capacity – CMS Hospitals Without Walls;
  • Rapidly Expand the Healthcare Workforce;
  • Put Patients Over Paperwork; and
  • Further Promote Telehealth in Medicare

Tuesday, May 12th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820;

Access Passcode: 8968295

Link to live audio webcast

Thursday, May 14th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820;

Access Passcode: 5688374

Link to live audio webcast

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 (Fridays at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern)

Lessons from the Front Lines  calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.

This week’s Lessons from the Front Lines:

Friday, May 15th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 877-251-0301;

Access Code: 8983296

Link to live audio webcast

Weekly COVID-19 Care Site-Specific Calls

CMS hosts weekly calls for certain types of organizations to provide targeted updates on the agency’s latest COVID-19 guidance. One to two leaders in the field also share best practices with their peers. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters if time allows.

Home Health and Hospice (Tuesdays at 3:00 PM Eastern)

Tuesday, May 12th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820;

Access Passcode: 9503927

Link to live audio webcast

Nursing Homes (Wednesdays at 4:30 PM Eastern)

Wednesday, May 13th at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820;

Access Passcode: 2675207

Link to live audio webcast

Dialysis Organizations (Wednesdays at 5:30 PM Eastern)

Wednesday, May 13th at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820;

Access Passcode: 6772827

Link to live audio webcast

Nurses (Thursdays at 3:00 PM Eastern)

Thursday, May 14th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820;

Access Passcode: 4279137

Link to live audio webcast

Past Stakeholder Engagement Calls

Find links to audio versions of past stakeholder calls here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

Department of Labor

The Department of Labor has provided additional guidance to states on the federal pandemic unemployment compensation program. See its announcement and explanation here and the formal guidance itself here.

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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