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COVID-19 Update: May 13, 2020

COVID-19 update for Wednesday, May 13 as of 2:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania Update

Governor Wolf

Governor Wolf announced that gender identity, sexual orientation, and expression will be included in the state’s COVID-19 data collection.

Department of Health

The Department of Health announced its plans for distributing 1200 doses of remdesivir that it has received from the federal government.  See its announcement, including links to the department’s distribution formula and a list of the 51 recipient hospitals.

Department of Health Daily Briefing

  • The state’s new COVID-19 case count was down over the past 24 hours but the death count climbed as a result of continued reconciliation of past data.
  • More than 12,400 residents of long-term-care facilities and 1800 employees of those facilities have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • As have more than 4000 health care workers across the state.
  • Secretary Levine announced that the state has distributed more than 1200 doses of remdesivir, a drug that preliminary clinical trials suggest can help people recover from COVID-19 (see link above for the department’s formal announcement). The federal Department of Health and Human Services is managing distribution of the drug among the states and has assured that Pennsylvania will receive more in the future.
  • Pennsylvania now has the laboratory capacity to do much more testing.
  • The state is now able to test those who in the past were considered likely cases of COVID-19 but were not tested because of the scarcity of testing supplies.
  • But while the state’s goal is broad surveillance testing, that is not yet possible.

Department of Human Services

State Board of Medicine

The State Board of Medicine has suspended a regulation requiring physicians to provide paper prescriptions within 72 hours of issuing emergency prescriptions by telephone during the COVID-19 emergency.

Attorney General

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro has announced that his office has opened criminal investigations into “several” nursing homes for possible criminal neglect of patients and residents.

General Assembly

  • House Chamber of the State HouseYesterday the Senate unanimously passed SB 1122, which would appropriate $507 million in federal CARES Act money to state long-term care budget lines. This was added as an amendment to a bill that directed $34 million in CARES Act money to firefighters and EMS service.  Find further information in the fiscal note on the bill.
  • Senate leaders said that in light of the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic and state revenues, they are working on a five-month state budget that would run from July through November and would therefore require additional budget legislation to cover state spending as of December 1, 2020.
  • House Speaker Mike Turzai has introduced HB 2510, the Senior Protection Act, which would spend $500 million in federal CARES Act money to address the spread of COVID-19 in long-term-care facilities. Unveiled earlier this week, the bill focuses on three areas: enhancing testing capabilities, infection control, and advancing clinical practices including the use of telemedicine.  According to the Speaker, this would be accomplished by utilizing Pennsylvania’s academic medical centers (AMC) to ensure greater protection of seniors.
  • The House is expected to return to session on Thursday, May 14.

Federal Update

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for a commercial nurse call system for use by providers for remotely monitoring and communicating with patients on ventilators.

Government Accountability Office

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

FAQ

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Filed in Coronavirus, COVID-19.

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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania