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COVID-19 Update: Thursday, February 11

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, February 11.

Pennsylvania Update

The Wolf Administration

Governor Wolf has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force with administration representatives and “…members from each legislative caucus who can share vaccine information and communicate issues and solutions expediently on behalf of and to the broader General Assembly.”  According to a news release from the governor’s office, “Task force members will represent their caucus’s point-of-view and work to streamline conversations to focus and drive issues of importance.  Wolf Administration members will serve as task force members with the subject matter expertise to listen, collaborate and provide information, answers and suggestions to solve problems in a timely manner.”  Members of the task force are co-chairs Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam and director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Randy Padfield; for the Senate Democratic caucus, Senator Art Haywood; for the House Democratic caucus, Representative Bridget Kosierowski; for the Senate Republican caucus, Senator Ryan Aument; and for the House Republican caucus, Representative Tim O’Neal.

Department of Health

The Department of Health has updated its guide to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which now includes a “Your Turn” feature to help Pennsylvanians learn when they will be eligible to receive a vaccine.

Financial paperworkDepartment of Health – by the numbers

  • The number of new daily cases has continued to decline in recent days.
  • The daily death toll remains very high although it, too, is generally declining.
  • The numbers of Pennsylvanians hospitalized with COVID-19, in ICU beds because of the virus, and on ventilators are all about 60 percent of what they were three weeks ago.
  • Currently, 21 percent of adult ICU beds in the state are unoccupied, as are 16 percent of medical/surgical beds, 11 percent of pediatric ICU beds, 26 percent of pediatric beds, and 34 percent of airborne isolation units.  As is usually the case, these numbers tend to decline later in the week.
  • As of February 11 the state’s vaccine dashboard shows that 791,000 Pennsylvanians have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 335,000 have received both doses of vaccine.  These numbers do not include Philadelphia, which operates its own COVID-19 vaccination program.
  • The vaccine dashboard shows vaccine totals by county.

Department of State

To expand the number of health care professionals who can administer COVID-19 vaccines, the Department of State has temporarily suspended certain licensure requirements to enable practitioners from other states to administer COVID-19 vaccines without licensure in Pennsylvania provided that they hold a license in good standing in their home jurisdiction and meet the requirements of the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act

Around the State

  • Despite the declining number of new COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania, on Tuesday Allegheny County reported more new cases – 405 – than it had on any day during the previous two weeks, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • More the norm is the situation in Westmoreland County, which has been a COVID-19 hotspot in recent months but is now averaging only about 30 percent of the new cases it was a month ago, the Tribune-Review adds.
  • During the week of February 3, Montour County led Pennsylvania in COVID-19 vaccines administered per 1000 population with 79, followed by Cameron County (56 per 1000 population), Lackawanna (50), Northumberland (45), and Columbia (45).  Pulling up the rear in the state were Pike County (14), Bradford County (13), Fulton County (10), and Potter County (6).  The information, from Lancaster Online, does not include Philadelphia, which operates its own vaccination and data collection program.  The following is a complete list:
County Shots per 1,000 people Feb. 3-9
Montour 79
Cameron 56
Lackawanna 50
Northumberland 46
Columbia 45
Centre 42
Luzerne 41
Forest 41
Butler 38
Clarion 38
Mercer 37
Lehigh 37
Northampton 36
Sullivan 36
Armstrong 35
Mifflin 34
Union 34
Juniata 32
Huntingdon 31
Jefferson 31
Schuylkill 31
Lycoming 31
Clinton 30
Wayne 30
Blair 29
Clearfield 29
Westmoreland 29
Allegheny 28
Crawford 28
Wyoming 28
Carbon 27
Cambria 27
Snyder 27
Elk 26
Delaware 26
Montgomery 26
Franklin 26
Lancaster 25
Susquehanna 25
Lawrence 25
Greene 25
Cumberland 23
Erie 23
Bucks 23
Fayette 22
Chester 22
Washington 21
Indiana 21
York 21
Tioga 21
Warren 21
Somerset 19
McKean 19
Berks 19
Monroe 18
Lebanon 17
Venango 17
Dauphin 16
Beaver 16
Bedford 16
Adams 15
Perry 15
Pike 14
Bradford 13
Fulton 10
Potter 6

 

  • The National Football League has offered the stadiums of all of its teams to serve as mass vaccination sites.  This idea has been received with limited enthusiasm in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

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

Federal Update

The White House

  • The White House has announced the membership of its COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.  See this White House fact sheet to learn more about the task force, its objectives, and its members.
  • The White House has announced the introduction of a community health center vaccination program next week, with doses of vaccines to be sent directly to such facilities, and an increase in the supply of vaccines to be shared with states, tribes, and territories.  Learn more from a White House fact sheet.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires Medicare Part B to cover beneficiary cost-sharing for provider visits when a COVID-19 diagnostic test is administered or ordered.  CMS has updated the list of codes (note:  this link leads to a zip file that can be downloaded) that physicians and non-physician practitioners can use with the Cost-Sharing (CS) modifier.  Go here to learn more.
  • CMS has revised the MLN Matters article “Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) Response to the Public Health Emergency on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)” to clarify billing instructions in the skilled nursing facility benefit period waiver – provider information section.
  • CMS has modified the previously extended deadline for third quarter 2020 submission of Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) data and extended the submission deadline for electronic clinical quality measures for acute-care hospitals and prospective payment system-exempt cancer hospitals.  Learn more about how this affects specific reporting requirements and their changing deadlines.

HHS and CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

HHS Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice

HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response sponsors COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice that are interactive virtual learning sessions that seek to create a peer-to-peer learning network in which clinicians from the U.S. and abroad who have experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes.  These webinar topics are covered every week:

  • EMS:  Patient Care and Operations (Mondays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
  • Critical Care:  Lifesaving Treatment and Clinical Operations (Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
  • Emergency Department:  Patient Care and Clinical Operations (Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)

Go here for information about signing up to participate in the sessions and go here for access to materials and video recordings of past sessions.

CMS Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information about the agency’s 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 participants an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls

Tuesday, February 23 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  2528725

Audio Webcast link:  go here

Tuesday, March 16 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  4177586

Audio Webcast link:  go here

Tuesday, April 6 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  2769397

Audio Webcast link:  go here

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Filed in Coronavirus, COVID-19.

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