The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 4.
Governor Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced that Pennsylvania will use the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate teachers and school staff members. Learn more from this news release from the governor’s office and a Department of Education web page on the new vaccination program.
Governor Wolf has signed House Bill 326, which permits the Pennsylvania National Guard, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, to develop plans for the establishment and operation of regional sites for community distribution and administration of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, and vaccines for COVID-19. See the Wolf administration’s announcement about the bill signing.
Department of Health
The Department of Health announced that its Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams (RCAT) will continue to operate through May 31, 2021 rather than the anticipated end date of February 28, 2021. The RCAT program is the successor to the state’s Regional Response Health Collaborative Program (RRHC), which expired at the end of 2020 and was created to bring together established hospitals and health systems with long-term-care facilities struggling with COVID-19 challenges.
Department of Health – by the numbers
- The number of new COVID-19 cases has been remained steady in recent days, as has the daily death toll.
- The numbers of Pennsylvanians hospitalized with COVID-19, in hospital ICU units because of COVID-19, and on ventilators because of COVID-19 continues to remain steady as well.
- Currently, 22 percent of adult ICU beds in the state are unoccupied, as are 15 percent of medical/surgical beds, 12 percent of pediatric ICU beds, 24 percent of pediatric beds, and 37 percent of airborne isolation units.
- As of March 4 the state’s vaccine dashboard shows that one million Pennsylvanians have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 826,000 have received both doses of a vaccine. These numbers do not include Philadelphia, which operates its own COVID-19 vaccination program.
Pennsylvania Revenue Collection
Pennsylvania General Fund revenue collections for February were $2.68 billion – $509.7 million or 23.4 percent above the Independent Fiscal Office’s (IFO) projections. According to the IFO, the increase was largely due to a temporary shift in personal income tax collections. Fiscal-year-to-date collections are $23.87 billion, which is $267.5 million or 1.1 percent above estimate.
Around the State
- COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen 25 percent in Allegheny County in the past week, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
- The Tribune–Review also reports that “The Western Pennsylvania Regional Chief Medical Officer Consortium, made up of 12 hospital leaders in the region, released a letter Thursday endorsing the benefits of the newly-authorized one-dose [Johnson & Johnson] shot as a way to prevent covid-19.” Among those who signed the letter were Dr. Donald Yealy from UPMC, Dr. Donald Whiting from Allegheny Health Network, and Dr. Carol Fox from Excela Health System.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has opened a mass vaccination site in Philadelphia. The new site is expected to administer about 47,000 vaccines a week, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Resources to Consult
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention