The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28.
State and local agencies are launching a multi-faceted approach to bringing COVID-19 vaccines to Pennsylvanians who cannot leave their homes, the Wolf administration explains in a news release.
Department of Health
- The Department of Health has notified all COVID-19 vaccine providers that the pause in administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine has been lifted. Learn more in this news release.
- The Department of Health has updated its recommendations for COVID-19 treatment options to reflect changes in use authorizations issued by the FDA.
- The Department of Health has updated its public health recommendations for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The Department of Health has updated its mask guidance to reflect recent changes announced by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find an announcement about the updated guidance here.
- The Department of Health announced that its COVID-19 testing sites in Delaware, Monroe, and Northampton counties have been extended. For dates, hours, and locations, see this news release.
Department of Health – by the numbers
- The daily number of new COVID-19 cases, while still very high, has fallen slightly in the past few days. To date, more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians have contracted COVID-19.
- The number of COVID-19 deaths, which had been declining even amid rising case counts, has risen slightly over the past two weeks. So far, more than 26,000 Pennsylvanians have died from COVID-19.
- For the week from April 16 through April 22 the state’s overall COVID-19 test positivity rate was 8.6 percent, down from 9.6 percent last week and ending a three-week run of increases.
- Six counties have a positivity rate lower than five percent, up from four last week; no counties have a positivity rate greater than 20 percent, down from one the three past weeks.Three counties are currently experiencing low levels of community transmission of COVID-19, the same as the past two weeks; 11 counties are experiencing moderate levels of community transmission, up from nine last week but less than the 14 of two weeks ago; and 53 counties are currently experiencing substantial levels of community transmission, down from 55 counties last week but more than the 50 of the week before.
- The number of Pennsylvanians hospitalized with COVID-19, in hospital ICUs because of COVID-19, and on ventilators because of COVID-19 have all fallen in the past week.
- Currently, 19 percent of adult ICU beds in the state are unoccupied, as are 12 percent of medical/surgical beds, 13 percent of pediatric ICU beds, 22 percent of pediatric beds, and 33 percent of airborne isolation units.Nearly 3.3 million Pennsylvanians have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. In addition, Philadelphia just reached the 500,000 mark in number of people fully vaccinated, the city’s Department of Public Health reports.
- The House Republican Policy Committee held a hearing on Tuesday to examine the regulatory suspensions and waivers issued as a result of COVID-19 and to assess the extent to which those regulations should be eliminated or reinstated. The committee heard from a variety of health care providers who testified that the suspensions and waivers were vital to their ability to meet patient and staffing needs during the pandemic. Telemedicine and the ability to be reimbursed at the same rate as in-person care was highlighted as something that should be continued beyond the end of the pandemic.
- Senate Bill 190, the “Essential Family Caregiver Act,” passed the Senate on third and final consideration Tuesday. Senate Bill 190 permits long-term care, hospice, assisted living, personal care, and intermediate-care facilities to designate, under certain conditions, at least one essential family caregiver per resident to provide companionship and assist with activities requiring one-on-one direction. A similar bill, House Bill 649, passed the House in March.
Around the State
- On Tuesday a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review headline declared that “Allegheny County posts lowest single-day covid case report in 6 months” and reported that “For the first time since Oct. 26, Allegheny County has posted a single-day covid case number below 100.”
- The city of Philadelphia has approved a limited number of restaurants for 50 percent indoor dining capacity. See the list here.
- The city also has lifted its 50-person limit on outdoor dining and is now permitting bar seating with eased restrictions. KYW radio offers the details.
- The city intends to ease more restrictions on restaurants and indoor events as of May 7, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Congressman Fred Keller (R-12) told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette that he will sponsor legislation to ensure that American citizens have priority for COVID-19 vaccines over undocumented immigrants. His bill will be called the Saving Hypodermic Injections and Offering Vaccines to Taxpayers Swiftly (SHOTS) Act and he counts another member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, Mike Kelly (R-16), as a co-sponsor.