The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25.
- Governor Wolf has presented his fall legislative agenda. Among his proposals, he called for $225 million for hazard pay for frontline workers; $10 million for a personal protective equipment reimbursement program for small businesses; and $250 million for child care for families with school-age children in need of care because of blended or remote in-person instruction models. Learn more about these and other aspects of the governor’s proposal here.
- Senate and House Republican leaders responded to the governor’s accusation that they have ignored the public health crisis and thwarted Democratic legislators’ efforts to fight for progress to protect families and business. Senate majority leader Corman R (Centre, Huntingdon, Mifflin, and Juniata) called the governor’s fall agenda a “political document” and stated that Governor Wolf, a Democrat, is more interested in providing political cover for Senate and House Democrats in the upcoming election than he is in governing and working with the legislature. House majority leader Benninghoff (R-Centre and Mifflin) labeled the governor’s agenda disingenuous and unaffordable.
- Governor Wolf announced that Pennsylvania will apply to participate in the federal Lost Wages Assistance program to gain funding for an additional $300 a week in supplemental payments for some Pennsylvanians receiving unemployment benefits.
- The governor’s office posted his weekly COVID-19 status update. Highlights include:
- A decline in the state’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests, from 4.0 percent to 3.4 percent, marking the fourth consecutive week that rate has declined.
- A 20 percent decline in new COVID-19 cases from the previous week.
The weekly report also includes information about the state’s contact tracing efforts. Learn more here, in the governor’s news release. A separate Department of Health news release also addresses the state’s contact tracing work.
Department of Health
- The Department of Health has unveiled “CATE” (Community-Accessible Testing and Education”), a recreational vehicle that has been equipped as a mobile COVID-19 testing and education unit that will travel the state offering free COVID-19 tests and education in medically underserved communities in 16 counties. Established and operated by the organization Latino Connection, staffed by the Welsh Mountain Health Centers, and funded in part by the state, Highmark, and Independence Blue Cross, CATE has more than 30 stops scheduled during September, the first half of them in the Philadelphia area and then moving westward across the state. Appointments are not needed and CATE’s tests will be performed by the state’s lab in Exton, which is producing results in 24 to 48 hours. Learn more about CATE, its origins, and its scheduled stops in this Department of Health news release and by visiting the CATE web site.
- At a news conference Secretary Levine reported that the major backlog of COVID-19 test results has eased. LabCorp and Quest are now reporting results in two to three days and hospitals and smaller labs are now generally turning around tests in 24 to 48 hours, as is the state’s own lab. The biggest challenge to access to testing, she said, continues to be access to the reagents used for testing.
Department of Health – by the numbers
- The number of new COVID-19 cases has been declining for the past two weeks. As noted above, the total of new cases declined 20 percent last week in comparison to the previous week.
- The state’s total number of COVID-19 cases just surpassed 130,000.
- COVID-19 death totals fluctuate considerably from day to day, with the total number of deaths now surpassing 7600.
- Nearly 9400 health care workers in the state have contracted COVID-19.
- The number of Pennsylvanians hospitalized with COVID-19 has declined slowly but steadily over the past month but has spiked modestly in recent days.
- The number of Pennsylvanians on ventilators also has been declining, although more slowly than the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
- More than 25,000 residents and staff of 922 long-term-care facilities in 61 of the state’s 67 counties have now contracted COVID-19.
- 22 percent of the beds in Pennsylvania’s acute-care hospitals are currently unoccupied, as are 26 percent of adult ICU beds, 23 of pediatric ICU beds, 38 percent of pediatric beds, and 43 percent of airborne isolation rooms.
Department of Human Services
- DHS’s Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has posted an announcement that provides direction on the use of its health risk screening web portal for staff working at ODP-contracted facilities and programs who are suspected of having COVID-19 or have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Resources to Consult
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention