COVID-19 Update: April 14, 2020

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania state regulators, the Pennsylvania legislature, and federal regulators and others as of 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14.

Pennsylvania Update

Governor Wolf

Governor Wolf today announced that businesses that collect Pennsylvania sales tax will not have to make accelerated sales tax pre-payments over the next three months.  That means businesses that normally have a monthly prepayment requirement will not be charged penalties for missing the prepayment deadline during this three-month period.

Daily COVID-19 Briefing

  • For the fourth time in the last five days, the number of newly reported cases fell. Today’s total was the lowest in nearly two weeks.
  • But the death count was the third highest single-day total since the pandemic began. Secretary Levine warned that this could be because of reports still coming in from the weekend.
  • 1250 health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19, as have 1869 residents of 232 long-term-care facilities.
  • 42 percent of acute-care beds and 37 percent of ICU beds remain unoccupied and nearly 70 percent of ventilators are still available for use.
  • To date, about one percent of the state’s population has been tested for COVID-19, with nearly 20 percent testing positive.
  • 2306 COVID-19 patients are currently in the hospital, 666 of them on ventilators.
  • Demographic data on race and ethnicity is still proving elusive. (See the paragraph below about the department’s alert on this subject.)
  • A mass testing site should be opening in East Stroudsburg later this week or next week. It will focus on testing health care workers and seniors.  There are not enough testing materials to test those without symptoms.
  • An alternative care facility in East Stroudsburg will serve patients who are on the road to recovery from COVID-19, to free hospital beds for more seriously ill patients.
  • In no part of the state are hospitals overwhelmed at this time. The state is keeping a close eye on this.
  • Yesterday the state shipped a “large push-out” of personal protective equipment to providers.
  • The secretary attributed the decline in the number of daily tests administered to the closing of the mass testing site in Philadelphia and the temporary closing of the mass testing site in Montgomery County.

Department of Health

  • The Department of Health, working with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, has published a revised Interim Pennsylvania Crisis Standards of Care for Pandemic Guidelines Work on this document started last fall and not in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and is viewed by the Department of Health as a work in progress that will resume once the current pandemic ends.  The purpose of the document, it states, “…is to help guide the allocation of patient care resources during an overwhelming public health emergency of any kind when demand for services dramatically exceeds the supply of resources needed.”
  • The department has issued an alert to laboratories after identifying a large number of laboratory test results submitted without key variables such as patient date of birth, address, and telephone number. In addition, the alert notes that race and ethnicity data is missing from more than 60 percent of reports submitted.  In the alert, the department directs laboratories to include all of this data in the reports they submit to the Department of Health.  Recipients of this alert included hospitals, EMS councils, local health jurisdictions, professional organizations, and long-term-care facilities.

Department of Human Services

Department of State

Department of Labor

The state’s Department of Labor has established a new hiring portal on which employers in life-sustaining businesses can advertise job openings.  Employers may advertise on the site if they are formally considered life-sustaining businesses and have at least 10 jobs to offer.  The process begins with completing an employer intake form.  A number of health care entities already list jobs on the site.

General Assembly

Today the House of Representatives met to continue considering legislation that would create a pathway for businesses to reopen despite the governor’s executive order mandating the closure of non-essential businesses.  Arguments on the floor and in committee meetings fell along party lines, with Republicans advocating the reopening of businesses and Democrats wanting to continue following the governor’s orders.  Ultimately the House passed along party lines SB 613, which primarily provides for the creation of a COVID-19 emergency mitigation plan for businesses.

The House is also expected to pass, in concurrence with Senate amendments, SB 841, which reauthorizes the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) Act by adding data collection requirements and other measures in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

The Senate announced today that it will return to session this week to “consider legislation that will provide a safe path for re-opening the state’s economy.”  This came in response to Governor Wolf’s announcement yesterday that he is participating in a multi-state effort to begin planning for next steps beyond stay-at-home orders and for re-opening the state’s economy.

Federal Update

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Department of Health and Human Services

Drug Enforcement Administration

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Food and Drug Administration

American Medical Association

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Main COVID-19 Page


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Filed in Coronavirus, COVID-19, Uncategorized.

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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania