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COVID-19 Update: April 2, 2020

COVID-19-related developments in Pennsylvania as of 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2.  To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at  info@pasafetynet.org.

Pennsylvania Update

Secretary Levine’s Daily Briefing

  • Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania logoThe number of new COVID-19 cases yesterday rose 26 percent over the previous day.
  • The number of cases among health care workers rose 21 percent over yesterday and accounts for approximately five percent of all COVID-19 cases state-wide.
  • Approximately 10 percent of the state’s nursing homes have at least one case.
  • Growth is especially strong in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties and in northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • The hospitalization rate remains about 10 percent.
  • Right now, Secretary Levine said, hospitals are coping well across the state.
  • Two field hospitals are being established by the federal government: one in Philadelphia and one in Montgomery County.  Decisions about field hospitals are made by the federal government, not the state.
  • People entering Pennsylvania from New York City are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • The state is aware that some pharmacies are now experiencing shortages of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for off-brand use in fighting COVID-19 and is working to ensure an adequate supply for people who use these drugs for approved uses.

Department of Human Services

During the course of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the state’s CHIP program is permitting families that are unable to provide verification of application or renewal verification the ability to self-attest to the information on the application and to enroll children prior to initial payments during the COVID-19 emergency.  Families are still responsible for paying premiums, coverage for those renewing will not be interrupted, and the managed care plans will still verify the information on such applications.

Department of State

Revenue Department

Financial paperworkPennsylvania tax revenues were $294.6 million short of official estimates in March, or 6.2 percent, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department of Revenue.  This is the first glimpse of the fiscal challenge the state will face in the coming months as a result of COVID-19.  Total General Fund revenues for the year are now $45.6 million, or 0.2 percent, below estimate.  It is worth noting that March is traditionally the largest revenue month during the fiscal year.  In addition to the potential for lost revenue over the next few months, the extension of filing deadlines for personal income tax will shift a significant amount of revenue to the next fiscal year.

Federal Update

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Department of Health and Human Services

The department’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will be spending $7.5 million to evaluate health system response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The money is divided into two pools:  $5 million to evaluate innovations and challenges in rapidly expanding telehealth in response to COVID-19 and $2.5 million to active agency grant recipients and cooperative agreements.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Food and Drug Administration

For researchers, the FDA has developed quality-controlled reference sequence data for the SARS-CoV-2 reference strain in the U.S.

Department of Labor

The Department of Labor has published a temporary rule describing the benefits under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both of which were part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law on March 18.  The law reimburses private employers with fewer than 500 employees with tax credits for the cost of providing employees with paid leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19.  The law enables employers to keep their workers on their payrolls while also ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and public health measures.  For more, see a Department of Labor news release describing the new temporary rule and view the rule itself here.

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

FAQ

 

 

 

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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania