June 10 Pennsylvania COVID-19 Update
- Tuesday’s COVID-19 numbers and links
- Department of Health Orders Further COVID-19 Protections for Hospital Staff
- Governor announces new guidance for family summer safety
- House, Senate pass resolution directing Governor to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration
Tuesday Data Report from the Department Of Health
On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed that as of 12:00 a.m. June 9 there were 493 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 76,436. Approximately 5,796 of our total cases are in health care workers.
There are 6,014 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 61 new deaths. Out of the total deaths, 4,117 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
There are 625 patients who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure, which are considered probable cases and not confirmed cases. There are 459,248 patients who have tested negative to date. DoH estimates that 71% of all individuals testing positive have recovered.
In nursing and personal care homes, there are 16,247 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,824 cases among employees, for a total of 19,071 at 618 distinct facilities in 45 counties. A county breakdown can be found here.
Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:
- Nearly 1% are ages 0-4;
- Nearly 1% are ages 5-12;
- Nearly 2% are ages 13-18;
- 6% are ages 19-24;
- Nearly 37% are ages 25-49;
- 25% are ages 50-64; and
- 28% are ages 65 or older.
Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.
For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.
Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, June 8:
- Provided an update from Pennsylvania State Police on business closure enforcement actions.
- Launched enhanced COVID-19 data dashboard.
- Announced $225 million in grants for small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Department of Health Orders Further COVID-19 Protections for Hospital Staff
The Pennsylvania Department of Health today issued an order requiring all hospitals take additional steps to further protect their staff and patients from COVID-19. The order requires all hospitals to develop, implement and adhere to safety measures by Monday, June 15.
“Across Pennsylvania, nurses and other front-line workers are treating patients around the clock in hospitals fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “Many hospitals are already taking steps to protect their staff from this dangerous virus as much as possible. I have heard from nurses and staff, and this Order responds directly to many of their safety concerns. It ensures that the necessary steps are in place to deliver a safer environment so these workers can continue providing high-quality care during these extraordinary times.”
The Order addresses several concerns raised by nurses and other frontline workers. It requires hospitals to develop, implement and adhere to the following policies and procedures that provide for the safety of the hospital staff and patients by:
- Notifying hospital staff members who have been in close-contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case within 24 hours of the known contact and provide instruction for quarantine and work exclusion.
- Testing symptomatic and asymptomatic hospital staff members who have received notice of a close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case upon request.
- Procuring and distributing nationally approved respirators to the hospital staff member when the staff member determines the mask is soiled, damaged or otherwise ineffective.
- Requiring universal masking for all individuals entering the hospital facility except for people for whom wearing a mask would create a further health risk or individuals under age 2.
These safety policies and procedures must be developed in consultation with the medical and nursing staffs, including front-line professional and auxiliary nursing staff members, including bed-side nurses, and must be implemented by June 15. In addition to medical and nursing staff, hospital staff members include therapeutic services, social services, housekeeping services, dietary services, and maintenance.
If a patient, family member or staff member at a facility is concerned about the safety at a facility, an anonymous complaint can be filed with the department. All complaints filed are confidential and the department will protect the anonymity of those who report concerns. Any hospital staff who report concerns about worker safety should not be retaliated against. The department investigates every complaint received. If there is a complaint about a healthcare facility, including a nursing home, please contact us at 1-800-254-5164 or fill out this online form.
Governor announces new guidance for family summer safety
As the commonwealth continues to reopen, the Wolf Administration today issued frequently asked questions to provide guidance to parents, summer camp operators, public bathing places, part-day school-age programs, and other entities that provide necessary child care and enrichment and recreational activities for children and youth during the summer months.
“We understand the need to secure childcare options as parents and caregivers return to work across the state,” Gov. Wolf said. “And for providers of these programs to understand how they may operate. We hope that this guidance helps everyone in need of viable options for their children’s care and recreation this summer and eliminates some of the stress and worry associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting our everyday lives.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued the FAQs that include guidance on:
- The types of summer programs for children and youth permitted to operate during Gov. Wolf’s phased-in reopening plan.
- Additional requirements for summer programs operating in counties in yellow and green phases beyond what is required by the CDC guidance for youth programs and camps.
- The summer programs operating in counties in yellow and green phases that are permitted to operate fully indoor, fully outdoor, or a combination of indoor and outdoor.
- Group sizes for summer programs that are permitted to operate in counties in the yellow phase.
- Requirements on staff and youth face-coverings in child care and summer programs permitted to operate in yellow phase counties.
- Enrollment restrictions on summer programs in counties in yellow or green phase.
- Status of public playgrounds during the phased reopening.
- Status of organized team sports during the phased reopening.
- Operation of public bathing places and community pools during the phased reopening.
- Operation of camping, campgrounds and group camping separate from organized summer camps for youth.
- Status of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources facilities during the various phases of reopening.
The FAQs are available here.
The guidance does not apply to public school-operated summer programs or extended school year services. Guidance related to reopening public schools will be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education later.
House, Senate pass resolution directing Governor to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration
The Pennsylvania House and Senate passed a concurrent resolution Tuesday that directs the governor to end the emergency declaration that grants him expansive powers to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
The Senate vote was 31-19, with two Democrats, Judy Schwank of Berks County and Jim Brewster of Allegheny County and Independent John Yudichak of Luzerne County joining the Republicans.
In the House, the final vote on concurrence with the Senate was 121-81 with a dozen Democrats joining all Republican members.
Governor Wolf has said he would veto the resolution, but Republicans intend to transmit a copy of the resolution to the Secretary of the Commonwealth as an official action of the General Assembly under Title 35 to terminate a state of emergency. A House spokesman said, “This will not go to Wolf. The declaration is over, and it will be published in the Pennsylvania bulletin,” he said.
A source close to the GOP leadership predicted that Wolf will take the legislature to court.
Republicans had argued that about the impacts the shutdown has had on Pennsylvanians.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) suggested that even if the resolution passes, it would not necessarily stop the business closure orders because the Secretary of Health has authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act of 1955 to close businesses, he said. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) countered that the Secretary of Health has the powers only over those who are sick.
Democrats argued that the resolution could potentially cause the loss of $1.5 billion in federal aid, impede getting PPE for essential workers, remove health care and immunity from physicians and first responders, and end National Guard support and other federal programs.
House Democratic Appropriations Minority Chairman Matthew Bradford of Montgomery County compared the resolution to taking off a parachute “because you are just 500 feet from the ground.”
Republicans argued about separation of powers and limiting the powers of the Governor, shared letters from federal cabinet officials and FEMA, and talked about the disparities of the Governor’s decision making, enforcement, personal and economic losses for constituents and forced closings of thousands of businesses.
Two other Democratic Senators, Lisa Boscola of Lehigh and Northampton Counties and Andy Dinniman of Chester County expressed serious reservations about the governor’s use of executive power under the declaration but voted no on the resolution.
“The governor will be statutorily required to issue an order terminating the declaration in compliance with section 7301,” tweeted GOP leadership spokesperson Jennifer Kocher. “He has no discretion in this matter.”
Corman conceded the governor could issue a new emergency declaration that has narrower constraints and said Republicans would be happy to work with him on that, but he said that he refuses to become comfortable with Governor Wolf’s “new normal.”
Dinniman (D-Chester) said a proposed constitutional amendment requiring legislative approval of a disaster emergency declaration after 30 days is a step he would support, and he also proposed a constitutional convention to address the balance of power between branches.
The proposed amendment to the state constitution is currently in the Senate as SB 1166 and passed the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday for possible consideration Wednesday. Amending Pennsylvania’s constitution requires approval in a statewide referendum after the same language passes the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions.