June 26 Morning Pennsylvania COVID-19 Update
- Wolf, Levine sign orders to move 12 counties to green effective June 26
- Daily Department of Health Data Report
- ACP COVID-19 Physician’s Guide available
- Long Term Care Facilities call for more collaboration with state agencies
Wolf, Levine sign orders, move 12 of 13 remaining counties to green effective June 26
Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Levine today signed amended green phase orders for the 12 counties moving to green at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, June 26. The counties that have most recently moved to green include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Susquehanna.
With these orders 66 counties are in green and only Lebanon County remains in yellow.
Philadelphia County met the criteria and will move to the state’s green phase tomorrow. However, the Mayor and Health Department Director in Philadelphia have announced that they will maintain additional restrictions for several activities until July 3.
Gov. Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania includes details of each phase of reopening.
Daily Department of Health Data Report
On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., June 25, there were 579 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 83,770. Approximately 6,341 of Pennsylvania’s positive cases are in health care workers.
In nursing and personal care homes, there have been 17,454 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,123 cases among employees, for a total of 20,577 at 676 distinct facilities in 50 counties. A county breakdown can be found here.
There are 6,557 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 39 new deaths. Out of our total deaths, 4,471 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
There are 621,031 patients who have tested negative to date. There are 632 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. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:
- Nearly 1% are ages 0-4;
- 1% are ages 5-12;
- 2% are ages 13-18;
- Nearly 7% are ages 19-24;
- Nearly 37% are ages 25-49;
- Nearly 25% are ages 50-64; and
- Nearly 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.
Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, June 23:
- Provided the latest CMU report.
- Provided an update from Pennsylvania State Police on business closure enforcement actions.
- Visited Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to thank staff for work during pandemic.
- Awarded $2 million in senior center grants.
COVID-19: An ACP Physician's Guide
New this week:
- Longer duration of viral shedding detected in asymptomatic persons
- Greater return to seronegative status at 8 weeks among asymptomatic persons
- Safety data for convalescent plasma used in over 20,000 patients noting transfusion reaction in <1%
Long Term Care Facilities call for more collaboration with state agencies
During a state Senate Aging and Youth Committee hearing on COVID-19 and long-term care, representatives from LTC facilities said they need more collaboration with state agencies, specifically in administering tests and streamlining data.
DoH Secretary Rachel Levine gave an update on progress made to ensure the safety of staff and residents, and outlined the state’s plans for the future. She said new guidance for visitation policies will be published by Monday at the latest, and assured Senators the state has sufficient PPE at hospitals and nursing homes.
Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, said PHCA has been pleading for more testing supplies for two months, and said they were told that additional testing wasn’t necessary. The Governor later changed the state’s position on testing, and now requires mandatory testing of all residents and staff by July 24. Levine said in most cases, Medicare and other health insurance providers will cover the costs of testing, but if a facility cannot afford it, then the state Department of Health can intervene.
“We absolutely have adequate supplies to do testing,” Levine said. “We didn't in the past, and at the beginning of May there were still challenges in terms of getting the agents and the swabs, etc. for testing, both for our laboratory but also hospital labs, and we had extensive waits to get lab results back from Quest and LabCorp. That is no longer true.”
Adam Marles, president and CEO of LeadingAge PA, asked the committee to provide long-term care facilities with protection against COVID-19-related civil liabilities, such as “frivolous lawsuits and staggering liability insurance premiums.” Marles also said that access to testing and funding are the biggest concerns, noting the expense of testing is extraordinary.
The state Department of Health requires long-term care facilities to report daily and weekly data to a tool called Survey 123, and the department recently issued an order that would subject administrators in these facilities to a monetary fine or jail time if they fail to report data. PHCA said administrators were not notified of this order, don’t receive notification when their submissions are received, and some facilities have to report data to as many as five different agencies, state, federal and local.
Shamberg said that all of these reporting requirements include similar details, but require the data to be reported using different definitions, time frames, and formats, occupying hours of staff time each day.