PA COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Nov. 13 – Nov. 19: Case Increases Top 36,000; Percent Positivity at 11.1% and 63 Counties with Substantial Transmission

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 36,133 cases, statewide percent positivity of 11.1%, and a concerning 63 counties with substantial transmission status.

The update includes the following:

  • Level of community transmission as a basis for the recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools to determine instructional models.
  • Data on cases among 5-18-year-olds.
  • Cases that reported visiting a business among potential locations where exposures may have occurred.
  • Updated travel recommendations.

The dashboard is designed to provide early warning signs of factors that affect the state’s mitigation efforts. The data available on the early warning monitoring dashboard includes week-over-week case differences, incidence rates, test percent-positivity, and rates of hospitalizations, ventilations and emergency room visits tied to COVID-19. This week’s update compares the period of November 13 – November 19 to the previous seven days, November 6 – November 12.

“Another week of significant increases of COVID-19 across Pennsylvania is a call to action,” Gov. Wolf said. “We need all Pennsylvanians to take the steps they can to protect one another. We need Pennsylvanians to follow the most recent orders and wear a mask, social distance, avoid travel and gatherings and wash their hands. It is only by working together that Pennsylvanians can prevent the spread of the virus.”

As of Thursday, November 19, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 36,133 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 27,326 cases, indicating 8,807 more new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.

The statewide percent-positivity went up to 11.1% from 9.6% last week. Every county in the state has a concerning percent positivity above five percent except for one county, Cameron County at 1.9 percent.

“This week’s data, in terms of hospitalization increase, an increase in the use of ventilators, case increase and percent positivity are worrisome,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. Latest models show we could run out of ICU beds within a week. We know COVID-19 does not discriminate and is affecting every county in the Commonwealth. It is affecting all Pennsylvanians, no matter your race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status or whether you live a rural, suburban or urban area.”

Community Transmission
As of Friday’s data, Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Tioga, Union, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York counties were in the substantial level of community transmission. The departments of Education and Health will speak with school district representatives in these counties to discuss the implications of this level of transmission.

For the week ending November 12, two counties were in the low level of transmission, two counties in the moderate level, with 63 with substantial transmission:

  • Low – Cameron, Sullivan
  • Moderate – Pike, Wayne
  • Substantial – Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming, York

Cases Among 5-18-Year-Olds
The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of statewide cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been 23,742 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 3,937 occurred between November 13 – November 19. For the week of November 6 – November 12, there were 3,198 cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.

Cases by demographic group is available on the DOH website.

Business Visits
The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of individuals who responded to case investigators that they spent time at business establishments (restaurants, bars, gym/fitness centers, salon/barbershops) and at mass gatherings 14 days prior to the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

It is important to note that due to the recent number of cases, the department is prioritizing case investigations. In addition to the need for people to answer the call, the significant number of cases helps contribute to the low percentages in contact tracing data. All of this reinforces the need for Pennsylvanians to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Of the 34,719 confirmed cases reported between November 8 and November 14, 10 percent (3,619) provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.

Of those who did provide an answer, 1.4 percent, or 483, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:

  • 48 percent (233) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
  • 24 percent (109) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
  • 15 percent (74) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
  • 14 percent (66) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
  • 7 percent (34) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.

Of the 34,719 confirmed cases, 10.5 percent (3,628) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 10.5 percent, 16.3 percent (591) answered yes to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.

Compared to data reported on November 16, this week’s data saw an increase for people who reported going to a gym/fitness center (14 percent vs. 11 percent last week) and going to a bar (15 percent vs. 12.5 percent last week),.The data saw a decrease for people who reported going a restaurant (48 percent vs. 53 percent last week) and to another business (23 percent vs. 26 percent last week). Numbers remained the same for those going to some a salon/barbershop (7 percent vs. 7 percent last week). The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event decreased from to 16.3 percent from 18.4 percent last week.

The numbers above highlight business settings and mass gatherings as possible sites for transmission. With less than half of those asked about what types of businesses they visited or if they attended a mass gathering responding to the question, the department is reminding Pennsylvanians that it is essential that people answer the phone when case investigators call and to provide full and complete information to these clinical professionals.

Travel Recommendations
Last week, the Department of Health changed its travel guidance. Dr. Levine issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth.

If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.

This order, which took effect on Friday, November 20, does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.

It is important that people understand that this Order is in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. A concerning number of recent cases have been linked to travel, and if people are going to travel, we need them to take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community, and that involves having either a negative test, or quarantining.

Gov. Wolf continues to prioritize the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians through the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvanians should continue to take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of in what county they live. This includes wearing a mask or face covering anytime they are in public. COVID-19 has been shown to spread easily in the air and contagious carriers can be asymptomatic.

As COVID-19 Cases Reach Critical Levels, Wolf Admin Announces New Mitigation Efforts

 

Harrisburg, Pa.—With new modeling projecting 22,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in Pennsylvania in December, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced new targeted mitigation measures to help stop the spread during this critical time. These include a robust enforcement plan targeted at chronic violators along with an effort to ensure schools are safe and in compliance with COVID safety plans. The administration is also encouraging Pennsylvanians to limit unnecessary travel and stay at home.

“As our hospitals and health care system are facing greater strain, we need to redouble our efforts to keep people safe,” Gov. Wolf said. “If our health care system is compromised, it isn’t only COVID-19 patients who will suffer. If we run out of hospital beds, or if hospital staff are over-worked to the breaking point, care will suffer for every patient – including those who need emergency care for illnesses, accidents, or chronic conditions unrelated to COVID-19.”

In the past week, the number of COVID-19-attributable deaths has quadrupled, and the average daily case count is seven times higher than it was two months ago.

Dr. Levine noted last week that modeling available from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington projects that Pennsylvania will run out of intensive care beds in December.

The IHME’s modeling also projects that if mitigation efforts are not adhered to, Pennsylvania could have more than 32,000 deaths from COVID-19 by Feb. 23, 2021 – that’s in just three months. With universal mask-wearing, those deaths can be reduced by half.

“As the Secretary of Health, I have issued a series of advisories and orders intended to help stop the spread during this critical time, to protect our hospitals, our health care workers and the lives of our fellow Pennsylvanians,” Dr. Levine said. “Our collective responsibility continues to be to protect our communities, our health care workers and our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians from COVID-19. That has not changed.”

The new measures include revamped school safety attestation, targeted business and gathering restrictions, and a new enforcement plan that includes liability protection for businesses enforcing the Secretary of Health’s strengthened mask-wearing order. The administration is also advising all Pennsylvanians to limit unnecessary travel and keep gatherings held in homes to members of the same household.

Requiring Strict Safety Measures in Our Schools

Summary: The Wolf Administration is requiring Pre-K to 12 public schools in counties that have been in the substantial transmission level for at least two consecutive weeks to commit to safety measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students and educators. If they choose not to, they must move to fully remote learning without all extra-curricular activities. As of Friday, Nov. 20, there are 59 counties in the substantial transmission level for at least two consecutive weeks.

Requirements for Pre-K to 12 public schools in substantial counties for at least two consecutive weeks:

  • Schools are mandated to comply with updated protocols if a COVID-19 case is identified in the school building.
  • By 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, chief school administrators and the governing body president/chair must sign an attestation form stating they have either transitioned to fully remote learning or are complying with the orders if they are conducting any in-person instruction while in the “substantial” range of transmission.
  • Those schools that do not sign or comply with an attestation are required to provide only fully remote learning and suspend all extracurricular activities as long as the county remains in the substantial transmission level.

“All of us have a responsibility to slow the spread of this virus so our children can stay or return to the classroom,” Gov. Wolf said.

Keeping Businesses, Customers and Employees Safe

Summary: The administration is revising and reissuing its orders to protect businesses, customers, and employees. This order will consolidate previous orders and includes reiterating cleaning and social distancing requirements, mandatory telework requirements unless impossible, and other safety measures.

  • Telework is mandatory unless impossible; safety measures required for businesses including cleaning, social distancing and masking.
  • Online sales and curbside pickup for all shopping are encouraged.

Furthermore, to help with enforcement of existing masking orders in businesses, the administration is introducing liability protection for all businesses that maintain in person operations and are open to the public. Businesses will receive immunity from civil liability only as related to the Secretary’s masking order given that individuals and entities are engaged in essential emergency services activities and disaster services activities when enforcing the order.

Strengthening Gathering Limitations

Summary: As Pennsylvania sees an increase in cases, the commonwealth is strengthening gathering restrictions. All large events and gatherings are now reduced until further notice. In addition, the retail food services industry, including bars, restaurants, and private catered events must end alcohol sales for on-site consumption at 5 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2020 only.

  • All indoor and outdoor events/ gatherings categories size limits will be reduced
  • New limits are as follows:

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for indoor events:

 Maximum Occupancy  
Allowable Indoor Rate  
0-2,000 people
10% of Maximum Occupancy
2,001 – 10,000 people
5% of Maximum Occupancy
Over 10,000 people
No events over 500 people

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for outdoor events:

Maximum Occupancy  
Allowable Outdoor Rate  
0-2,000 people
15% of Maximum Occupancy
2,001 – 10,000 people
10% of Maximum Occupancy
Over 10,000 people
5% of Maximum Occupancy up to 2,500 people
  • Household gatherings are also advised against when attendees include non-household members as noted through the Secretary of Health’s Stay at Home Advisory.
  • To specifically address large crowds, on Nov. 25, 2020 only, all sales or dispensing of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption at businesses in the retail food services industry, including bars, restaurants, and private catered events must end at 5 p.m. Indoor dining may continue, takeout is encouraged.

Empowering local government

  • The governor and Secretary of Health’s orders were issued pursuant to the authority granted to them under the law, and as such they have the force and effect of law. This authority extends to all local enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania. Local law enforcement received guidance on enforcement of the various COVID-19 orders in place from the Pennsylvania State Police through the PA Chiefs of Police Association.
  • Given the importance of local engagement, the Department of Health has provided recommendations for local municipal leaders, as well as county-wide leadership. While statewide mitigation steps are necessary, local leaders can implement their own orders, ordinances, or directives in order to protect health and safety as long as they are stricter than those mandated by the state. Additionally, counties and municipalities are authorized to enforce state law, including orders from the Secretary of Health or Governor.
  • Local leaders at all levels of government should exercise their authority and influence to support public health efforts that will protect residents and local economies. When local leaders engage, their constituents understand that they are supported in adopting and sustaining preventive behaviors.
  • The Department of Health has established thresholds representing low, moderate, or substantial community transmission of COVID-19, and corresponding actions that can be taken by county and municipal leaders. A county’s threshold may change week-by-week as incidence and percent positivity rates rise and fall. Leaders should implement more public health actions rather than fewer if their county is between thresholds. To determine level of community transmission, counties should use the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. The Department of Health and the Department of Education use the same metrics to recommend instructional models for school leaders.
  • Recommendations for each level of community transmission include increased communication, collaborative planning, stricter directives, and working with school leaders.

Ramping Up Enforcement

Summary: Orders already in place and those announced today are all enforceable, and law enforcement and state agencies will be stepping up enforcement efforts, issuing citations and fines, and possibly regulatory actions for repeat offenders.

Given that this is a critical time for mitigation efforts and orders to be followed, the Wolf Administration is stepping up enforcement on the following orders:

  • Out of State Travel
  • Mask-wearing
  • Business Safety, including telework, occupancy, cleaning, social distancing
  • Restaurant Mitigation, including occupancy, masking, social distancing, self-certification
  • Gathering Limits
  • School Attestation and Mitigation
  • Orders are enforceable as a disease control measure under the Disease Prevention and Control Law. Citations may be written under the Administrative Code of 1929 71 P. S. § 1409 and/or the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 35 P.S. § 521.20(a). The decision whether to issue a warning or a citation is made on a case-by-case basis and determined by the unique circumstances of each encounter.
  • Persons who fail to comply with an order may be fined between $25 and $300 dollars.
  • Enforcement agencies include the Pennsylvania State Police, local law enforcement, personnel from the departments of Agriculture and State, and PA Liquor Control Board stores who interact with visitors.

Because a component of enforcement is investigating complaints, the Department of Health, with assistance from other agencies, is bolstering its ability to receive and respond to complaints from customers and employees. The department will continue to investigate complaints provided via its webform and plans to use additional staff from other state agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction to process complaints.

Following a complaint about a business, the Department of Health will send a warning letter informing the business of the potential consequences, including fines and closure if the business is not compliant with the mitigation orders. If a business continues to receive complaints, it risks referral to the Pennsylvania State Police or regulatory agencies, further fines and possible closure.

“As Pennsylvanians, we have a responsibility to one another, to do what we can to protect each other and preserve the life we all love in this commonwealth,” Gov. Wolf said. “For those who refuse to do their part to protect their neighbors and communities and refuse to accept that their actions have consequences that cause pain and suffering for others, we will be stepping up enforcement of all of the public health orders Dr. Levine and I have put in place.

“We are in a very dangerous situation, and we need to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 right now because if we give in to the virus, we will lose many more Pennsylvanians. And that is unacceptable.”

Governor Wolf’s Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Order

Governor Wolf’s Retail Food Services Mitigation Order

Governor Wolf’s Stay at Home Advisory

Governor Wolf’s Public School Attestation Order

 

Secretary of Health’s Mitigation and Enforcement Order

Secretary of Health’s Retail Food Services Mitigation Order

Secretary of Health’s Stay at Home Advisory

Secretary of Health’s Public School Attestation Order

Secretary of Health’s Elective Procedures Order

Gov. Wolf Signs Budget Bills

Harrisburg, Pa. – Today, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 2536 and Senate Bill 1350.

These bills, which provide funding for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s budget through June 30, 2021, sustain commonwealth services and programs during a critical time as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The 2020-21 budget prioritizes public education in the commonwealth, protecting more than $1.2 billion that the Wolf Administration has invested in public education during Gov. Wolf’s time in office.

November 23, 2020 – Department of Health Report

Ninety five (95) new cases added Sunday and Monday in Lycoming County now at 1,755 cases, no new deaths, 35 total deaths, with 18,431 negatives according to DOH report.

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19:

3,379 Patients Hospitalized and 775 Patients in the Intensive Care Unit

11,837 Two-Day Total of Additional Positive Cases of COVID-19

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., November 23, that there were 4,762 new cases, in addition to 7,075 new cases reported Sunday, November 22 for a two-day total of 11,837 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 314,401.

There are 3,379 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 775 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. 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.

The trend in the 14-day moving average of number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by nearly 2,100 since the end of September.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of November 13 – November 19 stood at 11.1%.

The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between November 16 and November 22 is 399,573 with 44,502 positive cases. There were 62,299 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., November 21 and 39,901 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., November 22.

As of 11:59 p.m., Saturday November 21, there were 41 new deaths and as of 11:59 p.m., Sunday November 22, there were 28 new deaths reported for a total of 9,870 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 12,731 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 643 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.

There are 2,705,170 individuals who have tested negative to date. Of those who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Approximately 1% are ages 0-4;
  • Nearly 3% are ages 5-12;
  • Nearly 6% are ages 13-18;
  • Nearly 13% are ages 19-24;
  • Nearly 37% are ages 25-49;
  • Approximately 21% are ages 50-64; and
  • Nearly 20% are ages 65 or older.

The department has seen significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds. An alert was sent to healthcare providers about the changing COVID-19 case demographics. Increases among 19 to 24-year-olds from April to present in November are available below:

  • NC – Approximately 7 percent of cases in April to nearly 16 percent of cases so far in November;
  • NE – 6 percent of cases in April to approximately 13 percent of cases so far in November;
  • SE – Nearly 5 percent of cases in April to nearly 11 percent of cases so far in November;
  • SW – Approximately 5 percent of cases in April to nearly 11 percent of cases so far in November;
  • NW – Nearly 7 percent of cases in April to approximately 11 percent of cases so far in November; and
  • SC – Approximately 7 percent of cases in April to nearly 9 percent of cases so far in November.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 32,198 resident cases of COVID-19, and 6,407 cases among employees, for a total of 38,605 at 1,224 distinct facilities in 64 counties. Out of our total deaths, 6,270 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here.

Approximately 14,070 of our total cases are among health care workers.
 

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, Nov. 22:
 

 

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

November 21, 2020 – Department of Health Report

Eighty (80) new cases added Saturday in Lycoming County now at 1,660 cases, one new death, 35 total deaths, with 18,159 negatives according to DOH report.

Department Of Health Provides Update On COVID-19:

3,162 Patients Hospitalized And 661 Patients In The Intensive Care Unit

Increase Of 6,778 Additional Positive Cases Of COVID-19

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., November 21, that there were 6,778 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 302,564.

There are 3,162 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. We have reached levels seen in May when hospitalizations were at their highest. Of that number, 661 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. 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.

The trend in the 14-day moving average of number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by nearly 1,900 since the end of September.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of November 6 – November 12 stood at 9.6%.

The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between November 14 and November 20 is 400,253 with 41,399 positive cases. There were 58,950 PCR test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., November 20.

As of 11:59 p.m., November 20, there were 112 new deaths reported for a total of 9,801 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 11,852 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 643 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.

There are 2,668,676 individuals who have had a negative PCR test to date. Of those who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Approximately 1% are ages 0-4;
  • Nearly 3% are ages 5-12;
  • Nearly 6% are ages 13-18;
  • Approximately 13% are ages 19-24;
  • Nearly 37% are ages 25-49;
  • Approximately 21% are ages 50-64; and
  • Nearly 20% are ages 65 or older.

In nursing and personal care homes since the start of the pandemic, there have been 31,548 resident cases of COVID-19, and 6,357 cases among employees, for a total of 37,905 at 1,207 distinct facilities in 63 counties. Out of our total deaths, 6,266 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here.

Approximately 13,968 of our total cases are among health care workers.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play StoreOpens In A New Window and the Apple App StoreOpens In A New Window by searching for “covid alert pa”.

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

L&I Warns of New National Unemployment Benefits Scam While Assuring Authenticity of Recent Email to PUA Claimants

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today reminded residents to remain vigilant against scams as new reports emerge nationally of fraudsters offering cash rewards to access state unemployment benefits.

“As we continue to work with our state and federal law enforcement partners to prevent frauds and scams, please note the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry will never contact you and ask for your personal, private information,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “If you receive a call, email, text, social media message, or other communication seeking information such as your username, password or full Social Security number, do not provide it. We will never ask you for this information.”

The latest scam involves fraudsters engaging in social engineering to commit identity theft by circulating emails and Facebook posts informing recipients they won a prize. When the victim clicks on the link, the attacker has them take steps to tie their identity to the attacker’s login.

L&I does not currently offer assistance to claimants over social media messaging due to the inability to guarantee security and confidentiality, and messages received by “L&I” over social media are most likely fraudulent and should be ignored.

Multiple states, including Pennsylvania, have been inundated with fraudulent unemployment claims, primarily through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which assists out-of-work individuals who are typically ineligible for traditional unemployment compensation. Due to this issue there have been questions about the authenticity of a legitimate email distributed by L&I to PUA claimants between 5:00 and 6:00 PM Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, from the email sender “LI, oucbp-fedp-pua.” This is the account name for UCPUA@pa.gov. The department submitted this communication to all claimants who have emailed UCPUA@pa.gov since March 15 as a follow-up during a special review of emails.

Claimants concerned that this email may be a phishing attempt and hesitant to reply to the sender can provide the requested information directly to UCPUA@pa.gov.

Any PUA claimant with outstanding questions or concerns about their claim is encouraged to submit the following information directly to UCPUA@pa.gov:

  • Full name as it appears on their claim
  • User ID number
  • Last 4 digits of their Social Security number
  • Telephone number
  • Best time to contact by telephone if needed
  • Brief description of the issue on their claim

For more information on identifying fraud, what to do if you believe you have been a victim of fraud, or how to report fraud, visit L&I’s website.

State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement November 16-19: 525 Compliance Checks; 11 Notices of Violation

 
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 525 licensed liquor establishments from Monday, November 16 through Thursday, November 19 to ensure businesses are abiding by COVID-19 mitigation requirements that include social distancing, masking, and other health and safety requirements of the liquor code.
Liquor Control Enforcement Officers issued 11 notices of violation and 37 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. As mandated by the liquor code, a notice of violation precedes the issuance of an administrative citation, which is civil in nature, and is intended to provide licensed liquor establishments notification of the nature of violation(s) discovered. The investigation remains open during this period, pending review by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE). Because the investigation is ongoing, names of establishments issued a notice of violation will not be released at this time. Each BLCE district office posts a monthly public information release that includes details on citations issued by that office.
Compliance checks are unannounced and can occur anywhere in the commonwealth, although the focus is on areas experiencing higher coronavirus transmission rates. Among other requirements, all businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry authorized to conduct in-person activities are mandated to:
  • Require all customers to wear masks while entering, exiting or otherwise traveling throughout the restaurant or retail food service business (face masks may be removed while seated). Further, employees are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back.
  • Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and enforced.
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement | November 16-19, 2020
​TOTAL LICENSEE CHECKS
WARNINGS RELATED TO COVID-19 MITIGATION EFFORTS
NOTICES OF VIOLATION RELATED TO COVID-19 MITIGATION EFFORTS
1-Philadelphia
​159
3
0
2-Wilkes-Barre
111
0
3
3-Harrisburg
36
5
1
4-Pittsburgh
86
18
3
5-Altoona
52
1
2
6-Williamsport
32
0
0
7-Punxsutawney
5
2
1
8-Erie
19
4
1
9-Allentown
25
4
0
TOTALS
525
37
11
Violators may face administrative citation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. Continued violations put an establishment’s liquor license at risk, either through the citation process or upon application for renewal. More information is available on the enforcement page of the state police COVID-19 portal.
Complaints regarding licensees not complying with COVID-19 mitigation mandates may be directed to the BLCE at 1-800-932-0602 or reported through the BLCE’s online complaint form.

Congressman Keller votes NO on reauthorizing outdated apprenticeship system without reforms

Says Democrats’ partisan workforce proposal will stifle private sector innovation, kill jobs 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) voted against House Democrats’ H.R. 8294, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, a bill that disregards the needs of the current economy and the modern American workforce. The bill was passed by a vote of 246-140.

On Thursday, Keller spoke on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 8294, saying that, while apprenticeship programs are vital for the success of American workers and businesses, the bill misses the mark in making much-needed updates to a severely outdated apprenticeship system. Below are excerpts of his remarks. 

I rise today in opposition of H.R. 8294, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020.

H.R. 8294 aimed to address many needed updates; however, it completely failed to address and expand work-based learning programs beyond the traditional registered model.

Given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy, now more than ever we need an apprenticeship system that provides tools and opportunities for workers to succeed and will encourage our small and medium-sized businesses to participate.

The current administration has addressed these needs by creating the industry recognized apprenticeship program, commonly referred to “IRAPS”.

It’s time that we allow employers to participate in a system that is reflective of their needs and the needs of the workforce.

Doing so will open greater pathways to work for current workers and job seekers and ultimately get more Americans back to work.

Most importantly, this bill would actively prevent IRAPs from moving forward, decimating thousands of opportunities for workers to participate in a dynamic and innovative apprenticeship system.

In addition to his concerns with the broader bill, Keller conveyed his strong opposition to an amendment offered by Congressman Mike Levin (D-CA) which attempts to elevate the wants of unions over the needs of the American people.

This amendment essentially restricts non-union entities from being able to apply for funding under Title II, allowing taxpayer dollars to go to apprenticeship programs that partner only with unions.

At best, it is signaling that congress would rather double down on a union-dominated registered model rather than expanding to new participants.

 

BACKGROUND:

Keller offered an amendment to H.R. 8294 that would ensure that apprenticeship programs protect the safety and well-being of apprentices equally across the board by requiring state registration agencies to hold all programs to the same standard, regardless of which entity sponsors the program.

Without this important amendment, H.R. 8294 creates a special carve-out for union-sponsored apprenticeship programs, allowing them to ignore safety requirements that ensure that a sufficient number of supervisors are present on the job site to protect workers.

This amendment was blocked by Democratic leadership.

DOH to Distribute New COVID-19 Therapy to Healthcare Systems Across the Commonwealth 

Harrisburg, PA  Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced the federal government will be distributing monoclonal antibodies to healthcare systems throughout the commonwealth. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins built in a laboratory that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens, like the COVID-19 virus.

“The department will determine which healthcare systems receive allocations based upon county case counts,” Dr. Levine said. “Then, the federal government will distribute the antibodies to the respective healthcare systems to further help communities struggling with the spread of COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies may provide short term protection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus for appropriate COVID-19 patients.”

The healthcare partners who receive the monoclonal antibodies will then ensure that patients who meet the criteria will be able to receive this treatment in a range of different distribution settings. Health care systems will determine eligibility for the antibodies based upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization (EUA) guidelines.

The for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy, bamlanivimab, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients. Bamlanivimab is specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’s attachment and entry into human cells. Bamlanivimab is not authorized for the patients who are hospitalized or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit health.pa.gov.

 

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

DHS Highlights Successes in Helping Children and Youth Achieve Permanent Homes 

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today recognized those who help children and youth achieve permanent homes. The Wolf Administration is committed to supporting and advocating on behalf of children and youth in the foster care system.

DHS will receive $5,885,500 in Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments from the United States Department of Health and Human Services for its improved performance in helping children and youth in foster care find permanent homes through adoption and legal guardianship. These funds will be used to further increase awareness of and provide services to families interested in adopting a child from foster care.

“All children deserve the opportunity to live and grow at home with a supportive family, and in many cases, adoption is the best chance for children and youth to achieve a healthy and happy life. That’s why I’m especially proud to recognize Adoption Awareness Month,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “DHS works every day to help Pennsylvania’s children and youth find their forever homes. There is still a need for permanent, loving homes for children in this commonwealth, so I encourage anyone who can offer a loving and nurturing home to children and youth as permanent or foster parents to reach out. You can offer a child a brighter future.”

The Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN), administered by DHS’ Office of Children Youth and Families, helps match children in need of adoption with potential families. SWAN brings together state, county, and private agencies to coordinate permanency-related services for children and post-permanency services to families. Since SWAN began in 1992, there have been more than 51,000 adoptions in Pennsylvania. Currently, Pennsylvania has 14,400 children in foster care and 3,094 with a goal of adoption. In 2019, 2,722 children and youth were successfully adopted – the most adoptions to occur in Pennsylvania in a given year.

Secretary Miller also hosted the 28th Annual Pennsylvania Permanency Conference, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 precautions. The annual conference is attended by child welfare professionals, current and prospective foster or adoptive families, kinship care providers, and others with a vested interest in ensuring children have safe, permanent and loving homes.

The permanency conference is designed to:

  • Train participants on how to prepare children and their families for their journey towards permanency;
  • Educate and support all those involved in finding permanent homes for Pennsylvania’s foster children; and
  • Provide an opportunity for children to be matched with prospective foster and adoptive families.

The conference traditionally includes an awards ceremony to recognize those who help children and youth achieve permanent homes. This year’s virtual awards ceremony honorees include:

Permanent Family Recognition Award

Families selected have provided legalized permanency for a child or children involved in the child welfare system:

  • Ian & Amanda Ferree, Westmoreland County
  • George & Charlotte Beatty, Allegheny County
  • Ruth Ann Esh, Lancaster County
  • Robert and Darren Girardeau, Chester County
  • Kelvin Johnson, Philadelphia County
  • Jackson Duncan, Philadelphia County

Permanency Teamwork Recognition

Teams nominated for this award exemplify a collaborative effort that promotes permanency for children with special needs:

  • Lauren Howard, Berks County Children and Youth Services
  • Erin Oshansky, Diakon
  • Patti Menow, Diakon
  • Dr. Allison Hill, Berks Counseling Associates

Philanthropy Recognition

The individual and organization selected demonstrates a significant charitable commitment that promotes the permanency of children in foster care:

  • Amy Gambler, Little Brown Suitcase Ministries

Permanency Advocate Recognition

This award recognizes a dynamic individual who demonstrates a commitment to building cooperative relationships to expedite the permanency process:

  • Rene Hensley Williams

Independent Living Professional Recognition

The individual selected for this award has demonstrated that they have helped youth transition into becoming successful contributing members of society:

  • Lindsey Glezen, Lackawanna County Children and Youth Services

Permanency Professional Recognition

Individuals selected to receive this award are permanency professionals working in a public or private child welfare agency:

  • Ashley Allen, Chester County Department of Children and Families

Youth Advocate Recognition

The individual nominated for this award is a current or former foster youth who has raised awareness on behalf of themselves and/or their peers about the challenges of foster care:

  • Clishon “CiCi” Griffin, Achieving Independence Center (AIC) Member

To learn how to begin the adoption process and what to expect as you become a foster parent or adoptive parent, go to www.adoptpakids.org, call 1-800-585-SWAN, or follow SWAN on Facebook.