Governor Wolf’s Covid-19 Update – April 29, 2020

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,102 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 44,366

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., April 29, that there are 1,102 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 44,366. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.

As a result of our continued work to reconcile data from various sources, the state is reporting an increase of 479 deaths today bringing the statewide total to 2,195 deaths in Pennsylvania. These deaths have occurred over the last two weeks. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here

 “As we see the number of new COVID-19 cases continuously change across the state that does not mean we can stop practicing social distancing,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families and our community. If you must go out, please make as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but others. We need all Pennsylvanians to continue to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our health care workers and frontline responders.”

There are 170,518 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Nearly 1% are aged 0-4;
  • Nearly 1% are aged 5-12;
  • 1% are aged 13-18;
  • Nearly 6% are aged 19-24; 
  • 38% are aged 25-49; 
  • 27% are aged 50-64; and
  • 26% are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available hereOpens In A New Window.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 7,698 resident cases of COVID-19, and 975 cases among employees, for a total of 8,673 at 461 distinct facilities in42counties. Out of our total deaths, 1,428 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found hereOpens In A New Window.

All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide through the remainder of the academic year. Currently the entire state is under a stay-at-home order.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, April 28:

For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.govOpens In A New Window.

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 for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.

City of Philadelphia Press Briefing April 29, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 358 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 13,803.

The Department of Public Health again noted clusters of positive cases in congregate settings, including nursing homes, behavioral health facilities, and the Department of Prisons. Five additional inmates have tested positive. The current total of positive cases at correctional facilities is 68.

The Department of Public Health confirmed 25 additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 541. Of the 541 total deaths, 306 (57%) were long-term care facility residents.

The Department of Public Health reports 1,012 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 1,858 people hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).

The COVID Surge Facility-Liacouras Center (CSF-Liacouras Center): Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley today announced that the City will begin scaling back operations at the COVID Surge Facility at Temple University’s Liacouras Center.

“With few patients, a stabilizing of the number of cases within the community, and sufficient bed capacity at existing hospitals, I do not see the need for a surge facility in the foreseeable future. The City is grateful to Temple University for its willingness to host this facility. Everyone involved is thankful that we are at a point where it is not needed at this time. Please help us keep it that way, by continuing to follow social distancing and other guidelines.”

It is expected that the facility will stop receiving patients within the next two weeks and those who are currently admitted will be discharged to their homes. The Center will remain active to support the City’s COVID-19 response, which includes hosting Department of Defense personnel working in area hospitals, and in case a need to reopen to patients occurs going forward.

Construction Activity: Mayor Jim Kenney today announced an Executive Order detailing the resumption of construction activity in Philadelphia, in light of the Governor’s order allowing resumption statewide on Friday, May 1. Under the order, construction activity may resume in the City on May 1 within strict limitations appropriate to the situation and the need to limit the spread of COVID-19. These limitations include:

  • All projects with currently issued construction permits can resume or start construction on Friday, May 1 at 7:00 am except underpinning, demolition of attached structures, and/or projects that require support of an existing party wall.
  • No work is permitted within any occupied dwelling unit, except emergency repairs.
  • In multi-family buildings, no work is permitted within any occupied dwelling unit or within any shared common area, except emergency repairs.
  • Work can only take place between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for emergency repairs.
  • Each Contractor must appoint a Pandemic Safety Officer who must obtain COVID-19 training certificate from OSHA here or here.
  • Each contractor must maintain a COVID-19 Safety Plan at the work site and comply with all Commonwealth and City orders related to COVID-19, and the Governor’s April 23, 2020 “Guidance for Businesses in the Construction Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency.”
  • For permitted work on one and two-family dwellings, no more than four workers are permitted on-site at any time per dwelling unit.
  • No more than four workers may work at a commercial site or portion thereof that is enclosed and less than 2,000 square feet; one additional worker is allowed for each additional 500 square feet of enclosed area over 2,000 square feet.
  • All construction permit applications filed on or after the Order must be applied for, approved, paid for, and issued online and only those permits issued on-line may start construction.
  • Permits for projects that require ZBA action cannot be issued until further notice.

Complaints about possible violations of the Order can be made by calling 3-1-1. Copies of the Order are available to members of the media on request.

Concurrent with this order, the Mayor announced that the City’s Board of Health will consider new regulations that increase the fines for violations of such activity. Details will be announced at a later date.

Golf Courses Reopening: Golf courses in Philadelphia will be able to resume operations as early as this Friday, May 1, in accordance with Governor Wolf’s updated order. Those courses that choose to reopen must follow the guidelines for outdoor recreation issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and shared by the state earlier this week. Five City-owned golf courses and two driving ranges will reopen Friday, with strict guidelines in place. Failure to comply with these rules and restrictions may result in removal from the course. Additional rules and restrictions at City-run golf courses include, but are not limited to:

  • There will be limited access to the putting greens with no more than four players permitted at a time.
  • All players must practice social distancing and maintain a minimum distance of six feet from each other as well as employees at all times.
  • At sites where golf carts are operating, only one player is allowed per cart, with a maximum of two carts allowed per tee time.
  • There will be no clubhouse or restroom access.
  • Food and beverage service will be limited to pre-paid drinks and pre-packaged snacks.
  • All rakes and ball washers have been removed from course.
  • No player should touch the flagsticks—all holes have been raised so balls do not go into the hole.
  • All carts will be sanitized after each use by golf course staff.
  • Masks are suggested for customers in accordance with state and local guidelines.
  • All employees will practice social distancing and maintain a distance of six feet from all customers and staff members at all times.
  • All employees will wear a mask while on the property.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided to employees and customers as available.

The City-run sites reopening this week are Cobbs Creek Golf Course  and Karakung Golf Course (same location), Walnut Lane Golf Course, John F. Byrne Golf Course, Juniata Golf Course, Burholme Golf Driving Range (miniature golf will not open), and Strawberry Green Driving Range (aka 33rd and Oxford Driving Range). Visit Parks & Recreation’s website for an up to date list of facilities’ opening status and hours of operation.

Testing Sites: A list of available testing sites is provided on the City’s website. Click on “Where Can Someone Get Tested?” The list includes private testing sites being run by hospital systems and other organizations across the city, as well as public testing sites.If individuals are not able to get tested through their medical provider or do not have a medical provider, they can be tested at a public testing site.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health, along with the Health Federation of Philadelphia, is working with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in Philadelphia to expand testing capabilities in underserved communities. Recommended criteria for testing eligibility at the sites are:

  • Age 50+ and symptomatic.
  • People under 50 who are at high risk for severe illness due to chronic conditions and are symptomatic.
  • Health care workers (defined broadly) who are symptomatic or are asymptomatic with close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

The City-run location in Center City continues to serve those who are over the age of 50 and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, as well as health care workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus. The site is available by appointment only and a referral is required. Those who meet the criteria and want a test can call (267) 491-5870 to obtain a referral.

COVID-19 Resources:

Governor Wolf Unveils Plan for PA’s COVID-19 Recovery

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf provide an address on COVID-19 relief, reopening the economy, and recovery efforts.

News Release from https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/

Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced a Plan for Pennsylvania that will provide citizens and businesses relief, allow for a safe and expedient reopening, and lay a road to recovery from the challenges and hardships created by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

“I asked for you to close schools and businesses, cancel large events, stay at home, all in an effort to simply keep our friends, our neighbors, our families, our coworkers, alive,” said Gov. Wolf. “I will be forever grateful for your courage, compassion, and speed. Despite uncertainty, Pennsylvanians acted collectively, not because of any order, but because we care deeply for each other. Now I am asking again for you to believe in our Commonwealth.”

Relief for Pennsylvanians

The Wolf Administration has taken broad and far-reaching actions to help meet the short- and long-term needs of individual Pennsylvanians in the face of this unprecedented pandemic. Ensuring that Pennsylvanians from all walks of life have access to the resources they need has been and will continue to be a top priority of the governor.

Food Insecurity

  • Worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that individuals in need of food no longer need to complete cumbersome paperwork and income verification to prove they are eligible for or in need.
  • Extended Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) certification periods for six months to prevent SNAP case closures.
  • Begun to issue emergency allotments to all SNAP households for March and April 2020, increasing the current monthly allotment.
  • Lifted burdensome requirements for the State Food Purchase Program to provide flexibility in determining eligibility.
  • Partnered with United Way PA 211 to make available a comprehensive list of COVID-19-specific food resources.
  • Launched a partnership with Operation BBQ Relief and the Salvation Army to deliver more than 700,000 meals to all corners of the commonwealth.
  • Boosted food bank supplies by directing $2.6 million to charitable food programs through the Neighborhood Assistance Program.
  • Procured 750,000 shelf-stable meals through the Defense Logistics Agency to food banks and senior home-delivered meal programs.
  • Worked to ensure that free school meal programs are transitioned into take-home or community distribution programs to meet food and nutrition needs of students.
  • The PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has repurposed staff to provide additional workforce capacity for food banks across the state struggling to attract volunteers.

Student Loan Debt

  • Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, temporarily stopping monthly payments through September 30, 2020. Payments can still be made if borrowers choose.
  • The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is notifying borrowers that forbearance for the American Education Services (AES) and commercial loan portfolio is available upon request through September 30, 2020.

Individuals Who Have Been Furloughed, Laid Off, or Have Reduced Hours

In addition to regular state Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits, which provide roughly half of an individual’s full-time weekly income up to $572 per week, the federal CARES Act expanded UC benefits through several new programs:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expands benefits to gig-economy workers, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals who are otherwise ineligible for UC.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (FPUC) provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular UC benefits, to all UC recipients.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides an additional 13 weeks of UC benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular 26 weeks of benefits, for a total of 39 weeks of coverage.

Individuals Who Are Uninsured or Underinsured

  • Announced all major health insurers providing comprehensive medical coverage in the commonwealth will cover medically appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic testing and associated treatment for consumers and have committed to waive any cost-sharing for the testing.
  • In addition, many auto and homeowners insurers are giving money back to drivers who are spending less time on the road and placing moratoriums on canceling policies amid financial hardships.
  • Made telehealth the preferred delivery method for medically necessary health care services for physical health, behavioral health, and substance use disorder services and explained that telephone only services may be used where video technology is not available. All Medical Assistance services delivered via telehealth are being reimbursed at the same level as in-person services.
  • Established a 24/7 mental health crisis line that received more than 1,300 calls in the first 10 days.

Students and Families

In this time of unprecedented school closures, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has worked with Intermediate Units (IUs) throughout the commonwealth to develop and implement continuity of education plans to ensure seniors graduate, students can be promoted to the next grade, and all students continue to have access to remote learning through the remainder of the academic year. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has:

  • Coordinated with rural communities to provide access to roving wifi buses to meet the internet and remote learning needs of students without internet access.
  • Partnered with the statewide leads for PBS to offer communities with limited internet access use of free instructional programming that is being broadcast by all of Pennsylvania’s PBS affiliates.
  • The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has worked with local communities to identify and stand up child care facilities for children of health care workers, first responders, and other essential employees to ensure they can continue to respond to the COVID-19 disaster while knowing their children are being cared for.

Relief for Businesses

Pennsylvania’s businesses are in an unprecedented position, many shuttered across the state to protect against the spread of the deadly coronavirus, others changing their entire business plans around to help meet the many needs of people across the state.

Many businesses have had to furlough or lay off employees, and others that have relied on in-person transactions have had to move to remote platforms overnight. While the needs are varied among the business community, the severity of the impact of the coronavirus on the overall economy is, and will remain, unforeseen for some time.

The Wolf Administration has worked diligently with federal, state, and local government partners, the business community, and other critical external partners to ensure businesses can avail themselves of all the tools available to offer a modicum of relief in the face of this crisis.

Department of Revenue

The Department of Revenue (DOR) has extended tax filing deadlines to assist with short-term liquidity for businesses. DOR has also worked to reduce or suspend enforcement actions, including liens filed will be reduced; bank attachment actions will not be taken; license inspections, revocations, and citations will be limited; and tax clearance requirements will be the more lenient debt collector standards. DOR is also providing flexible terms for new payment plans allowing up to $12,000 for up to one year.

Department of Community and Economic Development

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) made more than $60 million available for small businesses through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program.

Although the funds were depleted in four days and the department received more than 900 applications, we are looking at ways to recapitalize the program given its need as a bridge to federal stimulus funds.

DCED has also allowed for three-month loan payment deferrals for loans administered by the department.

Banks and Mortgage Servicers

In alignment with federal CARES Act, Pennsylvania banks and mortgage servicers are implementing 60-day foreclosure moratoriums and 180-day forbearances on all federally backed loans. In addition, there is now a 120-day moratorium on evictions from properties with federally backed loans.

The PA State Treasury, the PA Department of Banking and Securities, and the PA Housing and Finance Agency have come together to develop a series of relief recommendations and are working collaboratively with banks and other creditors to push for broad flexibilities and relief actions to assist businesses and consumers across the state.

Federal CARES Act

With the passage of the federal CARES Act, businesses of all shapes and sizes will be able to access billions of dollars in federal resources to assist with everything from payroll support, more favorable loan terms, and fully refundable tax credits for businesses that are trying to keep workers employed while keeping their doors are shut to the public.

Relief for Health Care Systems and Providers

The Wolf Administration has undertaken every possible effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and ensure our health care system, and the providers that make up its fabric, can withstand the ramp-up, surge, and aftermath of this deadly pandemic.

While hospitals and health systems have been promised significant financial aid from the federal government, many are facing financial strain now and need relief before those dollars become fully available. The Wolf Administration has taken steps to provide that immediate relief.

  • Established the Pennsylvania Hospital Emergency Loan Program (HELP) to provide up to $450 million from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST) in critical working capital bridge funding at a very low interest rate to Pennsylvania’s hospitals.
  • Spreading the word about the federal government’s expansion of the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for Providers and Suppliers, which provides necessary funds when there is a disruption in claims submission or processing. The expansion of this program extends to a broader group of Medicare Part A providers and Part B suppliers. The federal government announced that they have approved over $51 billion for providers across the country in the first week of the expansion program.
  • Worked closely with the General Assembly to transfer $50 million in state funds to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency workers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow for payments for direct-support providers to assist people with disabilities in hospital settings where they may need support beyond that provided by hospital staff.
  • Signed an Executive Order that allows the state to transfer personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies between health care facilities should it become necessary as the coronavirus pandemic worsens to ensure that all health care providers have access to PPE and critical supplies and that if supplies need to be redistributed to meet the needs of communities hardest hit by the virus, it can be done efficiently and as quickly as possible.
  • Supplied over 1.8 million N95 masks, 136,000 gowns, 912,000 procedure masks, 730,000 gloves, 990 goggles, and 147,000 face shields to health care workers.
  • Waived requirements to allow for retired medical professionals to quickly reactivate their licenses in order to bolster the capacity of the health care workforce.
  • Worked with medical schools across the commonwealth to allow Graduate Medical Trainees (GMTs) to obtain their GMT licenses upon graduation.
  • Extended license renewal deadlines, and waived additional administrative requirements for new and temporary health care licensees, so that practitioners do not have to worry about their license status during the emergency.
  • Working to limit the scope of potential liability for health care providers resulting from the care of patients during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Contracted with ECRI, an independent, nonprofit health services research organization, to enlist experts in the field of infection control to help protect those in the state’s long-term care facilities.
  • Collaborating with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation to support personal care homes and assisted living residences to provide information about infectious disease management protocols and resident care requirements.
  • Partnering with university health systems to staff a phone line designed to answer specific COVID-19 related questions for these facilities and to provide real time support.

Businesses across the commonwealth have pivoted from current business models to manufacture or produce personal protective equipment (PPE), gowns, masks, and other critical supplies meant to assist individuals and communities in responding to COVID-19.

Reopening Pennsylvania

With new case counts showing that these aggressive efforts have flattened the curve, the governor and his administration will begin to plan for a reopening process that protects Pennsylvanians and helps to stabilize the economy. The administration will work with economic and public health experts to determine the metrics used for safe reopening by taking a regional, sector-based approach.

In consultation with Team PA, the Department of Health, the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and others, the administration will develop guidance for businesses, local governments, workers, customers, and others and guide a safe reopening process.

Standards

  • Our approach will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopenings in Pennsylvania.
  • We will put forth guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities for assured accountability as we reopen.
  • Reopening necessitates that adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing are available.
  • Reopening requires a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to be deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
  • Protections for vulnerable populations must remain steadfast throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  • Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.

Recovery for Pennsylvanians

Developing a recovery framework and programs that make a difference for the people of Pennsylvania is paramount. That framework must include, at a minimum:

  • Fair, family-sustaining wages for all Pennsylvanians.
  • Expand worker protection for workers following Department of Health orders or guidance from health care providers to isolate and quarantine.
  • Expand paid sick and family and medical leave policies.
  • Expansion of safe, affordable, and high-quality child care.
  • Strengthen the Unemployment and Workers Compensation Insurance systems.
  • Funding and flexibility to support continuity of education and continued active distance learning (including planned instruction and enrichment) for all students, including a focus on equity and students with special needs.
  • Accountability and transparency for spending and dispensation of federal, state, and local resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Expand student loan forgiveness and repayment programs, particularly focusing on debt relief for individuals who are the front lines of responding the COVID-19 disaster.
  • Expand rapid re-employment programs to support laid off workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19-related business closures.

Accountability and transparency for spending and dispensation of federal, state, and local resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recovery for Businesses

While the plan for long-term recovery still lies ahead, there are already lessons learned from this disaster that allow us to put markers down for where we need to go once the disaster subsides. There is still much we do not know, including when businesses can begin to reopen safely. But the broad contours of a policy agenda in the future must include the following:

  • Developing an evidence-based state innovation strategy that allows Pennsylvania to attract the best and brightest people and companies.
  • Vigorous financial support for small businesses, both short term to limit the number of businesses that would otherwise have to close their doors for good while we shelter in place, and long term as small businesses restructure and recover in a post-COVID-19 economy.
  • Economic development incentives to attract companies willing to create and retain good-paying jobs.
  • Investments in our manufacturing industry who has risen to the challenge of meeting some of our most pressing and immediate needs, including tax credits for manufacturers who convert or retrofit their facilities or operations in order to produce personal protective equipment to help with the COVID-19 response.
  • Investment, upgrade, and extension of Pennsylvania’s broadband network to ensure all Pennsylvanians have access to the internet. This includes resources for students/families/workers and/or incentivizing businesses to expand access to broadband to support remote learning and job search activities.
  • Investments in our diverse agriculture industry, robust food processing sector, farmers markets, and the many industries that support a safe food supply. While this industry is life-sustaining, it has suffered a severe disruption in its supply chain, and recovery must ensure the certainty and future of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry to continue to produce a safe, secure food supply.
  • Support for non-profit organizations.

Recovery for Health Care Systems and Providers

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the fragmentations within our health systems. Pennsylvania has banned together to support and equip our hospitals and medical professionals with the tools they need to respond, but our recovery is dependent upon long-term policy change. A policy agenda to support the health and recovery of Pennsylvania’s residents must include:

  • Health care coverage for all Pennsylvanians that is affordable and transparent, and a system that allows for choice in coverage.
  • Ensuring the protections of the Affordable Care Act are in place at the state level, to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions, including Pennsylvanians recovered from COVID-19, can obtain full coverage and not worry about lifetime or annual caps on coverage should they need further care.
  • Making sure that patients who seek out in-network care aren’t surprised with a bill for treatment by an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.
  • Requiring transparency in short-term limited duration insurance products and protecting consumers who need to fill an unexpected gap in coverage.
  • Continue to cut bureaucratic red tape and make it easier for new Pennsylvanians, including military spouses, with an out-of-state occupational license to work. Greater flexibility is needed in licensure requirements for a broad set of out of state practitioners interested in providing care in Pennsylvania.
  • Continued telehealth expansion and adoption of telehealth as a primary mode of health care delivery for physical and mental health services as well as substance use disorder treatment. New telehealth policy should be inclusive of accessible modes of communication such as telephonic delivery when other means are unavailable. Additionally, telehealth services should be reimbursed at the same rates as if the services were delivered in person.
  • Significant increases in housing services and investment in low-income housing development to reduce the number of Pennsylvanians unable to be safely discharged due to lack of shelter and to promote health and wellness in community settings.
  • Continued prioritization of home and community-based services to reduce congregate placements for children, individuals with disabilities, and seniors.
  • Increased and more formalized role for community-based organizations in health and wellness activities and health care delivery. This pandemic has made clear that health does not begin and end in the doctor’s office, let alone in a hospital, and Pennsylvania’s community-based organizations have an important role to play.

For more information on the Governor’s Plan for Pennsylvania visit www.governor.pa.gov/plan-for-pennsylvania/.

Found In Translation – The Essentials

WPPM Producer and host of Found In Translation, Ray Collazo and Sulaih Picorelli are joined by Dr. Amit Kharod and Ebelyss Martinez to discuss the state of healthcare and healthcare workers during COVID19 season. UnidosUS Carlos Guevara also updates us on life for immigrants during crisis. FIT airs on WPPM FM every Tuesday at 11am.

Listen online – Found In Translation is also available on Apple Podcasts.

Mayor Kenney Press Conference for April 17, 2020

Video of the City of Philadelphia COVID-19 Press Briefing for April 17, 2020 with remarks by Mayor Jim Kenney and Public Health Director, Dr. Tom Farley. The Press briefing is in English and Spanish.

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health today announced 518 additional presumptive confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 8,563.

The Department of Public Health again noted clusters of positive cases in congregate settings, including nursing homes, behavioral health facilities, and the Department of Prisons. Thirteen additional inmates have tested positive. The current total of positive cases at correctional facilities is 63.

The Department of Public Health confirmed 34 additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 298. Of the 298 total deaths, 149 (50%) were long-term care facility residents.

The Department of Public Health reports 852 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of 1,633 people hospitalized in the region (including Philadelphia).

Labor Agreement: Mayor Kenney today announced that the City has reached a tentative agreement on a one-year contract extension with International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 22. This comes in addition to similar extensions with FOP Lodge 5 and District Council 47. Negotiations with District Council 33 are continuing. The current contracts with all four municipal worker unions expire at the end of June.

“The men and women of the Philadelphia Fire Department have been on the frontlines of our response to COVID-19,” said Mayor Kenney. “I am glad that we’ve been able to give them this peace of mind at a very trying time. This extension will allow all of us to get through this unprecedented public health crisis, and next year we’ll have a better sense of what will work for a longer-term deal.”

U.S. Treasury Coronavirus Relief Fund: Mayor Kenney today announced that the City of Philadelphia has submitted its application to the U.S. Treasury for a grant from the State and Local Government Stabilization Fund, part of the federal CARES Act. The Stabilization Fund provides direct funding to states and cities to support these governments with expenditures related to COVID recovery.

The amount each municipality gets is calculated by a formula based on population. Based on that formula, the City anticipates receiving funds to cover upwards of $276 million in COVID-related expenses, with the first of two installments expected this month.

“These funds will help Philadelphia cover some of what have already become tremendous expenses as we rush to halt the spread of this virus in the city,” said the Mayor. “But as thankful as we are to be eligible for this assistance, we need more action from Congress and the White House to help us. Philadelphia and other cities are staring at a tremendously dire economic outlook. With tax revenues dropping, we are facing the potential of drastic cuts in City services – and we hope new federal aid could help us avoid some of those cuts. We urge both the White House and Congress to move with haste in approving further aid.”

PHL COVID-19 Fund Update: The PHL COVID-19 Fund has secured $13.8 million in gifts and pledges to date. The Pfizer Foundation contributed $250,000 towards the effort this week. Yesterday the PHL COVID-19 Fund announced its second round of grants, awarding more than $2.5 million to 79 non-profit organizations serving on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. Over $4.8 million has been distributed to 123 nonprofit organizations that are providing vital services to individuals facing the wide-ranging and urgent consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

“Philadelphians and our neighbors across the region continue to come together to support each other during these difficult times,” said Mayor Kenney. “Thank you to the 3,300 people who have already chipped in and donated what they can towards this effort. These generous contributions from individuals, families, and organizations truly demonstrate the spirit and capacity of the entire Philadelphia region.”

Philly 311 Hours: Philly311’s contact center remains open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m Monday through Friday and will also be open extended hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m the following two weekends on April 18 and 19 and April 25 and 26. Residents can place a service request by calling 3-1-1 or dialing (215) 686-8686 or through submitting service requests online. Language translation services are available.

Testing Sites: The City-run location in Center City continues to serve those who are over the age of 50 and are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus, as well as health care workers who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 coronavirus. The site is available by appointment only and a referral is required. Those who meet the criteria and want a test can call (267) 491-5870 to obtain a referral.

There are also more than 20 private testing sites across the city run by hospital systems and other organizations.

COVID-19 Resources: