Wolf Administration COVID-19 Announcements:
Protecting the Health Care System, New Traveler Testing Order, Strengthened
Masking Order, Recommendations for Colleges and Universities
Harrisburg, PA– As Pennsylvania experiences a resurgence of
COVID-19 cases with significantly higher daily case counts than in the
spring and hospitalizations on the rise, the Wolf Administration has identified
four new mitigation efforts, which Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced
is our collective responsibility to protect our communities and our most
vulnerable Pennsylvanians from COVID-19 and to continue to work together to get
through this pandemic. These targeted mitigation efforts, combined with
existing ones, are paramount to saving lives and protecting our economy,” Gov.
Wolf said. “The administration will continue to monitor the risks posed by
COVID-19 across the commonwealth and will reinstate or institute new targeted
mitigation tactics as necessary.”
efforts announced today include:
Protecting Our Health Care System
Levine issued a memorandum to acute
care hospitals outlining expectations to care for Pennsylvanians who need care
during the pandemic.
are to work through the established health care coalitions and other partnerships
to prepare for how they will support one another in the event that a hospital
becomes overwhelmed during the pandemic. Hospitals should also be working to
move up elective procedures necessary to protect a person’s health and prepare
to suspend them if our health care system becomes strained.
on elective surgeries put into effect in March and lifted in April were to help
with both PPE and bed capacity and were considered successful.
are increasing, as are ICU patients, and according to modeling from the
Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, which does not take into account
hospitalizations from influenza, Pennsylvania will run out of intensive care
beds in December if ICU admissions continue at the current rate.
same modeling indicates we will have sufficient medical-surgical beds with some
uncertainty as to capacity from region to region.
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.
someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days
upon arrival in Pennsylvania.
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.
order, which takes effect on Friday, November 20, does not apply to people who
commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.
Strengthened Masking Order
Levine first issued a masking order on April 15. The order signed today
strengthens this initial order with these inclusions:
- Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away
from your home.
- When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain
physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your
household the entire time you are outdoors.
- When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically
distant from members not in your household. This means that even if
you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while
inside if with people other than members of your household.
- This order applies to every indoor facility, including homes,
retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and
anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.
Colleges and Universities
departments of Health and Education issued recommendations for
colleges and universities to implement a testing plan for when students return
to campus following the holidays.
recommendations include establishing routine protocols for testing.
and universities should have adequate capacity for isolation and quarantine and
should be prepared to enforce violations of established policies such as mask
wearing and physical distancing.
college and university should test all students at the beginning of each term,
when returning to campus after a break and to have regular screening testing
throughout the semester/term.
must remain united in stopping COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said. “Wear a mask, wash
your hands, stay apart and download the COVID Alert PA app. If you test
positive, please answer the call of the case reviewer and provide information
that can help protect others. It’s the selfless, right thing to do.”