COVID-19 Update 11 May 2020

COVID-19 Update 11 May 2020

Federal 

Mnuchin open to easing limits on small businesses coronavirus loans

  • Today Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that he is willing to work with Congress to address issues in the PPP program for small businesses. 
  • Mnuchin also said he was open to making a “technical fix” to aid businesses that may not be able to open soon even under loosening social distancing rules, including restaurants. 

New York State will begin with testing nursing home staffer twice a week 

  • New York State will no longer allow discharging patients to nursing homes unless they test negative for COVID-19, and staffers in those facilities must also be tested for the virus twice a week. 
  • These changes come after the state originally issued a directive requiring nursing homes to take on new residents infected with COVID-19 — an order that critics said accelerated outbreaks in facilities that are prime breeding grounds for infectious diseases. 

White House pushes states to test 2 percent of their populations for coronavirus

  • At a briefing today, President Trump revealed a plan to help states test at least 2 percent of their population for the coronavirus in May. This accounts to 12.9 million tests conducted in May. 
  • To meet this goal, the federal government is providing states with 12.9 million swabs and nearly 10 million tubes of chemicals used to transport samples.
  • The White House also revealed that it will distribute $11 billion from the CARES Act to support testing to states based on a formula that considers the prevalence of the coronavirus in states and their overall populations.

State 

COVID-19 update: 57,154 cases in all 67 counties and 3,731 confirmed fatalities.

Pa. Department of Health to release details about coronavirus in nursing homes by the end of this week

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health will release details about COVID-19 at specific nursing homes across the state by the end of the week, as more than two-thirds of the Coronavirus deaths have been in long term care facilities.
  • Secretary Levine was asked about plans announced Sunday in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo said all nursing-home employees must now be tested twice a week for the coronavirus. She said the Department of Health is working on its plans, and they will also be released this week.

Wolf: Counties that reopen in defiance of stay home orders are ‘surrendering’ to COVID-19

  • Gov. Wolf said that counties and businesses that defy stay-at-home orders would risk losing discretionary funding from the CARES Act, and would be putting their state-issued licenses, occupancy permits, and their insurance at risk. Restaurants that reopen for dine-in service in counties that have not been authorized to reopen will be at risk of losing their liquor license.
  • Over the weekend, officials in several counties believed that their low case count should allow them to reopen announced plans to reopen. These include Beaver and Lancaster county.

PA Education Secretary tells lawmakers  ‘It is fully our intent’ to have physical instruction in fall

  • Today Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera testified in front of lawmakers during a hearing on reopening schools and other facilities. He told lawmakers that the department will be working with school districts to prepare for a wide range of options for what instruction in the fall will look like, ranging from staggered schedules to in-person classes with social distance measures in place.
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Board Officers said in a report released last month that districts across the state would be in line for a $1 billion loss in revenue. This loss in revenue could deepen if the General Assembly approves a freeze on property taxes.

City 

COVID-19 Update: 18,313 confirmed cases and 893 confirmed deaths.

How much Philadelphia-area hospitals are getting in federal money for treating coronavirus patients

  • Temple University received $50 million in the latest round of relief funds under the CARES Act. This is twice as much as it received in last month’s allocations. Temple said that it is losing $40 million a month because of lost revenue from nonurgent care and pandemic costs. 
  • Temple and Cooper University Hospital received the most funds in part due to the change in how the federal government will be allocating funds. Previously, funding was based on Medicare billings. Last week federal regulators awarded another $12 billion based on COVID-10 patient loads, which helps states and cities that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19.

Cash assistance program for Philadelphia residents begins taking applications

  • The city is offering an Emergency Assistance Program for families with children who were working and experienced the loss of a job or income due to COVID-19. This is part of the state’s effort to help individuals during this time.
  • Families that qualify will be able to get a one-time grant of approximately $400-$1,200, based on their family size.
  • The emergency assistance application is available online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Families should be prepared to submit all necessary documentation with their application to expedite processing and avoid having to apply again. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, May 11 through June 12 or until all funds are expended. 

Facebook gives Philly media half a million dollars to focus on what’ll really save local news

  • As part of an emergency grant funding program, administered nationwide by the Philly-based nonprofit Lenfest Institute, the social media giant last week awarded $16 million to more than 200 North American media companies. $465,000 went to seven news outlets in Philadelphia. 

Good News of the Day

Obamas to Give Virtual Commencement Speeches for Students in Class of 2020, After Teen Asked Them on Twitter

Via The Good News Network –

This year has been a disappointing one for many high school seniors, who have seen their proms and graduation ceremonies canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, they will have something to look forward to because Los Angeles High School senior Lincoln Debenham took to Twitter last month asking former President Barack Obama to give a national commencement address to graduates across the country.

A YouTube special, called “Dear Class of 2020,” will take place on June 6, but it won’t be just an ordinary commencement speech.

It has turned into a star-studded event featuring appearances by Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai.

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