COVID-19 Updates 04/23/2020

COVID-19 Updates 04/23/2020

Federal

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House approves $484 Billion Aid Package 

Secretary DeVos Makes Available Over $13 Billion in Emergency Coronavirus Relief to Support Continued Education for K-12 Students

  • In a press release today, Secretary Devos said that “education leaders will have the flexibility to use funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) for immediate needs, such as tools and resources for distance education, ensuring student health and safety, and developing and implementing plans for the next school year.”
  • States must allocate 90% of their funding to go to local school districts. 

McConnell Says He Favors Allowing States to Declare Bankruptcy

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes that he favors allowing states struggling with high public employee pension costs amid the burdens of the pandemic response to declare bankruptcy rather than giving them a federal bailout.
  • He specifically cited California, Illinois, and Connecticut as states that had given too much to public employee unions. Mcconnell also said that he blocked additional state and local aid in the latest relief package that passed on Tuesday. 

 Trump administration begins sending hospital bailout funds for virus hot spots uninsured patients 

  • Health care providers in COVID-19 hotspots will receive $10 billion in CARES Acts funds starting next week. Hospitals will also soon receive money for treating uninsured patients. 
  •  Democrat and Republican lawmakers have been pushing the Department of Health and Human Services to send out the money as soon as possible. 
  • Hospitals in areas with a surge of COVID-19 cases can apply for their share of $10 billion. An additional $10 billion will be sent as early as next week to rural hospitals and health clinics. 
  • $30 billion will also go toward nursing facilities, dentists, providers that only service Medicaid patients. However, HHS has declined to further detail how those funds would be distributed.

Grant Opportunities: Local Initiatives Support Corp Small Business Relief Grants Due Tuesday, April 28th, 11:59 pm 

If you are a client of Bellevue Strategies, please reach out to an associate if you need assistance. 

State 

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COVID-19 update: 37,053 total COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania and 1,421 confirmed deaths.

Today we will focus on Governor Wolf’s “A Plan for Pennsylvania Health care System and Providers” reopening principles. In this plan, Gov. Wolf outlines his policy properties to protect the health of Pennsylvania citizens. These include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Pa. doesn’t have a plan for contact tracing

  • Public Health experts and Gov Wolf have been advocating for more contact tracers in order to safely reopen the economy. 
  • However, Gov. Wolf told reporters “I don’t think, as far as I’m concerned, and the Department of Health is concerned, that we have found the best way to do that. We don’t have a lot of good leads on that at this point.”
  • The state legislature has not taken a lead in introducing legislation to increase and train contact tracers. However, House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler told reporters Wednesday that the program will likely be in the state budget this year, but does not know how much it cost. 

Pandemic claimed 1.5 million Pennsylvania jobs,

  • In the last five weeks, 1.5 million PA citizens or 23% of its workforce have filed for unemployment. 
  • Pennsylvanians last week filed about half the number of applications they submitted during the last week of March when the state’s weekly unemployment filings peaked with more than 400,000 claims.
  • Job losses are most pronounced for workers who are female, older, and less educated who tend to dominate service sector jobs. However, state data on the impact on specific economic sectors is limited. 

Philadelphia

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COVID 19 updates: 11,226 confirmed cases and 443 deaths. 

Coronavirus fallout could devastate Philly schools, cause a billion-dollar deficit
  • In a budget meeting on Thursday, the School District of Philadelphia projected an immediate, $64 million hit to district revenues and a five-year deficit projection of $1 billion. In March, the district was expecting to have $160 million left over to put in the bank for the first time in a while revenue was steady. 
  • The district is budgeting for a major drop in the amount of money it will be receiving from the state government. 
  • “The economic recession resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic…has the potential to erase all of the progress we have made over the last eight years, particularly financially,” said Superintendent William Hite.

Philly adds 12 new coronavirus test sites in neighborhoods across the city

  • Today the city announced that it is opening 12 new coronavirus test sites to expand capacity in underserved neighborhoods.
  • Eight new sites are now operating out of city-owned health clinics. An additional four test operations will begin at privately run health centers within the next week.
  • The criteria to get tested at these new facilities is the same as other sites in that you have to be over the age of 50 and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or be a healthcare worker or first responder.

Good News of the Day

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Indego continues to operate as an essential transit option for Philadelphia 

  • Indego is serving frontline staff and others as they access critical resources. 
  • Bike share stations are located near health centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, and community food pickup sites. 
  • In response to COVID-19, Indego is offering 30-day passes at a discounted price of $5 ($2.50 for PA ACCESS cardholders) for the first month. All monthly pass options provide riders with unlimited 1-hour rides. To sign up, visit www.rideindego.com and use promo code INDESAFE.

Wondering what will be in the next stimulus package or have questions about federal and city grants?

Please join Bellevue Strategies for our 3rd COVID-19 Webinar featuring City councilmember at-large Katherine Gilmore Richardson and Jack Groarke Economic Development Director for the Office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

As part of this webinar, we are asking that you fill out a quick survey so we can tailor our questions to what you need most. Survey link here.  RSVP here.

 

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