COVID-19: Philadelphia to lift certain COVID-19 bans on 1-15-21

Earlier today, January 12, 2021, the Kenney Administration announced that Philadelphia will lift its ban on theaters, indoor dining, and in-person college instruction on January 15, 2021.

Theaters will able to reopen, with a maximum audience of 5% of total capacity or 5 people per 1,000 square feet, including both attendees and staff. Food and drink will not be allowed, and all guests must wear masks.

Restaurants will be permitted to have indoor dining for 25% of their seating capacity.

Colleges and universities will now be allowed to resume in-person instruction.

Other indoor gatherings, indoor recreational sports, indoor catered events and senior day services will remain in restricted status for the moment.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Sharon Caffrey, Eve Klein or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: Vaccines to arrive in NJ on Tuesday 12-15-20 – Who will Receive them First?

As the Pfizer FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines begin to arrive in NJ on 12-15-20, the burning question on some people’s minds is who will be getting inoculated first?

Per the NJ Health Commissioner, vaccines will be distributed to almost anyone who works in the healthcare field. The list of eligible recipients is intentionally broad.

Vaccinations will take place at 6 regional hospitals, including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Cooper University Hospital in Camden, University Health in Newark, AtlantiCare and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick

The list of those at the front of the line includes any “licensed healthcare worker” in the state of New Jersey, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists and occupational therapists, as well as anyone on their staff, such as receptionists.

The list of eligible healthcare workers includes:

– Community health workers such as midwives and doulas
– Dialysis center workers
– Environmental service workers
– Funeral care and autopsy workers
– Homeless shelter workers and residents
– Hospice facility staff
– Lab technicians
– Mortuary service workers, consultants or contractors who deal with medical services but who may not work in an actual medical office,
– Medical marijuana facilities
– Paramedics, EMTs and first-aid responders.
– Rehabilitation staff
– Residents and workers in psychiatric hospitals
– Unpaid workers like students who are studying in hospitals
– Visiting nurses, nurses who work at assisted living homes
– Workers and residents at group homes and assisted-living complexes
– Workers at family planning sites.

Per NJ BIZ, there are 650,000 New Jersey residents who fit into one of those above categories. It does not mean all 650,000 will get the vaccine in December: The state of New Jersey has 76,050 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to give in the first round.

Those who live in long-term care facilities will also start receiving their first round of the vaccine this week.  More than 20,000 doses will go to long-term care facilities and 54,000 will go to hospitals, which will be the only points of dispensing this week.

 All 6 hospitals receiving the vaccine have arctic-level, subzero freezers in place to store the vaccines.  Very soon, however, 53 acute-care hospitals in New Jersey will also have the Pfizer vaccine.

A second vaccine from Moderna is expected to receive Food & Drug Administration approval later this week.

18 acute care hospitals will receive the Moderna vaccine likely by the beginning of next week. The Moderna vaccine does not need to be kept at such a cold temperature as the Pfizer vaccine.

By way of comparison, the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius while the Moderna vaccine may be stored at -20 degrees Celsius.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Sharon Caffrey, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: PA Adopts CDC 10 day Quaratine timing for Travel

Per PA Department of Health guidelines posted on Friday, December 5, 2020, PA is lowering the COVID-19 quarantine period that out-of-state travelers will need to observe. The new guidance, in line with CDC recommendations, reduces the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 days.

Under the new guidance, travelers to PA should self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19 or if testing is not available. They should also self-quarantine for 7 days after travel even if they test negative. Note that the self-quarantining is suggested rather than mandatory.

Recommended timing for tests per the CDC are to get a test between 1 and 3 days before the trip, and between 3 to 5 days after the trip.

In November, the Department of Health provided an updated travel order requiring anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering. Travel quarantine guidance was changed to 10 days last Friday, on Dec. 5 based on new CDC guidance.

The PA order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment, those who left the state for less than 24 hours, and those complying with a court order, including child custody.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Linda B. Hollinshead, Elisabeth Bassani, Sharon Caffrey, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: PA announces Emergency Assistance Program (“EAP”) for lower income families

Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today announced on May 8, 2020, an Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) to help low-income families who lost wages experiencing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families who qualify will be eligible for a one-time payment to assist them in meeting basic needs and help them secure more stable financial footing in the future.

The program will use existing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to provide support to low-income families who qualify. The program will be open to families with a child under the age of 18 or a woman who is currently pregnant.

In order to qualify, families must have at least one person in the household who was employed as of March 11, 2020 and experienced an hour or wage reduction of at least 50 percent for two weeks or more or lost employment entirely due to the public health crisis.

Families must meet income limits of 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and have no more than $1,000 in a savings or checking account.

Household               Monthly Income                Annual Income Limit
1                                           $1,595                                            $19,140
2                                           $2,155                                            $25,860
3                                           $2,715                                            $32,580
4                                           $3,275                                            $39,300
5                                           $3,835                                            $46,020
6                                           $4,395                                            $52,740
7                                           $4,955                                            $59,460
8                                           $5,515                                            $66,180
9                                          $6,075                                             $72,900
10                                        $6,635                                             $79,620
Each + Person                    $560                                               $6,720

Qualifying families will be issued a one-time grant equal to two months of TANF benefits. The average monthly TANF grant for a family of three is $403, so a qualifying family of three would receive a one-time grant of $806 through the program. Information on monthly grants by household size and county is available online here. Funds will be issued through an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.

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.

Secretary Miller also provided an update on the number of public assistance applications received by DHS. Applications are generally down from where they were before County Assistance Offices began to close in Pennsylvania. Applications did begin to increase to pre-closure levels towards the second half of April but are declining again.

Pennsylvanians can apply for Medicaid, the EAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other public assistance programs at any time through DHS’ online COMPASS application at www.compass.state.pa.us.

Those who prefer to submit paper applications can mail documents to their local County Assistance Office (CAO) or leave documents in a CAO’s secure drop box, if available. CAOs are still closed to the public, but mail and drop boxes are being monitored so applications can be processed.

Visit pa.gov for a “Responding to COVID-19” guide or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Eve Klein, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA Outlines Plans to Create a Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (“CCCC”)

As Pennsylvania plans to safely reopen the economy and recover from COVID-19, Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (“CCCC”), a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector.

Per Governor Wolf, “the CCCC will serve as a public service program that will expand our ability to conduct contact tracing and testing and mobilize Pennsylvanians to contain COVID-19.”

The Wolf Administration’s continued efforts to reopen Pennsylvania will, in its own words, depend on its ability to expand the availability of COVID-19 testing and develop a robust infrastructure to conduct surveillance and contact tracing. This work will allow Pennsylvanians to effectively monitor and respond to new cases and quantify mitigation efforts.

As PA plans to ramp up these efforts in the coming months, the CCCC would help bring these efforts to fruition by:

• Partnering with local public health agencies, community organizations, and the nonprofit community to expand Pennsylvania’s existing testing and contract tracing initiatives;

• Leveraging additional resources to fund testing and contact tracing initiatives;

• Exploring creative ways to recruit experienced Pennsylvanians with health care and public health experience to support this initiative; and

• Coordinating existing resources deployed by the commonwealth, including community health nurses and county health departments who are currently conducting testing and contact tracing throughout the state.

The CCCC is also hoped to provide for a unique opportunity for PA to recruit and train COVID-19-impacted dislocated and unemployed workers into public service for contact tracing roles, which would address Pennsylvania’s health and economic needs.

To foster this new workforce, the CCCC would:

• Engage partners in the workforce development system, existing allied health training programs, and AmeriCorps programs to build and strengthen a public health workforce across the commonwealth;

• Leverage existing workforce development resources to recruit, train, and connect the public health workforce with employment opportunities; and

• Engage public health and health care employers to connect trained workers with long-term career opportunities.

According to Governor Wolf said. “Through this public service initiative, Pennsylvanians will have opportunities in the months ahead to join a collective effort to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic a stronger Commonwealth.”

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Eve Klein, Sharon Caffrey, Sandra Stoneman or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA – $324 Million Dollars awarded to 31 hospitals under the HELP Program

PA Governor Tom Wolf announced that nearly $324 Million in funding has been awarded to 31 hospitals across the Commonwealth through the “Hospital Emergency Loan Program” or HELP, which provides short-term financial relief as hospitals combat the surge of COVID-19 cases in their area.

“As Pennsylvania continues to practice social distancing, we have successfully flattened the curve, but we know that our fight against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Gov. Wolf. “This funding will allow our hospitals to hold steady in that fight with the peace of mind that they have access to the resources they need to provide critical care to their communities.”

The loan package was made available to the Commonwealth’s hospitals to provide immediate financial support for working capital to ensure that these facilities have sufficient personnel, equipment, and personal protective equipment.

The funding was dispersed by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and is being administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) through the Pennsylvania First Program (PA First).

Pennsylvania health care facilities licensed as hospitals by the Pennsylvania Department of Health under the Health Care Facilities Act of 1979 that are eligible to receive federal grant funding through the CARES Act are eligible for HELP.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Delphine O’Rourke, Sharon Caffrey or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!