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Department of Human Services Creates Online Tool for Essential Workers to Find Child Care Providers with Approved Waivers, Reminds Operating Providers of COVID-19 Safety Recommendations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2020 

Department of Human Services Creates Online Tool for Essential Workers to Find Child Care Providers with Approved Waivers, Reminds Operating Providers of COVID-19 Safety Recommendations

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced a new tool available on the department’s website designed to help essential workers connect with child-care providers that have been granted a waiver by the department’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to continue serving the families of essential personnel during the COVID-19 emergency.

“While many Pennsylvanians are responsibly heeding guidance from the Department of Health to stay home, there are still many thousands of essential workers whose jobs require that they go out into the world and do work that makes it possible for the rest of us to stay safe and healthy. For many of these workers, safe and stable child care is an essential need,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “DHS is committed to maintaining options for these families, and that’s why we implemented a waiver process for child care providers to remain open and serving the children of healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel.”

On March 16, Governor Wolf recommended that all licensed child care centers and group child care homes operating outside of a residence to temporarily close starting Tuesday, March 17. That request has since changed to a mandated order consistent with the governor’s decision to order all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania closed until further notice.

OCDEL continues to receive and process waiver requests for child care centers and group child care homes seeking to continue to operate during this time with the expectation that providers operating with a waiver serve only the families of essential personnel such as health care providers on the front lines, emergency and first responders, home care workers serving vulnerable populations, grocery and food service employees until the governor’s closure order is lifted. 

OCDEL is processing waiver requests based on the information provided in good faith. If a child-care provider reports that they need to remain open in order to serve the families of essential personnel, OCDEL will grant that request. To date, OCDEL has processed and approved more than 700 requests for waivers.

The public can access information about child care providers that have been granted waivers on the department’s website, which includes a map linked on the citizen resource page of the COVID-19 section. DHS encourages essential workers to use this information as a resource to find child care options available in their community. 

Family child care homes and group child care homes operated inside a residence may continue to operate at their discretion without a waiver. Those provider types are defined in regulations and generally serve fewer children than child care centers operated in a commercial setting. The public can access information about these providers at www.findchildcare.pa.gov.

As the non-life-sustaining business closure order is being enforced around Pennsylvania, DHS is also reminding law enforcement agencies that some child care providers may continue to operate. Child care providers operating with a waiver should be prepared to present this waiver if contacted by law enforcement.

DHS is grateful to child care providers who continue to serve the families of essential personnel, and we recognize there is an inherent risk in continuing these operations while we also focus on mitigating the spread of COVID-19. OCDEL has worked with health professionals to provide guidance to help child care providers maintain the health and safety of their staff and children in care. This guidance was distributed earlier this week and is available in the provider guidance section of the COVID-19 page on the DHS website.

Secretary Miller also reminded families that they must have a back up plan in place should their child care provider need to close with short notice. 

“The COVID-19 situation is evolving quickly, and circumstances for child care providers operating with a waiver may change,” said Secretary Miller. “I urge all families who rely on child care to make a back up plan so if that has to happen, your family will be safe and cared for.” 

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.

Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.

A media call on this subject will begin at 11:00 a.m on March 27. Members of the media who are interested may contact Brandon Cwalina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for call-in information.

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James, 717-425-7606

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Pennsylvania Extends License Renewal Deadlines for Nurses and Others During Coronavirus Emergency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2020
 

Pennsylvania Extends License Renewal Deadlines for Nurses and Others During Coronavirus Emergency
 

Harrisburg, PA – In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of State is giving nurses, graduate medical trainees, nursing home administrators and other professionals more time to renew their occupational licenses.

April, May and June license renewal deadlines for these professionals -- as well as for barbers, navigation pilots and real estate professionals -- have been extended to July, August and September.

“The Pennsylvania Department of State is giving many professionals, including nurses, more time to renew their occupational licenses as our commonwealth fights the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “We have already waived some regulations for nursesremoved barriers for pharmacies to provide services, enabled retired health care professionals to practice, and announced that in-state and out-of-state health-care practitioners can treat patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency.” 

The following professional and occupational license renewal deadlines will be extended:

  • Under the State Board of Medicine, the Graduate Medical Trainee license renewal deadline has been extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Nursing, Registered Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner and Prescriptive Authority license renewal deadlines will be extended from April 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020. The Practical Nurse license renewal will be extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators, the nursing home administrator license renewal deadline will be extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Barber Examiners, Barber license renewal will be extended from April 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020.
  • Under the State Navigation Commission, Navigation Pilot license renewal will be extended from May 1, 2020, to July 30, 2020.
  • Under the State Real Estate Commission, renewal deadlines for all license types will be extended from May 31, 2020, to Aug. 29, 2020. 

The Department of State is working with the governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to identify regulations and requirements that can be suspended to give medical providers and facilities the flexibility they need to respond to COVID-19. The Department of State website will be updated regularly as additional requirement suspension information becomes available. 

Visit the commonwealth's Responding to COVID-19 guidefor the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpagefor the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Wanda Murren, (717) 783-1621

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Individuals Who Have Recently Traveled to Pike County from the NYC Metro Area Should Self-Quarantine for 14 Days

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020

Individuals Who Have Recently Traveled to Pike County from the NYC Metro Area Should Self-Quarantine for 14 Days

PA Health Department Urges People Not Under a Stay at Home Order to Refrain from Non-Essential Travel

PIKE COUNTY, PA – Under the latest guidance from The White House Coronavirus Task Force, which cites concern about the high coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rate in the New York City area, the Pike County Commissioners urge everyone who has recently traveled to Pike County from the New York City metropolitan area to self-quarantine for 14 days.

According to Dr. Deborah Birx, Response Coordinator for The White House Coronavirus Task Force, 60% of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States are from the New York City metropolitan area.

“It is critical to the health and safety of everyone that people follow this guidance and take the proper self-quarantine precautions right now,” says Pike County Commissioner Chairman Matthew Osterberg. “We will overcome this public health challenge by working together as a community to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Self-quarantining is intended to separate and restrict the movement of people who were potentially exposed to a contagious disease, such as COVID-19, to determine if they become sick, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. It is an important strategy in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In Pennsylvania, the current travel guidance from the PA Department of Health urges people to “stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.” This guidance currently applies to counties such as Pike, which are not under Governor Wolf’s Stay at Home Order.

Resources for those Under Self Quarantine

· Senior Citizens can contact the Pike County Area Agency on Aging at 570-775-5550 regarding nutrition services.

· PA 211 NE is available to people in need of food, clothing, shelter, drug and alcohol rehab or detox, or crisis intervention. For help, dial 211 or text your zip code to 898211.

· An updated list of Pike County Government public services and resources available remotely can be found at www.PikePA.org.

· Many local restaurants are providing take-out or curbside service, and some supermarkets are offering home delivery. Contact establishments directly for more information.

Follow Proper Protocols

The Pike County Commissioners and the County’s Department of Public Safety are continuing to be in regular contact with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and other involved agencies regarding guidance and protocols related to COVID-19.

The public should continue to follow the proper protocols for COVID-19 prevention.

· Stay Calm. Stay Home. And Stay Safe.

· Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!

· Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

· Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.

· Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

This is an evolving situation. For the latest local information and updates regarding COVID-19, please visit the Pike County Government website at www.PikePA.org and click on the “Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates” icon.

The public can access the latest state and federal information on COVID-19 at:

Health.Pa.gov - the PA Department of Health website.

CDC.gov – the Center for Disease Control website.

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Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Expand ‘Stay at Home’ Order to Lehigh and Northampton Counties to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19, Counties Now Total 10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020
View Online

Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Expand ‘Stay at Home’ Order to Lehigh and Northampton Counties to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19, Counties Now Total 10

Governor Wolf’s Amended Order
Secretary of Health’s Amended Order
Stay at Home Guidance 

Harrisburg, PA – As the state seeks relief to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, today Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised the “Stay at Home” order to include Lehigh and Northampton counties, bringing the state total to 10 counties under the stay-at-home order. The order now includes these 10 counties: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia counties. The amended orders takes effect at 8:00 PM Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.

Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth
  • Anyone performing life-sustaining travel does not need paperwork to prove the reason for travel.

The following operations are exempt:

  • Life-sustaining business activities
  • Health care or medical services providers
  • Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks
  • Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders
  • News media
  • Law enforcement
  • The federal government
  • Religious institutions

Individuals experiencing homelessness are not subject to this order but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.

International students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt and may remain in campus housing.

At this time, law enforcement will be focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement. To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number or the nearest Pennsylvania State Police station. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community and Economic Development to file reports. Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online.

Read Governor Wolf’s original order here or view on Scribd. Read Governor Wolf’s amended order here or view on Scribd.

Read Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s original order here or view on Scribd. Read Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s amended order here or view on Scribd.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndsay Kensinger, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 276 New Positives Bring Statewide Total to 1,127

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 276 New Positives Bring Statewide Total to 1,127

Harrisburg, PA- The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 25, that there are 276 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,127 in 44 counties. The department also reported four new deaths, bringing the statewide death total to 11. County-specific information and a statewide map are availablehereAll people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.

“Our notable increase in cases over the past few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

Statewide, there are 1,127 cases of COVID-19 reported from commercial, hospital and state labs. There are 11,193 patients who have tested negative, and 11 total deaths. With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.

All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide at least through April 6.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has announced since noon, March 24:

For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.

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.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

  • For the daily COVID-19 Report, visithere.
  • For all press releases regarding coronavirus, please visithere.
  • Find the latest information on the coronavirus here.
  • Photos of the state’s lab in Exton are available for download and usehere.
  • Coronavirus and preparedness graphics are available here near the bottom of the page: here
  • Community preparedness and procedures materials are available here.
  • For an updated map with the number of cases, visit here.

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online atwww.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Nate Wardle, Health, 717-787-1783 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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