October 21, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

POMA continues to monitor the changing information surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

In an effort to provide accurate and helpful information to POMA members, we have gathered some of the resources we are finding to be most useful and accurate at this time. We hope this helps you in staying on top of the latest developments in the spread of the disease and in helping your patients.

Stay safe and healthy!


New Headlines

Department of Health Expands COVID-19 Testing Sites Through Faith-Based Partnerships

Last week, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced COVID-19 testing sites will be launched in faith-based settings in Allegheny and Dauphin counties.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 to communities with an increased likelihood of contracting the virus, faith-based communities, hospitals/health systems and community health centers are partnering together in Allegheny and Dauphin counties to increase testing availability in these more vulnerable communities.

To ensure a healthier Pennsylvania for all, especially during these unprecedented times, the Wolfe administration will only partner with organizations and entities that have established a commitment to non-discriminatory practices.

More info► 

Department of Health Announces Week-Two Rapid Antigen Test Card Distributions Across the Commonwealth 

On October 20, 2020, the Wolf Administration began distribution of the second allotment of COVID-19 antigen test kits provided by the federal government to Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified institutions in Berks, Huntingdon, Union and Westmoreland counties.

Last week 70,840 tests were distributed to 55 facilities in Bradford, Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill, and Snyder counties. Additional tests will be provided to healthcare providers in those counties in the coming weeks.

More info► 

Departments of Agriculture, Health Confirm Pennsylvania’s First COVID-19 Positive Cat

State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill announced on Tuesday, that Pennsylvania has confirmed its first COVID-19 positive cat.

The 16-year old Cumberland County cat, who lived in a household with multiple individuals who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, presented in early October with mild respiratory illness. As a result of respiratory distress, the cat was humanely euthanized. The case is still under investigation, and a primary cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 to people. COVID-19 is mainly spread through person-to-person contact.

More info►

Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Present Latest Data

Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine presented this past Monday’s update on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard and case data, and asked Pennsylvanians to unite against COVID.

As of Thursday, October 15, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 8,723; the previous seven-day increase was 7,398, indicating a 1,325-case increase across the state over the past week.

The statewide percent-positivity went up to 4.3% from 3.9% last week.

More info► 

COVID-19 Vaccine Providers

In anticipation of the availability of a safe and effective vaccine as early as October 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will be sending a more formal invitation in the coming days and weeks to consider enrolling as a COVID-19 vaccine provider.  Existing partners who may already be a part of Pennsylvania's Immunizations Program (i.e. Vaccines for Children) as well as new partners, will be welcome. The plan for vaccine distribution includes a three-phased structure to correspond with the expected availability of doses. Therefore, there may be taking a targeted approach to COVID-19 Vaccination Provider enrollment.

More info►

Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

It's Time to Get the Flu Vaccine!

The CDC is promoting the 2020-2021 flu vaccine to help protect yourself, your family and your community from flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients. September and October are good times to get a flu vaccine.​

Learn more>> 

U.S. HHS announces further $20 billion funding to healthcare providers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on October 1, that they are allocating $20 billion in new funding to help providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic offset COVID-related financial losses and operating expenses. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments.

The application deadline is November 6, 2020.

More info >>

Pennsylvania Suspends Licensing Requirements

Due to COVID-19, Governor Wolf has granted a number of temporary waivers for health care professionals to increase the available number of practitioners in the Commonwealth and reduce barriers to temporary licensure. Following are a list of waivers relevant for osteopathic physicians:

Click here for a complete list of suspended licensing regulations. For all licensing-related inquiries, please use the email addresses found here to contact the appropriate licensing board.

Updated Pennsylvania Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Cases, Graphics, Resources

Daily Briefings and Updates from Pa. Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine

Resources from the CDC

The CDC has provided guidance and resources for healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, laboratories, as well as information for schools and childcare, businesses and employers, community and faith-based organizations, and the general public. Visit the CDC COVID-19 webpage for more information.

POMA will continue monitoring COVID-19 and provide updates and recommendations from PA-DOH, the CDC, the WHO and local health agencies. POMA's COVID-19 webpage and social media channels will be updated as information is shared from these organizations.

If you have any comments or questions for POMA, please email us at [email protected]

Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association | 1330 Eisenhower Boulevard, Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 939-9318 | www.poma.org