August 11, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

POMA continues to monitor the rapidly 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

Pennsylvania Continues to See Rise in COVID-19 Cases

Pennsylvania reported 1,811 new COVID-19 infections on August 11.  The number hospitalized with COVID-19 also continues to increase with 847 people hospitalized, up from about 430 two weeks ago.  The statewide percent positivity rate for the week of July 30-August 5 is 5.4%, up from 2.6% two weeks ago.

According to the CDC, the number of counties with high transmission has increased from 2 to 11 and the number of counties with substantial transmission has increased from 5 to 38 over the last two weeks.  Click here to view the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

As of August 10, 63.8% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated according to the CDC.

Gov. Wolf Announces 'Vaccine or Test' Requirement for Commonwealth Employees in Health Care and High-Risk Congregate Facilities

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf announced that commonwealth employees in state health care facilities and high-risk congregate care facilities will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, 2021. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.  Additionally, beginning September 7, all new external hires in these facilities must be vaccinated before commencing employment.

This initiative affects approximately 25,000 employees working in 24-hour-operated state facilities including state hospitals, state homes for people with intellectual disabilities, veterans homes, community health centers and state correction institutions.

In addition, Gov. Wolf announced a vaccine incentive for state employees under the governor's jurisdiction.  Starting October 1, 2021, all vaccinated state employees under the governor's jurisdiction are eligible for an additional 7.5 or 8 hours paid time off.

Click here to read the full press release.

DOS Announcement: Waived and Suspended Licensing Waivers Are About to End

The Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupation Affairs announced last week a schedule of waived and suspended licensing waivers that could impact Osteopathic physicians. They include the following:

Expiring on August 17, 2021
- Retired/Inactive Professionals: Expedited reactivations for retired healthcare practitioners & licensees who went inactive or allowed their license to expire or lapse.

Expiring on September 15, 2021
Graduate Medical Trainees: Suspended certain administrative requirements for Graduate Medical Trainees

Expiring September 30, 2021
Out-of-State Health Care Practitioners: Allowed for the issuance of expedited temporary licenses to Osteopathic physicians in other states to provide services to Pennsylvanians.
Continuing Education Requirements entirely through Online Learning or Distance Education: Permitted licensees to satisfy up to 100 percent of their CE requirements for their next renewal with hours obtained entirely through online courses from providers of distance education that meet the applicable board's continuing education requirements.
Retired Physicians administering 4 COVID-19 Vaccinations: Allowed some retired physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to administer the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Graduate Medical Trainees administering COVID-19 Vaccinations: Increased the ability of Graduate Medical Trainees to administer the COVID-19 vaccination at various location through Pennsylvania, rather than their assigned medical training facility.
Out-of-State Osteopathic Physicians: Suspended the practical examination requirement for out-of-state Osteopathic Physicians applying for licensure by endorsement.
Telemedicine Services: Allowed health care professionals licensed under any of the Department of State’s 5 BPOA licensing boards to provide services to patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency.
Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons Licensed in Other States seeking Short Term Licensure in PA during the COVID-19 Emergency: Utilized the existing ‘short-term camp license’ and waives requirements that streamlines the process for those seeking emergency issuance of license.
Buprenorphine Treatment Via Telemedicine: Suspended the requirement that physician and surgeons must take an initial medical history and physical examination requirement to expand access to buprenorphine treatment to treat opioid use disorder.

Please keep in mind these are the waivers that directly impact Osteopathic physicians. If you provide oversight to non-physician providers, please review the entire set of waiver expirations as linked to this DOS website, as they may impact your oversight functions in other ways.

Gov. Wolf & COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Asks Local Officials to Support Vaccination Efforts

Governor Tom Wolf and members of the bipartisan COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force sent a letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, and county and local officials asking them to support vaccination efforts in the Commonwealth and encourage their constituents to get vaccinated.  The letter calls on officials to use all means at their disposal to connect with constituents and encourage them to get vaccinated.

"Part of serving the public is ensuring that our constituents have accurate and timely information on public health risks like the Delta variant of COVID-19," said Gov. Wolf. "Vaccination is an important way that all of us can keep our family, friends and community members save from more contagious and more dangerous variants of COVID-19 - especially vulnerable Pennsylvanians and children under 12 who don't have the option to get vaccinated right now."

Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Pennsylvania is currently administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

According to the PA Department of Health, as of August 11th, 11,805,722 total doses have been administered. There are 5,783,954 fully vaccinated people with a seven-day moving average of more than 14,500 people per day receiving vaccinations.

According to the CDC, as of August 10, 63.8% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated and Pennsylvania ranks 8th among all states for total doses administered.

Become a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider

POMA is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to spread the word that YOU can become a COVID-19 vaccine provider!

This summer, Pennsylvania's Acting Physician General Denise Johnson, MD spoke about the DOH's current vaccine objective, pivoting from larger/mass vaccination sites to community physician practices.  Enroll as a provider and administer the vaccine in your office - click here to access the enrollment form.

Read the full message from Dr. Johnson regarding this important initiative and how you can keep your community healthy.

PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN) - Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates

Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

CDC Issues New Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

On Wednesday, July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the Delta variant.

The CDC now recommends for fully vaccinated people to:

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
  • Wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised, at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated.
  • Be tested 3-5 days after a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until a negative test result is obtained.

The CDC also recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Pennsylvania Offers Recommendations for Upcoming School Year

On Monday, July 26, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (PDE) offered recommendations to families and schools in preparation for in-person teaching and learning.

The DOH and PDE recommends:

  • All Pennsylvanians aged 12 and older to get their COVID-19 vaccinations before the new school year;
  • All K-12 school entities are advised to follow current CDC guidance to the greatest extent possible, when creating and implementing mitigation policies and practices.
  • Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals age 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated according to CDC guidelines. Schools may adopt stricter masking policies.

Read the full press release here.

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

Briefings and Updates from Pa. Governor Wolf and the Department of Health

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 |