In This Update:
New Loan Program Created to Help Hospitals During COVID-19
A new loan program offered by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority will provide critical funding to hospitals during the coronavirus public health emergency.
The Hospital Emergency Loan Program (HELP) will allow eligible hospitals to apply for up to $10 million in short-term funding to deal with the surge in patients from COVID-19. Some of the eligible uses of funding include building or constructing temporary structures, retrofitting facilities, and leasing property, equipment and supplies.
Loan applications will be accepted April 13 through 20. Applications will be available here.
Governor Wolf Orders All Schools Closed for Remainder of Academic Year
All K-12 public and private schools in Pennsylvania will now remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year, as ordered by Governor Wolf.
The governor’s order also applies to all Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Programs and Preschool Early Intervention programs. Institutions of higher education are also prohibited from meeting for in-person classes for the remainder of the school year.
In order to help school districts manage extended closures during the current public health emergency, I supported passage of a law last month that waives the requirement for schools to provide 180 days of instructional time for the 2019-20 school year. The Department of Education is encouraging schools to provide instruction to students through continuity of education plans through the remainder of the academic year.
More information is available here about resources to help schools continue to educate students.
Hospital Preparedness Dashboard Offers Critical COVID-19 Info
Hospitals throughout the state are gearing up to address new cases of COVID-19 in the days and weeks ahead. A hospital preparedness dashboard is maintained and updated regularly by the Department of Health, and the department reports it is working to create a system to ensure all available resources like personal protection equipment, ventilators and medical supplies can be allocated where they are needed most.
A detailed breakdown of the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, available hospital and ICU beds, total ventilators available or in use, and much more is available on the hospital preparedness dashboard here. Both statewide and county data are available on the webpage.
Reminder: Utility Customer Assistance Programs Available During COVID-19 Emergency
Major utility providers throughout the state are offering a number of special programs to help customers who are struggling to pay bills due to the coronavirus public health emergency. Payment plans, hardship funds, budget billing and other options are available to help individuals and families during these unprecedented times.
A number of these programs are time-sensitive, so customers should contact their utility providers as soon as possible to find out what assistance programs are available. More information about the different kinds of programs and services to help utility customers is available on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website.
Series of Waivers Aimed at Supporting Pennsylvania’s Coronavirus Response Efforts
More than 30 waivers were issued by the Department of State in response to the coronavirus emergency. The links below offer information on some of the waivers that have been announced over the past several weeks.
Waivers that have been granted to healthcare practitioners include:
A number of license renewal deadlines have also been extended and other requirements relaxed due to coronavirus mitigation, including: