As COVID-19 cases climb, Wolf calls on feds for health care support | Monday Morning Coffee

‘Our health care system is strained from COVID-19 cases and further exacerbated by persistent staffing shortages across the sector,’ Wolf said in a statement last week

December 20, 2021 6:30 am

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf speaking to the press at PEMA headquarters in Harrisburg. Source: Commonwealth Media Services.

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Associate Editor Cassie Miller here, filling in for John today.

Gov. Tom Wolf has requested additional support from federal officials in Pennsylvania’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his request to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, Wolf highlighted areas where additional support is needed in the fight against COVID-19, including one million additional rapid at-home tests and an increased allocation of monoclonal antibodies – used to treat the virus. Wolf noted that the additional resources and staff support would need to be focused on rural areas in the commonwealth and areas with “higher social vulnerability, and lower vaccination rates.” 

“Our health care system is strained from COVID-19 cases and further exacerbated by persistent staffing shortages across the sector,” Wolf said in a statement last week, announcing his request for additional pandemic support.

Wolf’s request came just days before the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus caused several countries, including Denmark, to reinstate public restrictions, while others – such as The Netherlands – returned to lockdown.

The United States has not been immune to the Omicron variant, with New York setting a record-high for daily COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

Pennsylvania recorded its first cases of the Omicron variant earlier this month in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and on Friday, the last day for which state data is currently available, Pennsylvania logged 7,959 new cases of the virus, adding more strain to an already stressed health care system.

(Getty Images/Colorado Newsline)

Wolf concluded in his statement: “I am hopeful that these critically important supports will be addressed to alleviate the strain on our health care system and ultimately be able to provide Pennsylvanians the care they need during this time.”

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said it will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases that occur after vaccination to better understand vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 variants.

“We know that if the incidence or severity of post-vaccination cases increases significantly, this could be a signal of reduced protection against a variant,” acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said last week. 

Pointing out that vaccinated people are four times less likely to die from COVID-19, according to data collected through Sept. 30, Beam encouraged Pennsylvanians to continue getting vaccinated.

“COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective for preventing hospitalizations and deaths, even as more post-vaccination cases occur in the context of more transmissible variants and more residents getting vaccinated,” Beam said.

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Heavy Rotation

For me, it isn’t the holiday season without this classic tune from Jose Feliciano.

And now you’re up to date.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.