HERSHEY — Gov. Tom Wolf and state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine visited Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center on Wednesday to thank front line workers and outline a plan to deal with a potential resurgence in COVID-19 cases this fall.
The plan, Wolf said, is to “take advantage of the resources available to plan for the fall.”
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified Pennsylvania as one of three states on a downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases for 42 consecutive days.Since then, cases in some parts of the state have spiked.
Wolf said that the recent downward trend was only possible because all 13 million Pennsylvanians took the threat of COVID-19 seriously, and because of the diligent efforts by medical professionals who have been working round-the-clock to treat patients with the virus.
According to Wolf, Pennsylvania is now capable of processing 16,000 tests per day, a feat which was not possible in March or April.
He said that this increased testing capacity will be helpful in the fall, should Pennsylvania see a resurgence in cases, along with increased contact tracing efforts and capacity in the state’s healthcare system.
“We have better information now,” Wolf said, adding that continuing social distancing measures will also put the commonwealth in a better position to handle a potential surge in cases.
“All of those things are going to put us in a much better place, if we see a resurgence in the fall,” Wolf said before turning the podium over to Levine.
Levine said her agency, along with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency would be partnering with CVS Health to offer COVID-19 testing to skilled-nursing facilities across the state.
According to the Health Department, Omnicare, a CVS Health company, will administer up to 50,000 tests for residents and staff of skill-nursing homes to help them comply with Dr. Levine’s June 9 order for universal testing in facilities around the commonwealth.
“We are so pleased to have this level of collaboration and assistance from CVS Health,” Dr. Levine said. “COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for congregate settings, particularly our nursing home facilities.”
Levine also urged Pennsylvanians to continue social distancing and to wear masks in public settings.
“We’re not done with COVID-19,” Levine said, adding that wearing masks is not a political issue.
“This is not a political issue, this is not a partisan issue, this is a public health issue,” she said.
Wolf chimed in, posing a query to the group: “Imagine if we had a society where only liberals stopped at stop signs,” Wolf said of wearing masks. “We need to redouble our efforts.”Adding that the virus is the enemy, not state officials.