November 25, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

POMA continues to monitor the rapidly changing information surrounding the spread of COVID-19.  As we have seen in recent weeks, the numbers in Pennsylvania are rapidly increasing and new orders and guidance has been issued.

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

Wolf Administration Issues New COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts

On Monday, November 23, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced new targeted mitigation measures to combat the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania.  Over the past week, the number of COVID-19 attributable deaths has quadrupled and the average daily case count is seven times higher than it was two months ago.  Dr. Levine added that if the modeling is correct, Pennsylvania will run out of intensive care beds in December.  New mitigation measures include:

  • Keeping Businesses, Customers and Employees Safe - The order consolidates previous orders and includes reiterating cleaning, masking and social distancing requirements, mandatory telework requirements unless impossible; and encouraging online sales and curbside pickup for shopping.
  • Strengthened Gathering Limitations - The order reduces the maximum capacity of indoor and outdoor gatherings; and alcohol sales for on-site consumption must end at 5pm on Wednesday, November 25 and can resume at 8am on Thursday, November 26.
  • Stricter Safety Measures in Schools - The order requires Pre-K to 12 public schools in counties that have been in the substantial transmission level for at least two consecutive weeks to commit to safety measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students and educators. If they choose not to, they must move to fully remote learning without all extra-curricular activities.  As of November 20, there are 59 counties that fall into this category.
  • Empowering Local Government and Increasing Enforcement - Local leaders can implement orders, ordinances or directives in order to protect the health and safety of their citizens as long as they are stricter than those mandated by the state.  The orders in place are all enforceable and law enforcement and state agencies will be stepping up enforcement efforts, including citations and fines, and possible regulatory actions for repeat offenders.  Currently, the following counties are under additional local guidelines:

These measures are in addition to the orders issued last week:

  • Traveler Testing Order - Dr. Levine issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth.  If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania.  This includes Pennsylvania residents returning to the Commonwealth.  There are 5 exemptions to the testing order: Individuals travelling for work; Individuals travelling for medical reasons, including providing comfort and support to the patient; Military personnel travelling by order or directive of a state or military authority; Individuals in transit to another destination; Additional exemptions may be issued in guidance documents issued by DOH.  The order took effect on Friday, November 20.
  • Strengthened Masking Order - Dr. Levine issued an updated to the April 15 masking order.  The new order includes: masks being required indoors and outdoors if away from your home; masking if unable to remain physically distant from someone not in your household; masking indoors if you are with people other than members of your household; applies to every indoor facility including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors' offices, public transportation and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.  Click here for FAQs on Universal Face Coverings.  This order took effect Wednesday, November 18.  
  • Memorandum to Acute Care Hospitals - Dr. Levine issued a memorandum to acute care hospitals outlining expectations to care for Pennsylvanians who need care during the pandemic.  Hospitals are to work through the established health care coalitions and other partnerships for how they will support one another in the event that a hospital becomes overwhelmed.  Hospitalizations and ICU patients are increasing and Pennsylvania will run out of ICU beds in December if admissions continue at the current rate.
  • Recommendations for Colleges & Universities - The Departments of Health and Education issued recommendations for colleges and universities to implement a testing plan for when students return to campus following the holidays.  Recommendations include establishing routine testing protocols including testing at the beginning of each term, when returning to campus after a break and regular screening testing throughout the term depending on available resources and local conditions.

POMA Members Can Receive PPE Discounts

POMA is excited to announce our new partnership with to help our members acquire proper PPE supplies.  Launched in South Carolina, ActionPPE has supplied over 2.6 million units of PPE to members of over 20 state medical organizations through a reputable and certified supplier.  By pooling resources, POMA members receive a 5% discount on PPE orders when they use the discount code POMA-SAVE5. Product details and certificates for masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, etc. are provided on the site with most items in-stock and shipping directly to your office.

DOH Encourages Contact Tracing Participation

Michael Huff, director of testing and contact tracing for Pennsylvania, is emphasizing the need to prioritize case investigations and for those who test positive to participate in contact tracing - two key public health activities that occur when a case of COVID-19 is identified.  With 34,000 positive cases reported in the past seven days, contact tracing has become even more critical to identifying those who may have been exposed to the virus.  The Department of Health is utilizing the CDC's case investigation prioritization recommendations, which were revised on November 23.

Pennsylvanians are also encouraged to download the free COVID Alert PA App.  To date, there have been more than 560,000 downloads and more than 42,000 daily check-ins on average.

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update

On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard highlighting a seven-day case increase of 36,133 cases; statewide percent positivity of 11.1% and a concerning 63 or counties with substantial transmission status.


 Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

New Guidance Issued from PA Department of Health

In November, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released two alerts for healthcare professionals relating to COVID-19:

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.  Now is the time to get a flu vaccine.​

DOH Discusses Plans for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

In anticipation of the availability of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will be sending a more formal invitation 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 DOH 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.

In all cases, in order to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines providers must be credentialed/licensed in Pennsylvania; sign and agree to the conditions in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement; and also fully complete the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Profile form for each location where COVID-19 vaccine will be administered.  More information about the enrollment process will be made available in the DOH invitation letter and on the DOH website.  For additional information or questions, please contact DOH at [email protected] or call 717-787-5681.

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 |