WATCH: Pennsylvania Dept. of Health Secretary Dr. Levine gives update on COVID-19
6000 and 74 people are currently hospitalized due to Covic, 19 in Pennsylvania as of 7 a.m. today, 1, 230 of those patients air in the intensive care unit and 720 around a ventilator. The trend in the 14 day moving average of the number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by 5400 since the end of September. Our hospitals and our health systems in Pennsylvania continue to be significantly challenged by Cove. In 19. Today we are reporting 7745 new cases of Cove in 19, and on Sunday we reported 7355 new cases. This brings the total number of cases attributed to covert 19 in Pennsylvania to 563,589 individuals off our total cases. The number of people who have recovered from Cove in 19 is now at 61%. That number has started to increase again recently. Tragically, 57 new deaths were reported today in 99 new deaths were reported Sunday. For now, a total of 13,000 981 deaths attributed to Cove in 19 the statewide percent positivity, as reported on the early warning monitoring dashboard, is now below 16% state walk. This represents a slight decrease from last week. Throughout the pandemic, there have been 44,290 cases of cove in 19 among Children 5 to 18 years of age and close to 12,000 of them have been reported in the last two weeks alone. Now, since the first doses of the vaccines have arrived in Pennsylvania one week ago, 17,700 healthcare workers have received their first dose. The 1st 87 hospitals to receive vaccine continue to work to immunize healthcare workers, but it will take some time. This week. We anticipate receiving 30,000 225 doses off the Pfizer by on tech vaccine going to our health care facilities with the approval now of the emergency use authorization for the Madonna vaccine. Over the weekend, we have been allotted 198,000 doses of the Madonna vaccine, and those doses will start arriving this week. Beginning next week, the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens will start on site co vid 19 vaccination services for residents and staff off skilled nursing facilities across the state. These facilities will be receiving the Pfizer by on Tech Cove IT 19 vaccine operation. Warp speed also has a process in place to ensure that the individuals who have received the first doses of either vaccine are absolutely able to get the necessary second dose. US. Health and Human Services Secretary Cesar has said that nationally last week, 2.9 million doses of vaccine were delivered and another 2.9 million doses are being held back to ensure that those people get the second dose in 21 days and the same will be for the modern, a vaccine coming this week. Please remember, as we start the vaccination process, it will still be some months before manufacturers produce enough vaccine to immunize the general public. So that means that mitigation, ISMM or important than ever, we still need to wear a mask. We need to wash our hands, we need to social distance and as we approach the holiday season, we cannot let our guard down. We must continue to follow our personal and collective responsibility to each other to prevent the spread of this virus. In the meantime, until everyone can get vaccinated, we need people to please stand united and wear a mask. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home. Avoid gathering social distance and download the covert alert. P A. And as I always like to finish, please stay calm. Stay alert and stay safe. And now I’m pleased to answer questions. Thank you, Secretary. First up, ISS Sam’s earn Sam, go ahead and a mute yourself. Urgent cases. Sam, Could you start from the beginning, please? Of course. Um, with the hospital really interesting and a potential holiday surge in cases how our hospital systems bracing and is there any plan for any additional assistance? Um, to help them handle a potential surge. Well, so you are correct. We’re approaching Christmas and then new years, and it’s so important for people to continue the mitigation measures that I just discuss in order to try to prevent a further hospital surge. Eso The hospitals are working together collaboratively within their health systems, but also between hospitals and health systems on a regional basis to make sure that they have the capacity and the staff and the beds, etcetera to deal with a potential surge of patients. Our job, really. All of our job is to try to make sure that that serves Either doesn’t happen. Or a smallest possible next step is Jamie Bittner. Jamie, go ahead and I mute yourself. Hi, Dr Levin, with my notes. Serve me correctly, I believe you said last week we received 97,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. But you just said that only 17,700 healthcare workers have been vaccinated. What has happened to the other doses? If I can ask, are they sitting in storage of They’ve been given out to people who are not healthcare workers. What’s happening with sure. So those doses that the Pfizer vaccine are at the hospitals now? They arrived really throughout last week, so it’s not like 97,000 doses arrived on Monday. Actually, the majority arrived Thursday late Thursday, maybe even Friday. And so the hospitals have those and they’re gonna be administering them as we speak. S o. You know, the hospital can only start to to immunize when they received the doses and a lot of them receiving at the very end of the week. And so they’re gonna be using them right now. Which is why it was so critical that those hospitals that received the FISA vaccine had the refrigeration capabilities to be able to keep the vaccine at the temperature that is required. Mhm. Jamie, do you have a follow up? I dio if I if I may, there have been some reports of hospitals across the nation were not receiving the correct dosage is that they believed they were getting either they receiving too much and some vials or too little. Have we experienced any of that? We have had no reports of hospitals not receiving exactly what they were told they received through Operation warp speed. Next up, ISS Samantha Ruland from The York Daily Record. Go ahead, Samantha. Hi, Dr Levin. Thank you for taking my question. I hope there’s not too much background noise right now, But what I wanted to ask you about was Do you have a rollout schedule for when nursing home back vaccine distribution will begin? Um, I did you know, you mentioned how it’s starting next week, but I was just wondering how it was going to be prioritized by County eso. It starts on next week. You’re entirely correct, Bond next Monday, and we actually don’t have more detailed information about that schedule that is being coordinated between Operation Warp speed and on DSO, CVS and Walgreens who are working to distribute the vaccines to the nursing homes. We’ll be looking to hear from the federal government and from our pharmacy partners more details this week about exactly how it’s going to roll out next week. Great. And then I was just wondering if based on what we saw with the post Thanksgiving numbers and we might see that again now, with Christmas, is there a chance that there would be kind of a statewide shutdown happening after Christmas now? Well, I mean, right now we are seeing certainly a plateau, maybe even a slight decrease in your numbers. Now it’s always lower Sunday and Monday. We’ll see how it progresses during the week. But, you know, at the moment we are in our paws p a, um, mitigation measures that are in place that end on January 4th. If everybody does the right thing, if everybody stands united and continues those mitigation measures, it’s pretty much stays home during the holidays. Then things look much more hopeful for January. If people travel, if they have large and small gatherings, then we’ll be more challenged. So we’ll see how things go. Next up is Jim Millward from K Y W Jim, Go ahead. And, um, you’d just a quick question based on the on the lag between new cases hospitalizations on that’s Do you have any modeling on any idea of what the health care system should expect in the coming weeks based on Yeah, So the modeling, you know, through the i h m e model, that’s the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, which show increases in hospitalization into the beginning of January and then decreases. So, um, you know, there’s always, as you said, a lag time from the peak of cases to the peak of hospitalizations and then, tragically, the peak of deaths. So we’re gonna be we’re gonna be watching all of those numbers really carefully. It will be very important for the hospitals to be prepared and a quick follow up on that. Is there any way to differentiate? Maybe between ah, holiday spike and just a natural spike a seasonal spike of a coronavirus, can you say or would you say that the spikes that we saw in October or November December were Halloween and Thanksgiving? Or is that just seasonal? Well, it’s very hard. Thio, Differentiate. I think that probably a little bit of both. I mean, we anticipated a fall resurgence now into winter, with the decreasing in temperatures and the spread of of respiratory virus like the coronavirus during that time. But we do think that we saw an increase, certainly because of Thanksgiving. And, of course, Pennsylvania is not in a vacuum. We follow the national accounts as a swell. If there was a peak because of Thanksgiving, we’d expect that to kind of be going down now on Ben. We really need people to follow all of our mitigation advice for the holidays that are upcoming to stop the spread and then to lead to ah, more positive outcome in January. Next up is Tyler Pratt from W L V R news. Go ahead, Tyler. Good morning, secretarial of being. Thanks for taking the time. Today we’re hearing So while the general population it’s gonna be a whiles away before they could get vaccinated. We’re hearing from people confusion about why people who get vaccines would still need to social distance and wear masks. And I’m wondering if you could drill down in layman’s terms, sort of how the virus could still be transmitted, even if you have a vaccine and the importance of mask wearing afterwards. Sure well, first of all, all the vaccines currently available, the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine required two doses, and so you’re only going to be, at best, partially protected after the first dose. Second doses 3 to 4 weeks later and to develop full immunity from those vaccines, take several weeks later. So certainly people need to be protected, and then there is no vaccine that is 100% effective. These vaccines in the clinical trials were 90% or more effective, which is which is amazing. But it is still possible for people to get the coronavirus. Even though they received the vaccine. There’s every indication that it would be much, much milder and not lead to serious illness. But the people still could be contagious. And even if that’s 10 15% no one knows who what. The 10 to 15% would be you might be completely asymptomatic, but still be able to spread the virus. So we will need people until the until enough of the community is immunized, uh, to be to wear mass social distance, washed their hands, etcetera, and just toe follow up on that. It’s possible to still have the virus in you with the vaccine, and then it gets transmitted out of your nose or something like that. Is that how you should break that out? So it is still possible with the vaccine, you might not have any symptoms, but you still might have the coronavirus, and then you would still be contagious. So that is why people will need to continue all of our mitigation factors until we have much more of the whole community that is immunized. Next up is Erin McCarthy with the Philadelphia Inquirer. Go ahead, Aaron. Hi, Dr Levin. Thanks again for taking the time today. Um, I know you talked about hospitals getting specifically what they expected in their first five adviser shipments Was Pennsylvania as a whole. Affected at all by Operation World speeds, Miscalculation of how Maney vaccines could be shipped this week. I wouldn’t say that we were impacted. We anticipated this. So a week ago Friday, we had a conversation with General Purna regionally, and he told us that the numbers that were in the system we’re estimates and it might very well be less. And so when it turned out to be somewhat less, it wasn’t different than what we anticipated. So eso we’re gonna be and again Half of that vaccine is being held now for the Pfizer for the for the long term care program. And I think I said 31,000 or so doses of the Pfizer will be going out so way were impacted. I mean, we anticipated it. And there’s been reports over the last couple days about the coronavirus mutating over in the UK Are you seeing that at all in Pennsylvania? How concerned, if at all concerned should Pennsylvanians be about this, particularly with the news of the vaccine coming? So we have seen no evidence of any significant mutations in Pennsylvania are really in the United States at this time. So we are watching the news out of England and so we’ll see. Ah, lot of that has to be evaluated and studied by by virologists by people who specializes in viruses. Thio really outlined the possible mutations about the impact of the mutations. So we’ll be watching that data really closely. I’m sure. Through esto, the Association of State and Territory health officials on the C. D. C. Will be discussing that we have calls twice a week, but nothing that I think that people in Pennsylvania have to worry about it this time. Next step is floor postural with pen watch floor. Go ahead. Thank you. Good morning, Secretary. Have you heard the governor received the vaccine yet? No. Neither of us have received the vaccine and we’re working on those plants. So you are planning to get it. Or can you give us a little bit more information than that? No. I can’t give you more granular detail until it’s until everything has worked out. Um, but we’ll be working on that this week. Okay. Sorry. Go ahead, Flora. Sorry. What is the situation with I see you beds at hospitals across the state. Are you getting reports now from hospitals saying we’re out of I C U beds. What’s the situation? Well, certainly our hospitals and health systems air strained and we look at that on a regional basis through our healthcare collaborative. The region that has had issues in terms of staffing consistently is the Southwest. South Central has had a time, some issues with staffing, but we’re watching the bed capacity. So there are. You know, we get a report every day of different measures that hospitals have to take to be able to deal with the load of covert 19 patients. But they’re doing exactly what they need to do. They are shifting capacity. They’re shifting staffing. They’re shifting. Resource is to deal with Kovar 19 patients and Non Cove in 19 patients, and that includes in intensive care in a capacity. Sometimes they’re opening up other units to take Cove in 19 patients. Right now, our health care system is doing what it needs to do, and it is coping. Next step is Tom Lehman from W. J. L. Go ahead, Tom. You talk about the concerns when it comes to testing and and sort of, I guess the wait times for for getting some of the results back when you’re talking about the holiday coming up, people want to know whether they’re negative or positive and you know some of the larger concerns beyond that, you know, just beyond the results. Sure. Well, we continue to have robust testing capacity in Pennsylvania. Were getting, on average approximately 70,000 test results per day. There are some decreases over the weekends, and we always anticipate that. But you’re right for testing that goes through national laboratories such as Quest and Lab Core. There is a several average several day wait, uh, to get test results. If the averages several days, then sometimes it’s it’s longer. And that could make it really challenging for patients way. We really want people in general to stay home for the holidays, not to travel, not to travel outside of Pennsylvania. Not really to travel within Pennsylvania. Please stay home. Stay within your household. Um, speak to your family and friends through remote media and stay the course through this very challenging winter as the vaccine will be rolled out in the new year. Next up is Mark Hall from ABC 27. Go ahead, Mark. Good morning, Secretary. Thank you for your time again. You know, we have and I know you’ve really touched on it often, but again, we have Christmas coming up this weekend, of course, New Year’s I mean, I know you can’t stress enough the importance. I mean, you just talked about of staying home, But again, um, just touch on it because, sure, next Christmas and next New Year’s could be much better than this year. Talk about that. Absolutely, absolutely. So you know there is. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have now to safe and effective vaccines that are being rolled out as we speak. Right now, healthcare workers in Pennsylvania are getting getting the vaccine. They’re beginning their second dose the number of weeks. And then we have the new vaccine Moderna with with 190 so 1000 doses coming out this week, form or healthcare workers, they’ll get their second dose in four weeks, will be working through the different phases, as outlined by the CDC. And so there is absolutely hope for the future. But right now the challenges still remain. Covic, 19, continues to be a real threat for Pennsylvania and for our nation, and there are three ways to cope with to address the pandemic containment. We’ve talked about that mitigation and the vaccine. Right now, we need people to continue those challenging mitigation efforts. Those sacrifices. And with this holiday, we need people to stay home. We need people thio within stay within their home and their household and to interact with others remotely in the same thing for new years. And as we do that over the next number of months, we will see a brighter future as 2021 continues. And then next year at this time, things will look so much better. But right now, please stay the course. Thank you. Next step is Nicole Brambilla from LMP Nicole. Go ahead and on mute. My apologies. I think it was a little too quick on the trigger. Thank you, Secretary, for to my question, why is it that we don’t know how many doses precisely are going to be going Thio, CVS and Walgreen. So we I don’t have it in front of me. We know how many doses um, they’re going to get certainly, um in terms of the Pfizer vaccine, they’re gonna be the long term care mission with CVS and Walgreens is with the Pfizer vaccine. So that was our choice because of the different storage requirements and their those pharmacies ability and their distribution centers to be able to handle the refrigeration Onda. We know how many doses we’re going to get. Well, we don’t know from CBS is exactly how they’re going to be distributing those doses. And so I don’t have any granular detail about exactly where they’re going on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at this time, we’ll be looking to Operation Works, Speed and CBS for that information as the week progresses. Did you? I’m sorry. A quick follow up. Did you share earlier? Because if you did, I missed it. My apologies. How many does of toeses of Pfizer vaccine are going to be because when I asked CBS this morning, they referred to meet me to you and, um when I asked your press folks that they referred me back to CBS so that that type of information will be coming out later today. Thank you. And we’re working on a dashboard. I don’t know exactly when the dashboard will be available, but we’re working on a dashboard that will have much of that information that will either be available at the end of the week or by next week. Next up is Paul. Go from the Pittsburgh Business Times. Go ahead, Paul. Thank you, Dr Levin. Thanks for taking the time. Um, my first question is, how is the moderate Moderna vaccine being distributed? Is it going to the same hospitals? Are there more because the refrigeration requirements are are fewer, It’s going to be going to Mawr hospitals again. We’re getting quite quite a few number of doses, and it’s gonna be going widespread toe hospitals. That information about which exactly which hospitals should be available later today on on our website was we will be posting that. But that is why we chose the Pfizer product for the nursing home in long term care mission because we want to be able to have the Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine go to, for instance, rural hospitals that don’t have the refrigeration capability. And so it’s gonna have widespread distribution over the course of the week. It doesn’t just come out on Monday, and so I think that that’s an important point. So it’s not like they get all the doses on Monday. We have no say in terms of how Operation warp speed and the transports, the vaccine to the hospitals. That’s all handled by the federal government. But it’s gonna go out over the course of the week. And we’ll have which hospitals? On the website later this afternoon. Thank you. And then the other question is about the decision process regarding January 4th and whether to continue those What will be some of the things you’ll be looking at? Um, the same things you’ve been looking at all the time, Or will it be a combination? Well, we’re gonna be looking at all the data that we continue to analyze. We’re gonna be looking at our incidence rates. We’re gonna be looking at our andare percent positivity rates, um, this week and then into next week, we’ll have all of that information together, we will present it to the governor and the governor decides. Next up is Paul Abdullah from the keystone. Go ahead, Paul. Thank you for taking time to answer my question today, Dr Living, Uh, when you talked about the number of younger you know, like Children who are getting, um, testing positive recently. Where do you think that’s coming from? And do you think that’s something you’re concerned about? We’re very concerned. We continue to see cases of M I S C or multi system inflammatory syndrome associated with coronavirus and Children on duh. Children can get quite sick from coronavirus. So, I mean, we’re seeing different ways that it spread. It is still again widespread community transmission. We know that small gatherings, eso birthday parties and other types of parties is a is a source of spread. Um, school could be a source of spread, especially for the older kids. Um, in, uh, in high school, more than the younger Children. Uh, in addition, we know that activities such as, um, school indoor sports, as well as you know, something like Glee Club, drama Club, those type of activities, um, cause the spread. So there’s a number of different ways that Children can contract the coronavirus. Thank you. It’s next up. Is Anthony Orzo Co from W I. T. F. Anthony, go ahead. And, um, you Thank you, Secretary. Um, as we’ve seen the coronavirus has disproportionately affected communities of color. Andi Also, we have seen recent studies that show that black and Latinos are less likely to be trusting of a vaccine. I’m wondering if there are any efforts that the Department of Health is doing to either raise awareness or to encourage black and Latino communities to take the vaccine? Sure, yes. So it’s very, very important that we have a very, very clear health equity lens with which we look at vaccinations. So when I say healthcare workers, I know people tend to think of doctors, nurses, etcetera. But we’re looking at health care workers for vaccinations. Very, very broadly. Eso custodial staff will be healthcare workers, people, the individuals and hospitals that that bring us our meals. Those are health care workers. Outpatient staff are all health care workers and of course, E. M s eyes, all health care workers. So we’re gonna many of the workers Azzawi look at it broadly will be a minority, those minority groups, and so they will be getting immunized in that in that phase. In addition, many individuals that work in the long term care facilities, our minority vulnerable populations and they were beginning the immunizations that way. And then we’re looking forward to the publication of thesis E. D. C. Advisory committee recommendations for one B and one C in terms of quote unquote frontline workers and seniors the exact details should be coming out hopefully today or tomorrow. And many of the front line workers involved those communities, so it will be really, really important to have that health equity lens. Finally, we are hopeful that the federal government will pass the stimulus package today. And what we’ve been told is that includes money for the vaccine program for the states, territories and cities. And then we’ll need money for our education campaign to be able to really use local leaders, um, to help us with with communities, uh, to try to make sure that as you’ve pointed out, those vulnerable populations, the minority populations were immunized, okay?
WATCH: Pennsylvania Dept. of Health Secretary Dr. Levine gives update on COVID-19
Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine gave an update on COVID-19 and the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard on Monday morning.Watch the coronavirus news briefing in the video player above.
HARRISBURG, Pa. —
Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine gave an update on COVID-19 and the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard on Monday morning.
Watch the coronavirus news briefing in the video player above.