Pennsylvania Imposing More COVID Restrictions but No Shutdowns
There are new rules regarding masks, travelers to and from the state, colleges and universities and hospitals.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine outlined four new mitigation efforts to reverse the steady rise of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth.
- Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
- When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.
- When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.
- This order applies to every indoor facility, including retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.
The mask order builds upon the initial mask order imposed April 15.
Projections from the University of Washington are forecasting that Pennsylvania will run out of intensive care beds in December with the continued rise in cases. The forecast does not include hospitalizations from the flu. Hospitals are being told to work through established health care coalitions and other partnerships to prepare for how they will support one another in the event that a hospital becomes overwhelmed during the pandemic.
- Anyone visiting from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Pennsylvania.
- Those who cannot get a test, or chose not to get one, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
- Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.
- The order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.
Colleges and Universities
- Schools should implement a testing plan for students returning to campus after the holidays.
- Colleges and universities should have adequate capacity for isolation and quarantine and should be prepared to enforce violations of established policies such as mask-wearing and physical distancing.
- Every college and university should test all students at the beginning of each term, when returning to campus after a break and have regular screening testing throughout the semester/term.
“We must remain united in stopping COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay apart and download the COVID Alert PA app. If you test positive, please answer the call of the case reviewer and provide information that can help protect others. It’s the selfless, right thing to do.”