HARRISBURG — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said there were 83 new coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 268.
There are 2,574 patients who have tested negative, and one death in Northampton County. With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.
As of Friday, no cases were reported in Northumberland, Columbia, Montour, Schuylkill, Snyder and Union counties. Lebanon and Centre counties each reported one case.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday ordered all physical locations of all non-life-sustaining businesses to close.
Those businesses requesting clarification on whether they are defined as life-sustaining should email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff. An online waiver can also be found on www.dced.pa.gov.
A list of businesses deemed “life sustaining” or not by Wolf can also be found on DCED’s website.
DCED stated Friday night that, due to the high volume of waiver requests, enforcement of Wolf’s order will be delayed from today until 8 a.m. Monday.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in the commonwealth, the DOH is taking steps to assist those who need medical marijuana.
“In the midst of COVID-19, we need to ensure medical marijuana patients have access to medication,” Dr. Rachel Levine, secretary of DOH stated Friday. “Medical marijuana grower/processors and dispensaries are considered life-sustaining businesses under Wolf’s order for non-life-sustaining businesses to close. We want to be sure cardholders in the medical marijuana program can receive medication for one of 23 serious medical conditions during this difficult time.”
Certain statutory and regulatory provisions have been temporarily suspended in order to implement the following changes in response to the COVID-19 emergency:
• Allowing dispensary employees to provide medical marijuana to a cardholder in their vehicle on the facility’s property.
• Remove the current cap that limits the number of patients assigned to one caregiver, to allow for more caregivers to patients in need.
• Eliminate background checks for caregiver applications, limited to renewal applications only, in order to expedite the caregiver renewal process.
• Waive in-person consultations and allow for remote consultations between approved practitioners and medical marijuana cardholders for renewal certifications only.
• Waive limits that allow for medical marijuana to only be dispensed for 30 days by requiring approved practitioners to notate on the patient’s certification to dispense a 90-day supply.
The statutory and regulatory suspensions will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency is in effect.