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Pa. to set coronavirus testing, contact tracing benchmarks just days before gradual reopening is set to begin | Spotlight PA

Pa. to set coronavirus testing, contact tracing benchmarks just days before gradual reopening is set to begin | Spotlight PA

is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. .HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania officials on Friday will unveil the state’s goals for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, standards the Wolf administration has so far shied away from specifying despite insisting that a robust system is key to its plan to reopen the state.Health Secretary Rachel Levine said the testing benchmark will be “aspirational,” and stressed that it will be one of many factors in deciding which counties or regions can...

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April 29, 2020
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Pa. tax revenues plummet $2.2 billion as top state official warns reopening won’t end economic pain | Spotlight PA

Pa. tax revenues plummet $2.2 billion as top state official warns reopening won’t end economic pain | Spotlight PA

is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. .HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s tax revenues nosedived $2.2 billion in April, falling 50% below official estimates, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Revenue.The majority of the shortfall is due to the three-month extension of the deadline for filing personal income taxes, which means that almost $2 billion that is usually collected in April will not flow into the state’s coffers until July.But roughly $400 million...

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May 1, 2020
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Wolf says Pa. employees should refuse to go to work if they don’t feel safe, but some fear putting job at risk | Spotlight PA

Wolf says Pa. employees should refuse to go to work if they don’t feel safe, but some fear putting job at risk | Spotlight PA

is a nonpartisan, reader-funded newsroom covering Pennsylvania state government and urgent statewide issues. Today through May 7, all donations to Spotlight PA will be DOUBLED. Give now at .HARRISBURG — Amid ongoing safety concerns among essential workers, Gov. Tom Wolf said Pennsylvania cannot widely enforce workplace protections and suggested employees refuse to go to work if they don’t feel safe.The statement comes just days before the state will.“In the end, they have the ultimate sanction, which is just to say, ‘Well then, I’m not coming to work’,” Wolf told reporters Tuesday. “And, as...

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May 6, 2020
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Pa.’s death toll for Philadelphia lags behind city’s count, part of state’s ongoing struggle to compile timely data | Spotlight PA

Pa.’s death toll for Philadelphia lags behind city’s count, part of state’s ongoing struggle to compile timely data | Spotlight PA

is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. .HARRISBURG — Philadelphia’s health department continues to report a drastically higher COVID-19 death toll than Pennsylvania’s official number, one of the clearest examples of the state Health Department’s challenges in compiling timely information about the virus.For weeks, state officials have cited obstacles in reporting COVID-19 data. They have blamed counties for lags in providing information to the state, along with issues in “data...

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May 2, 2020
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Pa. will extend eviction, foreclosure protections to July 10 | Spotlight PA

Pa. will extend eviction, foreclosure protections to July 10 | Spotlight PA

is a nonpartisan, reader-funded newsroom covering Pennsylvania state government and urgent statewide issues. Today, all donations to Spotlight PA will be DOUBLED. Give now at .HARRISBURG — Evictions and foreclosures in Pennsylvania are on hold through July 10 under an executive order signed by Gov. Tom Wolf.The state Supreme Court previously placed a moratorium on such proceedings until May 11, as officials shuttered much of Pennsylvania’s economy to prevent the coronavirus from overwhelming hospitals, causing unemployment to skyrocket.“At a time when people need to stay home to protect...

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May 7, 2020
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Wolf warns requests for business waivers could reveal proprietary details as GOP presses court case | Spotlight PA

Wolf warns requests for business waivers could reveal proprietary details as GOP presses court case | Spotlight PA

is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. .HARRISBURG — The legal battle surrounding Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order intensified Thursday, with Republicans pushing for an expedited court decision that could force the Democratic governor to disclose records about waivers his administration granted businesses to operate during the pandemic.Republicans who control the state Senate filed papers in Commonwealth Court seeking a quick resolution to the dispute, which centers around a...

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May 14
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Pa. had early plan to protect nursing homes from the coronavirus, but never fully implemented it | Spotlight PA

Pa. had early plan to protect nursing homes from the coronavirus, but never fully implemented it | Spotlight PA

is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. .HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s plan to protect its nursing homes was robust and aggressive.In mid-March, before the coronavirus had widely taken hold across the state, emergency response officials drafted a three-page blueprint for quick strike teams of medical professionals that would respond to facilities as soon as a few positive cases were confirmed.The teams — made of epidemiologists, nurses, emergency management personnel, and medical...

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May 9, 2020
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Some Pa. counties push to exclude nursing home cases from reopening formula, but experts caution against it | Spotlight PA

Some Pa. counties push to exclude nursing home cases from reopening formula, but experts caution against it | Spotlight PA

is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. .HARRISBURG — As the coronavirus continues to tear through Pennsylvania’s nursing and personal-care homes, pressure is mounting on the Wolf administration to exclude those cases when deciding which counties can relax restrictions so people can begin resuming some of the normal patterns of daily life.Officials in some counties with surging numbers of care-home deaths have suggested that the administration should adjust its criteria for...

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May 9, 2020
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Workers in Pennsylvania with preexisting health conditions fear a call to return to work | Spotlight PA

Workers in Pennsylvania with preexisting health conditions fear a call to return to work | Spotlight PA

This story was produced as part of a joint effort among , , , , and to cover how Pennsylvania state government is responding to the coronavirus. HARRISBURG — As two dozen Pennsylvania counties begin to reopen, bringing many people out of their homes and back into the workplace for the first time in weeks, those living with a wide range of preexisting health conditions are scared they won’t be protected.With no guarantee that they can continue to collect unemployment if they refuse to go to work, this segment of workers — including those with chronic lung conditions, a history of heart...

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May 10, 2020
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Pa. sets modest goal to conduct 8,500 coronavirus tests per day, far less than what some experts say is needed | Spotlight PA

Pa. sets modest goal to conduct 8,500 coronavirus tests per day, far less than what some experts say is needed | Spotlight PA

is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. .HARRISBURG — As national experts sound the alarm that the nation needs to dramatically increase coronavirus testing, Pennsylvania officials said Friday that they will aim to conduct a modest 8,500 tests per day as they begin loosening restrictions across large swathes of the state.The Department of Health’s plan sets a target for testing 2% of Pennsylvania’s population — or 256,000 people — each month. Health Secretary Rachel Levine said...

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May 1, 2020
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