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Daily Coronavirus Briefing - May 18, 2020

Bucks County Coronavirus Summary
Welcome to the Bucks County 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) guide. This page has the latest information on coronavirus in the county, updated daily.

PA Department of Health provides update on COVID-19, 822 new positives bring statewide total to 63,056
The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of noon May 18, that there are 822 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 63,056. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. Today, the state is reporting 87 new deaths and a total to 4,505 total deaths in Pennsylvania. The state report today includes only deaths at nursing homes and personal care facilities. Bucks County reports 4,516 cases and 394 deaths; Chester County 2153 cases and 87 deaths; Lehigh County 3,491 cases and 110 deaths; Montgomery County 6,012 cases and 522 deaths; Northampton County 2,727 cases and 128 deaths; Philadelphia 16,340 cases and 415 deaths.

New Jersey reports 148,039 positive COVID-19 cases
The New Jersey Department of Health announced that as of May 18, there are 148,039 cases of COVID-19 cases and 10,435 deaths. There are 5,950 Mercer County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 408 people have died. On May 11, Hunterdon County reported 846 cases and 52 deaths. Alexandria Township listed 10 cases; Clinton Town 25 cases and one death; Clinton Township 123 cases and four deaths; Delaware 17 cases; East Amwell 14 cases; Flemington 59 cases and one death; Frenchtown 6 cases; Kingwood Township 15 cases; Lambertville City 21 cases and three deaths; Milford four cases; Raritan Township 145 cases and 20 deaths; West Amwell 18 cases and two deaths. Stockton Borough continues to report zero cases.


Congressional Oversight Commission publishes initial report
The members of the bipartisan Congressional Oversight Commission have published their initial report, as mandated by the CARES Act. A letter from the commission’s four members to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell transmitting the report is below. You may view the whole report at

The Congressional Oversight Commission is a five-person panel that was established by the CARES Act. The commission is focused specifically on the economic stabilization efforts of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve. The members of the commission are Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Congresswoman Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), Congressman French Hill (R-Ark.), and Bharat Ramamurti. The commission’s chairperson has not been appointed yet.

Pennsylvania launches program for people who exhaust their Unemployment Compensation benefits
Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak Sunday announced the launch of Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits to people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC). PEUC is included in the new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Pennsylvania has implemented all programs under the new CARES Act and paid out nearly $7.4 billion in total unemployment benefits since mid-March.

Gov. Wolf: Federal funding available for COVID-19 testing and treatment for uninsured patients
Gov. Tom Wolf announced today that through the federal stimulus bills providers of COVID-19 testing and treatment services will be able to be reimbursed for providing those services to uninsured patients. “All Pennsylvanians should have access to necessary testing for COVID-19 and this federal funding will help eliminate any financial burden on those both providing and receiving tests,” Wolf said. The Department of Human Services (DHS) also reminded Pennsylvanians of the continued availability of health coverage through the state’s Medicaid program, known as Medical Assistance (MA), or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

PA Gaming Control Board: Internet gaming sees significant growth in April
With land-based gaming options unavailable during the entire month of April, Pennsylvania operators saw a substantial increase in activity through online options for casino type games. April revenue for online casino-type games, which include slot machines, table games and poker jumped 73% over the previous month of March.

Gov. Wolf stresses roles of PA Emergency Management Agency, National Guard in pandemic response
Gov. Tom Wolf today stressed the critical roles the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and PA National Guard play in coordinating the state’s preparedness and response to COVID-19. He was joined at a press conference by PEMA director Randy Padfield and PA National Guard Col. Frank Montgomery.

“Pennsylvania has a great team working behind the scenes to coordinate our response to the coronavirus,” Wolf said. “I want to reassure all Pennsylvanians that we are in good hands with the teams at PEMA and the National Guard. The training and planning that they do year-round is tested during exercises, and all of that experience is being acted upon now.”


Pennsylvania Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns issues safety measures promise to guests
The Pennsylvania Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (PABBI) and health officials have requested that individual bed & breakfast owners and innkeepers implement a set of voluntary commitments to ensure the safety of their staff and guests during the COVID-19 recovery period. Named “The Bed & Breakfast Inns Promise,” the set of voluntary commitments is available for any bed & breakfast or inn that is reopening its property to guests. Upon arrival, guests can view the commitments at the entrance of the property.

PECO extends financial resources for customers impacted by COVID-19
To offer continued assistance to customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, PECO is extending its support policies, which include suspending service disconnections, waiving new late fees, and reconnecting customers who were previously disconnected, through at least July 1. The company is also highlighting financial resources, including flexible bill pay options and the Gift of Energy program, which allows customers to provide support to those struggling financially.
Biomeds call on state leaders for hospital equipment repair info
PennPIRG delivered a letter to state legislators and the governor Monday, signed by 326 hospital repair experts, calling for manufacturers to stop withholding what biomedical technicians, known as biomeds, need to fix medical equipment like ventilators. It’s part of PennPIRG’s larger Right to Repair Campaign, which aims to remove unnecessary barriers to repair that drive up costs for product owners and increase electronic waste. PennPIRG worked with state Rep. Austin Davis to introduce the Digital Fair Repair Act last month.
Arts & Culture

Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates International Museum Day today with online tours
Philadelphia Museum of Art invites visitors to “tour” the museum online today for International Museum Day. “We may not be able to open our doors and invite you to visit today for International Museum Day, but we can take you on a tour of some of our favorite galleries, spaces, and artwork in the museum,” the museum said via email. Visit

Education, Courses & Online Learning

Penn State Extension offers discount on online courses through May
To continue to support its customers during the coronavirus pandemic, Penn State Extension is offering 75 percent off many of its online courses through May. This offer comes on the heels of extension’s free online course promotion that began April 1 and continued through May 10 — more than 108,000 registrations were received from across the globe. Some of the more popular courses included “Beekeeping 101,” “Grant Writing: How to Find Funds and Write a Winning Proposal,” “Nutrition 101: Healthy Eating Guidelines and Meal Planning,” and “Teach for Forests: Forest Education for Teachers and Youth Leaders.”

Health & Wellness

Blood drive hosts, volunteers, donors needed amid ongoing pandemic
In times of need, people come together to support one another. The American Red Cross is asking organizations and individuals to step up to help patients experiencing health crises by hosting blood drives, volunteering as blood drive screeners or donating blood or platelets.