(STL.News) – Governor Tom Wolf announced that he will spend up to $50 million in transferred state funding to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency workers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania.
“We need more beds, more ventilators, more personal protective equipment, and so much more and we need it as soon as possible because the virus is here,” Gov. Wolf said. “I am working to get this funding moving as quickly as I can. We need to do everything we can to support our front-line medical workers to protect them and ensure they have the equipment to care for patients. This funding is a step in the right direction.”
The $50 million in funding will be deposited into a restricted account under the governor’s jurisdiction and funds will be used if there are insufficient funds available from the disaster proclamation “to buy medical equipment and supplies for health care entities to meet urgent patient and staff needs to address surge demand. Health care entities include hospitals, nursing facilities and emergency medical services” according to the legislation – House Bill 1232.
The governor is expected to sign the bill tomorrow.
“As we continue to navigate uncharted waters with COVID-19, it is vital that we provide assistance to the healthcare professionals leading the fight during this public health epidemic,” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said. “In Pennsylvania, we worked together to dedicate this money to help those who are waging this extraordinary battle.”
“As this crisis has evolved, our members have heard consistently from workers in need, parents and students with a lack of direction and the healthcare community concerned about a surge in patients,” said House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler. “I hope every resident of our state sees the actions we took to help all of those groups this week and knows their government is working to make sure we will get through this crisis together.”
“Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate convened remotely for the first time ever to address our constituents’ needs through this crisis,” Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa said. “Getting resources to our medical professionals is a top priority in this fight against COVID-19, and I’m glad we were able to work quickly in a bipartisan and bicameral way to allocate $50 million toward procuring those supplies.”
“The legislation allowing this use of funding was one of our top priorities this week. Legislators in both parties pulled together to pass it,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “Pennsylvania’s heroic medical workers are in the thick of a life-and-death battle and we have to make sure they have the tools to carry on the fight for everyone’s good.”
Yesterday, Gov. Wolf announced the COVID-19 Capital Working Access Program (CWCA) to provide $60 million in loans to small businesses. These efforts combined are intended to get funding where it is needed most to save lives and livelihoods.
Pennsylvania is seeing cases of COVID-19 increase exponentially every day and until the curve of cases is flattened, everyone needs to do their part to help. Today, the Department of Health announced 560 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,687. There are 16 deaths, and 16,441 negative test results in the state.