The state’s auditor general said he has begun an audit into the controversial process, but won’t release the names of businesses that received a coveted waiver.
The state could need to conduct about 19,000 tests per day and employ as many as 2,000 contact tracers, numbers that far exceed current levels.
Even before the coronavirus, Republicans expressed skepticism about the spending.
The administration has so far refused to release the information despite numerous requests from media organizations.
By not acknowledging what coroners see as their legal obligation, the Pennsylvania Coroners Association believes that the state is risking a miscount of deaths, potentially misunderstanding how the virus is spreading and overburdening hospital staff with administrative tasks.
As part of a collaborative effort, Stateline and Spotlight PA surveyed six states across the U.S. to determine what information they have made accessible to the public via their websites.
The past five days have been a roller coaster of confusion involving the state health department, marred by retracted statements, reporting lags, and angry coroners.
The number of long-term care residents and staff impacted by the coronavirus has nearly doubled in the past week, with 5,679 positive cases among residents and 849 deaths.
During a hearing Thursday, members of the Republican-controlled state Senate lambasted the now-closed waiver process and scrutinized key decisions made by the Wolf administration in response to the COVID-19 threat.
In the first phase of reopening, businesses would be allowed to call employees back to work, as long as they take proper precautions. Schools would remain closed and large gatherings would still be prohibited.