Pennsylvania ​Reopening Announcement Expected Friday

Some Counties and Regions To Move From Red to Yellow

Joe DeStio
April 28, 2020 - 5:18 pm
Tom Wolf speaks during a coronavirus briefing on April 1, 2020

Office of the Governor

HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Governor Tom Wolf and state health officials are expected to announce Friday which areas of Pennsylvania will move from red to yellow under the governor's plan to reopen from COVID-19.

"We are going to be looking at quantitative factors, and we had talked about the rate of infection in a county, but there are other qualitative factors that will go into making those decisions by the end of this week," according to Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

The main quantitative factor Levine addressed is a threshold of fewer that 50 COVID-19 cases per 100-thousand population in a county. "I think it would be unlikely that a county doesn't meet that threshold but still is allowed to reopen," said Levine.

Other factors will include hospitalization rates, travel patterns, ability to perform contact tracing, and availability of testing.

"As we make our announcement by Friday we will have a benchmark for testing that we will be shooting for," said Levine. "It will be aspirational that we would like to get to this much testing in those areas."

An evaluation tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University is expected to assist health officials and the governor in making their decisions.

The health department divides Pennsylvania into six broad regions. The Southeast including Philadelphia has been the hardest hit by far. The Northeast Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area follows in numbers of cases, followed by the South Central part of the state. While Allegheny County is the hardest hit in the Southwest, the region as a whole has fewer cases and deaths. The Northeast and North Central have the fewest cases.

A move to yellow on May 8th under the governor's plan means in-person businesses and child care centers may reopen. Recommendations for social distancing and wearing of face masks remain. Restaurants would remain take-out only. Offices could have more workers return but Levine says tele-commuting would still be preferable.

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