Allegheny, Surrounding Counties Not On List Of Areas Reopening May 8

Lawrence and Mercer are the closest counties to the Pittsburgh area

Jeff Oravitz
May 01, 2020 - 1:35 pm
May 8 Coronavirus Reopening in PA

Officer of the Governor of Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania has begun the reopening process after many businesses, all schools, public activities, such as concerts and sporting events, and more were temporarily shut down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

On Friday, Wolf outlined some of the first planned moves in the state to take regions from red to yellow.

Allegheny and surrounding counties will not begin to reopen on May 8.  Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said earlier in the week that the main quantitative factor for determining which areas could progress on the path to reopening was the threshold of Coronavirus cases in a county. The ideal scenario would be 50 cases or less per 100,000 population in a county.

The counties that are set to open are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.

“Over the past two months, Pennsylvanians in every corner of our commonwealth have acted collectively to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “We have seen our new case numbers stabilize statewide and while we still have areas where outbreaks are occurring, we also have many areas that have few or no new cases.”

Additional decisions on counties still under a stay-at-home order will be made over the "next several weeks."

Pennsylvania is working with Carnegie Mellon University to create a “Risk-Based Decision Support Tool” that helps balance results of the economy while minimizing health risks.

CMU looks at factors such as reported number of COVID-19 cases per population in an area, health system capacity, population density, population over 60 years old, re-opening contact risks, “suck as the number of workers employed in a currently closed industry sector.”

All reopening decisions follow the six standards outlined in the governor’s plan to reopen Pennsylvania. These include adhering to:

  • Data-driven and quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopening.
  • Clear guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities and providers for assured accountability.
  • Adequate and available personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing.
  • A monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
  • Protections for vulnerable populations such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  • Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations.

“Our goal since this pandemic was first identified in Pennsylvania has been to save lives while ensuring that the public health system does not become overwhelmed with people suffering from COVID-19,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Our contact tracing and testing plans will ensure that as we begin to resume our daily activities, we can do so safely and without fear.”

On Monday, Governor Wolf made the announcement that golf courses and other outdoor activities could resume on May 1, with social distancing and other restrictions in place.

PennDOT construction projects throughout the state have also been given the go-ahead to resume and in the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto said certain outdoor work would start up again on May 1.

Since March, only life-sustaining businesses had been permitted to remain open, stay at home orders were put into place statewide with travel being limited to life-sustaining purposes only and all schools in the commonwealth were closed indefinitely.

Governor Tom Wolf said the process to reopen the state would be a slow process

Governor Wolf's Reopening PA Plan
State Of Pennsylvania

Andrew Limberg contributed to this article.

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