Erie County COVID-19 Updates: March 31, 2020
Kathy Dahlkemper addresses the latest news amidst the growing pandemic
Erie County Executive Dahlkemper began her address by referencing Governor Tom Wolf's recent order for all counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be under the stay-at-home order. This order, including Erie County, is extended to April 30.
There was one new case testing positive for COVID-19, the patient is a teenager now being isolated at home, and the youngest person in the county to test positive. Contact is presumed to have been caused via travel. This brings the total number of positive cases to 14 (with two from outside of Erie County), with 475 total tested, and 461 negatives, with a 97% negative testing rates. Dahlkemper praised this low rate of positive cases and Erie County's continued social distancing practices.
Statewide, there have been 4845 positive cases, with 63 deaths.
The Erie County Department of Health has practiced "contact tracing" with infected individuals, attempting to track who they have been in contact with during the most recent two weeks. This tracing is generally ongoing, with patients recalling information gradually. So far, one case appears to be due to community spread, meaning that the virus cannot be traced back to a specific source.
Dahlkemper stressed handwashing and social distancing practices, citing their extreme importance. She noted some churches still holding services, directly addressing clergy of all kinds to "please shut down your in-person services in your religious facility." She urged churches to use alternative measures for practicing, having also taken suggestions from the county's sign language interpreter, Mark Blakeley. Later in the address, she encouraged creative, safe solutions.
Addressing the Chautauqua County resident that passed away yesterday after complications being transferred to an Erie hospital, she explained that "Erie County will continue to see transfers from outside our community, and our hospitals – we can be very grateful – are state of the art, and they take every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all the people who seek care there." She went on to admit that "unfortunately, we know that this will not be the only person to succumb to this virus. Please understand that this person was no threat to our public safety, and there are no public health concerns to our community from this untimely and tragic death from this individual from Chautauqua County."
So far, county enforcement inspectors have received a total of 284 complaints and have conducted 97 field inspections on local businesses. 89 of those have been in compliance. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (814) 451-6700, or go to eriecounty.pa.gov.
President Judge John J. Trucilla of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas addressed the audience as well, concerning the status of local courts. He noted his declaration of emergency issued on March 17, which has been extended to Monday, May 4. He commended warded Kevin Sutter and deputy Warded Michael Holman for their efforts at the Erie County Prison.
Nick Warren can be reached at email@example.com