Erie County Update: May 29, 2020
11 new cases reported as Erie is not announced to move to Green phase
Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, in her live video press conference today, reported 11 new positive cases of COVID-19 today. This brings our cumulative total to 253 positive cases, with 4,776 negatives (308 yesterday). So far, there have been 175 recovered cases –with 46 recoveries reported yesterday To date, there have been three deaths of Erie County residents reported due to COVID-19, with a fourth still being reported by the state.
While March and April saw daily video updates from Dahlkemper, they shifted to two-per-week after Memorial Day. Today, she announced that they would be cutting that down further to one televised press briefing per week, Wednesdays at 10 a.m. The county will still be providing updated press releases with confirmed data on a daily basis.
Dahlkemper also announced that Erie County will begin reporting positive cases by zipcode, rather than by Zone. This will coincide with the state's method of reporting, with Erie County's method of mapping preceding the state's.
Erie County's cumulative positive case total has more than doubled since May 14. There have been 110 new cases reported over the last 14 days, for a ratio of about just over 40 new cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days.
In Pennsylvania, there were 693 additional positive cases (68 more than yesterday), for a total of 70,735 total cases. So far, there have been 5,464 deaths statewide, with 91 occurring yesterday and 108 the day prior. 366,970 patients who have tested negative to date, with 9,166 tests yesterday. So far, 65% of PA's positive cases have recovered (up 1% since yesterday).
Erie County's negative tests account for 1.30% of Pennsylvania's (for a 0.05 daily increase), while its population accounts for 2.15%.
Erie County's positive cases account for 0.36% of the state's cumulative cases (less than a 0.01% daily increase).
There were minor changes in some of our nearby counties. Crawford County rose to 30 positive cases (up seven, in their largest single-day increase on record), and 1,065 negatives. McKean County sees no change since Tuesday at 12 cases, one death, and 584 negatives. Venango County remains at eight positive cases (no change since May 18), and 541 negatives. Warren County stands at three cases and 371 negatives.
Although Dahlkemper did not report on our surrounding, out-of-state neighbors during the press conference, Ashtabula County has 330 cases (up six), 54 hospitalized and 34 deaths (up one). Chautauqua County did not have updated data the time of this writing.
Dahlkemper was quick to address the elephant in the room: Erie County is not set to move to the Green phase on June 5. During many moments of the broadcast, the usually unflappable county executive was at times noticeably affected by the events of the day.
Following numerous questions, one thing Dahlkemper reiterated was the strain put on the county's contact tracers. She noted that some workers have had no days off since the COVID-19 pandemic began in our area. She cited that the county has asked for government assistance to help alleviate the workload of Erie County's contact tracers.
Making a heartfelt statement, Dahlkemper said: "We all as a community must make a sacrifice right now. We must think of others. It's not about me, and this is not about you. This is about all of us a community, and what it means to love and respect our neighbors and our community. Because love is not possible without sacrifice, and sacrifice is not possible without love. And so often we say that we love our country, and we do. We say we love our community, and we do. We love our friends, our neighbors, and our family, and the people we love, and I am asking you to sacrifice now to prove your love. To show it. To show your love for this country, this community, for your neighbors, for your friends, for your family. And there's one thing you can do to show your love, and it's: Wear this."
Dahlkemper held up a cloth mask.
"This little, maybe one-ounce piece of fabric is the way that you can sacrifice and you can show your love that you say you have, because there are people in our community who need us right now to show the love and the sacrifice that even wearing a simple piece of cloth, a mask over our face and nose, can show. Let us collectively show our love for our community and all of those who live in it. We can then truly say that we love our county and truly say that we love our community, and truly say that we love our neighbor, and our family and our friends, and we are willing to sacrifice to prove it."
"As we look forward to going Green, one day, hopefully very soon, we know there are preparations in our restaurants and our foodservice facilities that need to be made prior to that time."
Dahlkemper explained that the Erie County Department of Health has been working with the organization CityGrows to create forms and other tools to help businesses properly comply with requirements. There is also a form available for any seasonal business that remains closed to hold their licenses and potentially waive fees for 2020. Both forms are available at ErieCountyPA.gov's business page under the Local heading.
Joining the County Executive today was her director of administration, Gary Lee, who detailed some of the county's opening processes.