Three New Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Erie County
Affected individuals are in their 70s, 80s
Three senior citizens have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past day, bringing Erie County's total caseload to 32. The individuals, two in their 70s, one in their 80s are recuperating in their private residences, Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper announced in her daily press briefing. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, a seven-year-old has tested positive for COVID-19 in Crawford County. None of these cases have yet required hospitalization.
After reviewing the latest statistics, Dahlkemper responded to the following topics:
- On Gov. Wolf's executive order to allow statewide sharing of medical resources: "I'm going to trust our healthcare providers to know what they need." She noted that two of Erie's hosptials — AHN St. Vincent and UPMC Hamot — belong to expansive systems, which would allow them the capacity to serve harder-struck areas of the state.
- On holiday travel: Dahlkemper admitted "there's nothing we can really do" about people traveling into Erie County from elsewhere, but urged friends and family members residing locally to remind out-of-towners to stay home — "the less travel, the better."
- On golf: Despite being closed by state mandate as a "non-essential business," some golf courses have nonetheless seen people congregate, to the point where the Environmental Task Force has responded to complaints and herded them off. Dahlkemper said that discussions continue amongst state officials to determine whether golfing is an activity that could resume safely with social distancing protocols in place.
- On fishing: Dahlkemper was slightly pessimistic about that coming to fruition because of complaints of anglers not abiding by the rules with the early opening of trout season, standing shoulder to shoulder while fishing. She encouraged everyone to refamiliarize themselves with the state-mandated social distancing regulations to avoid debarment from much-needed recreational outlets like Presque Isle.
- On House Republicans pushing to reopen businesses: "It depends on the businesses and how essential they are," Dahlkemper said, while acknowledging the economic toll the pandemic has taken locally and across the state. She expressed her hope that public health, not political considerations, would remain the primary motivator in any decisionmaking to this end.
- On more in-depth case reporting: Dahlkemper reiterated that Erie County's 32 positive cases of COVID-19 are scattered, with no real "hot spots." She clarified that the County Department of Health has not released statistics on a more "granular" level to stave off complacency and a false sense of security — the idea that people might not have to worry about infection because it's not in their specific neighborhood. She stressed that every decision officials make each day are centered around saving lives.
- On community spread: Dahlkemper was pleased at the relative lack of community spread in Erie County, with only a few cases whose origins could not be resolved through contact tracing. "We're way ahead of other counties, even with smaller populations."
Dahlkemper lauded the overall effort of the Erie community in limiting the spread of COVID-19, relieved to see the numbers didn't look as bad as anticipated earlier in the week. She reminded everyone to stay physically apart but socially connected as we continue through this unprecented challenge.