Updates from Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, March 25, 2020
Citing two new hotlines for residents to call, she outlined ongoing efforts to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19
Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper's daily live stream via WQLN followed Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's address.
"The stay at home order which was issued yesterday has raised questions," Dahlkemper noted, directing those with questions to the county's website resource page, and a "rumor hotline" staffed by Erie County Library staff, with extensions from the Erie County Department of Health for medical providers regarding COVID-19, food carryout and delivery options, and general COVID-19 questions at (814) 451-6700.
She detailed the creation of a new community chat line for residents experiencing emotional distress. Though staffed by mental health professionals, the new chat line is not a crisis line. That number is currently operation (814) 273-7007, with hours 8:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (hours subject to change).
With Erie County's life-sustaining businesses still operational, enforcement officials are in the field, with 25 new complaints and 10 more field inspections having been conducted at the time of the March 25 broadcast.
When asked whether police would enforce the stay-at-home order, Dahlkemper stated that "we are not looking to arrest anyone," having spoken with District Attorney Jack Daneri, reassuring residents that police will be giving warnings rather than citations, except in extreme cases.
Addressing whether Erie is ahead of the curve both statewide and nationally, she said: "I believe we are in the best possible place considering whats happening in the commonwealth and what's happening around the globe." The County Executive cited Erie's proximity to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo, with frequent transportation in the tri-state area increasing the outside spread of COVID-19.
In terms of a child custody situation, especially one outside of the county, Dahlkemper was quick to suggest frank conversation and open lines of communication between both parties, being especially aware of areas outside Erie County. She confessed that she spoke more from personal experience on this matter, and urged residents to call the county's number for further information.
Dahlkemper reiterated that residents should view that they are the ones with the potential to spread the disease, rather than having the disease being spread to them.
200 negative cases in total have been made in Erie County. None of Erie's five reported cases have been hospitalized, now undergoing home isolation.