Wolf Announces 17 Counties to Green Phase, Plan for Statewide Stay-at-home Order Lift
Erie County will not be one of the areas opening up on May 29
In a May 22 press conference, Governor Tom Wolf laid out plans for the continued reopening of Pennsylvania.
He announced that on May 29, a week from the date of the announcement, 17 of the commonwealth's 67 counties would be moving to the Green phase of reopening.
Erie, however, was not listed among those 17.
Erie County entered the Yellow phase on May 8, and was one of the initial 23 counties to do so.
Erie not being on this list to move into the Green phase likely comes as no surprise to local political leaders, and those who have been following our recent data closely.
Among the original counties to move to the Yellow phase on May 8. Centre, Clinton, Mercer, Northumberland, and Union County also were not announced to move to the Green phase.
At the time of this announcement, the 17 counties entering the Green phase have a combined total of 346 positive cases. Not one of these counties has a cumulative case count higher than 100, with eight of them having a total under 10. At the time of this announcement, Erie's total is 191 positive cases.
In addition to the 17 counties announced, there are 17 more counties with a cumulative total under 100.
On May 29, Erie will be the only county in the Yellow phase not to share a border with another. The neighboring counties to Erie's south, Crawford and Warren County, will enter the Green phase on that day.
Wolf also announced that the entire state would have the stay-at-home order lifted on June 5, with Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia moving to the Yellow phase
This would effectually lift the stay-at-home order across the entire Commonwealth of Pennslyvania on June 5.
On May 29, Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill County will move into the Yellow phase (indicated in the above map in orange).
"We know not only that we succeeded in slowing case growth, but that our actions, our collective decisions to stay at home and avoid social contact – we know that saved lives," Gov. Wolf stated, adding that "my stay-at-home order did exactly what it was intended to do: It saved lives and it bought us valuable time."
When deciding which counties to move to yellow, Pennsylvania used risk-based metrics developed by Carnegie Mellon University to develop statistics, weighing them with contact tracing, testing capability, and fewer COVID-19-related hospitalizations. The "50 new cases per 100,000 population" also factored in, along with above. Erie's two-week threshold for cases is around 135, and our ratio stands at around 30 cases per 100,000. Statewide, the current rate for positive cases is 83.4 cases per 100,000 people, with a ratio of 113.6 per 100,000 two weeks ago. At this point, Pennsylvania is one of 19 states with new case-rate declines like this.
"Counties that have been in the yellow phase for the requisite 14 days have been closely monitored for the risk associated with transitioning to the green phase. In the green phase, we will continue to take precautions, including reducing building capacity, encouraging teleworking, limiting visitation in certain high-risk environments, and preventing large entertainment gatherings," an official statement said.
For more information, go to governor.pa.gov/newsroom.