Wolf Cautious of Erie County's Rising Numbers
Warning of an outbreak, PA's governor specifically cited Erie County in latest address
Governor Tom Wolf began his video conference today in a visibly good mood. For the first time since March, the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had its stay-at-home order lifted. As conversations turned to increased statewide reopenings and potential economic recovery, he seemed hopeful.
Around five minutes into his prepared remarks, his tone changed.
"Now I just want to end on one cautionary note," he explained. "While the total case count continues to decline throughout Pennsylvania, Erie County is experiencing a rise in its new case count as well as an increase in its percent positive rate. This is a concern, in fact, it's actually alarming to our epidemiologists who believe that an outbreak is occurring as we speak in Erie County," Wolf claimed.
"I know, and I understand that Erie County's residents are eager to move from the Yellow phase into the Green phase. Like everybody else, they're frustrated. But with these signs of community spread – the potential of community spread – of the coronavirus, we need to contain it before it can move forward. Before the virus can move forward and before we can feel comfortable moving into the Green phase – they're in Yellow," he clarified.
"So we're going to provide six contact tracers to Erie to help their health department and help mitigate the spread. We're going to give them as much help as possible so that they can move forward safely and quickly."
When questioned specifically of Perry County, who is also not moving to the Green phase, PA Health Department Secretary Rachel Levine explained that "in terms of the different metrics, and our tool – it's on our website now," she said, referring to theCarnegie Mellon Risk-Based Decision Support Tool. "They did not meet that criteria in terms of either stable or decreasing rates of infection over the last 14 days. So when those counties do meet the different criteria, then they'll go to green, so Perry County didn't meet that for the next two weeks but we'll be very hopeful that by next Friday we'll be able to make an announcement, but we're going to have to see what the data shows," she stated.