Governor Wolf has extended the stay-at-home order to June 4 for areas in the red phase, including Delaware County and surrounding counties. The extended stay-at-home order remains the same as the original statewide stay-at-home order announced on April 1. Under the order, only essential businesses can operate and residents are asked to stay home unless travel is essential. Details on the extended order can be found here: www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-sec-of-health-take-actions-on-stay-at-home-orders-issue-yellow-phase-orders/
The stay-at-home order was issued by the Governor. The County does not have the authority to amend or lift the order. What we can do and have done is to identify the ways that we believe will help us meet the criteria for a reopening by the Governor more quickly, and also in a way that is safe for our community.
When the Governor released his timeline for reopening parts of the State, Council asked that the Governor measure progress using separate metrics for new cases in nursing homes and new cases in the rest of the community. Looking at the two populations separately allows us to understand the progress being made, and the appropriate responses, more effectively and precisely.
According to local and national public health experts, higher levels of testing capacity would allow us to broaden our community testing and include asymptomatic people who are unknowingly spreading the virus. In tandem with a more robust contact tracing and case investigation system, we would be able to more rapidly identify where the virus exists and isolate it. And, after a full or partial reopening, when the inevitable flare-ups of COVID-19 occur, more robust testing and contact tracing would allow us to more readily contain the spread to help prevent returning to a state of shutdown.
Delaware County Council, along with the leadership of other counties in the Southeast region of the state have been calling on State leadership in Harrisburg to prioritize making more tests available to the region. Council is in daily communication with local county leaders and elected leaders in Delaware County to address the ways we can start to reopen safely and have been communicating that message to leaders at the State.
Please know we are doing everything within our power to safely reopen as quickly as possible. As we have said- we do not have the authority to lift or amend this order.
We fully understand this has been devastating to our entire community. The County has been working to offer information and resources to assist our residents. We have taken measures to support our suffering business community with the investment of $1.75 million in the Delco Strong Small Business Support Program. Further, we are currently working to initiate a second round of business support in an effort to help our businesses get through this crisis. We have been working to coordinate food and supply donations to residents in need and offer support for those who are struggling.
We recognize it is frustrating to watch counties in Central and Western Pennsylvania and also neighboring states that have been not been hit as hard begin to open up while we are still shuttered.
The County is doing everything we can to help our residents and businesses through this extremely difficult time. We thank you for your collective efforts and sacrifices as a community as we all face this crisis together.