Delaware County Council, joined by members of Delaware County’s Emergency Services and Delaware County’s Department of Intercommunity Health held a press conference on March 13 to provide an update on 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19.)
Today the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced additional presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. There are five new cases in Delaware County. That brings the total number of Delaware County to six and the total number of statewide cases to 41. Yesterday the total number of cases in the state was 22. That has almost doubled in the past 24 hours.
This evening, Governor Wolf announced COVID-19 mitigation efforts and guidance on how to reduce the spread of the virus in Pennsylvania. He announced statewide guidance and also specific guidance for Delaware County. The guidance is effective immediately and will continue for the next 14 days.
The Governor announced the closing of all public and private schools and programs, state licensed daycares and adult day care centers in Pennsylvania. Every school in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks, beginning on Monday. School districts will not be penalized if they fail to meet the 180 day or school hour requirement.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced today that it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow eligible schools to serve meals to low income students in a
non-congregate setting, such as a drive-through or grab and go, during the school closure. Delaware County’s Department of Emergency Management is coordinating a distribution plan.
The Governor made the recommendation for non-essential retail facilities in Delaware County to close. The Governor gave examples of non-essential businesses. These include movie theatres, shopping malls, and gyms. Essential retail facilities such as pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations will remain open.
“Residents should not be panicking,” said Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “Food stores, pharmacies and gas stations and their suppliers will remain open. The goal is to prevent of the spread of the virus. Limiting unnecessary social outings like going to the movies, the gym, clothes shopping, etc. is how we can accomplish this.”
Restrictions on non-essential retail facilities in Delaware County is effective immediately.
“It is important that we all listen to the guidance coming from the Federal Government, the State and the County, said Councilwoman Elaine Schaefer. “We can learn from other countries and stay ahead of the spread of the virus. Now is the time to exert personal responsibility and be prudent. We have a very narrow window of time to take measures now to prevent this from rapidly spreading.”
The County is coordinating with federal, state and local leaders to ensure we are all following guidance and have a unified approach to the mitigation of this virus.
This afternoon Delaware County implemented the following:
Beginning Monday, March 16 Delaware County Courts and Government Offices will operate with a reduced and staggered staff.
The County is encouraging employees to work remotely if they are able to.
Delaware County Courts will operate with a reduced staff and will discontinue juror trials. These measures will be implemented on Monday. The time frame is fluid. This is a rapidly changing situation.
During this time, government services will continue. However, we ask that residents be patient and also considerate of this process. If there is not a time sensitive or critical need for a service - please postpone visiting the Courthouse and County buildings.
Yesterday, Governor Wolf strongly encouraged the suspension of large gatherings of 250 people or more in the state. The County is also following that guidance and continues to stress to residents that if it’s not essential to be out- please stay home.
This afternoon Council was in communication with colleagues in Montgomery, Chester, Philadelphia and Bucks County.
“The counties are working collectively on mitigation efforts to flatten the curve,” said Councilwoman Christine Ruether. “We are neighbors. We are all in this together. We all need to be following the guidance that has been given”
This afternoon Council was also in communication with first responders in the County. The County wants to ensure that their needs are being met and that they are protecting themselves and can safely continue serving the community.
“Our emergency responders are being strained right now,” said Reuther. “They are critical to our health and public safety. Please refrain from putting unnecessary demands on them. In other words-please act responsibly. We need them right now, and we need them to be healthy.”
Council once again stresses to residents that right now, the best way to protect yourself is to take the same precautions you would to prevent the flu or common cold:
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you are asked to call the State Health Department at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
The County has created a website dedicated to information on the Coronavirus, including prevention, resources and a FAQ section with link to the PA Health Department and CDC.
The website is: www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/coronavirus.html
Residents are encouraged to register for the DelcoAlert notification system which alerts residents of updates and emergencies. You can register here: www.delcopa.gov/delcoalert/delcoalert.html