During a press conference today, Governor Tom Wolf announced what criteria would determine when a region of Pennsylvania would be deemed ready to reopen.
Re-opening will be divided into three phases; red, yellow, and green. All of Pennsylvania is currently in phase red. Beginning May 8th, the Governor could begin moving on a region-by-region basis some regions to the yellow phase if it is determined the criteria is met. The criteria to move from yellow to green has not yet been established.
The main factor is an evaluation of the incidence rate of COVID-19 cases per capita. “We will rely upon existing regional health districts used by PA DOH,” stated Wolf. A regional assessment will measure the COVID-19 cases per the population, and will need to be an average of less than 50 cases per 100,000 individuals over the course of 14 days to return to work.” Montgomery County has 830,915 residents as of 2019.
Other factors outlined by the governor are:
- Enough testing available for individuals with symptoms and target populations such as those at high risk, health care personnel, and first responders.
- Robust case investigation and contact tracing infrastructure is in place to facilitate early identification of cluster outbreaks and to issue proper isolation and quarantine orders.
- Identification of area’s high-risk settings including correctional institutions, personal care homes, skilled nursing facilities, and other congregate care settings, and assurance that facilities have adequate safeguards in place such as staff training, employee screening, visitor procedures and screening, and adequate supplies of PPE to support continued operations.
Wolf also went into detail about a modeling dashboard under development and evaluation by Carnegie Mellon University. Wolf shared, “This tool will help better understand the current health and economic status, as well as the inherent risks and benefits to easing restrictions by sector and region.”
To see the specifics about the criteria and the details on each specific phase click here. One thing to point out. What industries fall within each phase has not yet been determined. For example, Wolf was asked by a member of the press if hair salons fell within yellow or green. He stated that it wasn’t settled yet.
You can watch the press conference below:
Photo: Commonwealth of PA