Harrisburg, PA – Three legislators representing Chester County today wrote Governor Tom Wolf to request the county immediately be moved to the yellow phase of the COVID-19 phased recovery plan and detach it from Philadelphia for the purposes of regional reopening metrics.
“While Chester County long-term care facilities and hospitals have experienced a high number of illnesses and deaths from COVED-l9, few cases have been reported in our general population,” wrote Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-26th), Senator Tom Killion (R-9th), and Rep. Steve Barrar (R-160th). “Across the county COVID-19 hospitalization rates are declining, and most patients fall within the expected high-risk groups.”
According to the most recent figures reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH), Chester County has recorded 2,008 cases of COVID-19, or 0.38 percent of its U.S. Census Bureau estimated population of 524,989. 673 cases have been reported in residents of the county’s nursing homes and congregate care facilities and another 106 positives have been reported in employees of those facilities.
The legislators emphasized the toll the pandemic has taken on congregate care homes and that Chester County is well positioned to care for those sickened by the virus.
“We recommend that the Pennsylvania Department of Health redirect state resources to long-term care facilities to ensure the health and safety of our elderly, who are our most vulnerable population,” they wrote.
Brandywine Hospital has 11 COVID-19 patients, Phoenixville Hospital has 23, and Jennersville Hospital has one. According to PA DOH, 10 of the county’s 119 ventilators are currently being used by COVID-19 patients.
“Across Chester County, hospital systems are resuming normal operations, including elective surgeries, as they feel comfortable with their abilities to cope with anticipated numbers of virus patients.”
In making their request of the governor, the legislators called attention to the economic devastation in Chester County and Pennsylvania, with more than 2 million Pennsylvanians – 26 percent of the state’s workforce – unemployed.
“If we do not act now, the economic damage, already severe, will only worsen. Small and large businesses that have furloughed employees will make those layoffs permanent. Factories will close – further eroding our industrial and manufacturing base and workforce, Some small businesses are already on the verge of closing their doors forever.
“Now is the time to reopen Chester County.”
CONTACTS: Rep. Hennessey: 610-715-9500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Killion: John Kelemen, email@example.com
Rep. Barrar: firstname.lastname@example.org