County will find out Friday whether it will proceed to ‘Yellow Phase’

County officials will know on Friday whether Warren County will be moved to the “Yellow Phase” of Gov. Tom Wolf’s state reopening plans.

The commissioners on Wednesday also wrote to the governor, asking for not only the “Yellow Phase” date to be moved up but also movement to the “Green Phase” on May 8.

“The governor’s office called me and said they’ll confirm on May 1,” Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said. “The tone of the conversation was very promising.”

The letter, signed by all three commissioners, expresses “gratefulness for the imminent reopening of the economy of the economy of our county, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

They “understand and affirm the Commonwealth’s concern of a second wave of COVID-19.

“At the same time, Warren County did not even have a first wave, and consequently, we are asking that our county be released from the stay-at-home and business closure orders.”

The commissioners go on to offer support for that request.

“Warren County is rural in nature with homes and businesses spread out, with few exceptions. Social distancing is being practiced and results speak for themselves — per capita, Warren County boasts the lowest number in the entire Commonwealth, with zero new positive cases in over a month, maintaining only one positive case for a county of about 39,000 people.

“Some have suggested our number of those tested must have been low, but it is comparable to other counties – over 0.5% of our population has been tested, and tested negative. Warren General Hospital and the skilled nursing facility have not admitted any COVID-19 cases and have ample capacity in their facilities and the healthcare system surrounding the county.”

The commissioners ask that the county “be released” — to the “Yellow Phase” — “as soon as possible, ideally before May 8.

“We believe the administration’s chief concern in doing so, were the county opened up standalone, is that it would likely cause an influx of consumers from other counties or even states to flock to our market,” the commissioners explained. “Therefore, perhaps a better approach would be to release the northwest region sooner, or release Warren County to the ‘Green Phase’ on May 8th.”

In the “Yellow Phase,” some businesses would remain closed — including restaurants and bars except for takeout and entities such as gyms, casinos and theaters — and large gatherings would remain prohibited. Those restrictions would be removed in the “Green Phase,” which would require businesses and individuals to comply with “CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines,” according to the governor’s office.


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