WEST CHESTER, PA_ Responding to Governor Wolf’s announcement today that Chester County will move to green on June 26th, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline confirm that the county is fully prepared to further relax restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz said, “Chester County is very ready to move to the next level of re-opening, the green phase, next week. Our public health strategies will ensure that businesses and organizations can re-open or expand their operations safely, and that residents can confidently enjoy some of the services that they have been greatly missing.
“But, green does not mean ‘full throttle go’. Just as we have asked throughout the yellow phase, we implore everyone to continue to make every effort to contain the coronavirus. Wear masks, continue social distancing, work from home if you can and continue all hygiene recommendations,” added Commissioner Moskowitz.
The Commissioners’ confidence in Chester County’s ability to go green and keep control of COVID-19 lies in the proven practices of the County’s Health Department.
County Commissioner Josh Maxwell noted, “The Chester County Health Department remains focused on a strategy that best monitors and responds to COVID-19; health practices that help to contain outbreaks, minimize community spread of coronavirus, and break the cycle of transmission.
“The Health Department team will continue to conduct investigations of everyone who has a confirmed-positive COVID-19 test, and they have expanded contact tracing to more quickly and thoroughly notify everyone who is in close contact with those who have tested positive. Finally, we have been increasing access to diagnostic swab testing for anyone who is high risk for COVID as well as for anyone who may be asymptomatic. Bringing these three things together helps us better understand the presence of COVID-19 and monitor any surge in cases in Chester County.”
Throughout the time that the pandemic has been present in the region, Chester County has remained lowest in numbers of positive cases and deaths due to coronavirus. The Commissioners attribute this to the preparation and collaboration of the county health department and department of emergency services, along with smart investments.
Chester County was the first to invest in antibody testing, and sourced significant levels of personal protection equipment, including three million masks for first responders and healthcare workers. The County also supplemented federal and state COVID-19 business relief funds with a $5 million Main Street Preservation grant program for small businesses and agricultural enterprises.
The formation of a COVID-19 Business Task Force led to the creation of “Restore Chester County” which includes a web-based toolkit and a series of webinars for businesses, organizations and residents to navigate the guidelines of the Commonwealth’s red, yellow and green phases.
“In February, we activated our Health Operations Center to begin undertaking the biggest public health emergency in modern time,” said Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline. “We reached out to our businesses, schools, non-profits, faith-based organizations and congregate care facilities to prepare them for the global pandemic. The communication and support provided to all of these groups played a very big part in Chester County’s preparedness for COVID-19.
“As COVID-19 restrictions relax during the green phase we will continue to do what Chester County does best: plan, prepare, partner and invest in the health of our residents, our businesses and our economy,” added Commissioner Kichline.