Monroe County On Track for Potential June 19 Move to Green Phase
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
HARRISBURG (JUN 6 2020) - According to data released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health this afternoon, Monroe County's new confirmed cases of COVID-19 are holding steady at an average of just under three new cases per day. This past week we added 20 cases, the week before 13. For contrast, on May 1 alone we added 20 cases. One additional case was reported in Mount Pocono yesterday, bringing the Borough's total to 38 confirmed COVID cases among Borough residents. The Department of Health does not release death data by zip code, so we do not know how many Borough residents, if any, have died from the disease.
As we enter our second week in the yellow phase of mitigation, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine emphasizes that universal masking and social distancing are the two most effective means of reducing community spread and keeping the numbers low.
“As Pennsylvania continues to move forward in the process to reopen, we need to remember that the threat from COVID-19 has not gone away,” she told The Boro* in an email statement. “We must take personal responsibility to protect others. Wearing a mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are all steps we can take to help protect others, including our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”
Moving into the green phase will reopen barbers, nail salons, spas, movie theaters, bars and restaurants for dine-in traffic, and all other "non-essential" businesses. To help Monroe get to green, continue to wear your mask when you leave your home and may run into other people. When shopping or recreating, stay six feet away from others. According to the CDC, every ten minutes spent in closer proximity to non-household members exponentially increases the chance of the disease spreading, even with masks.
If the county incidence rate remains where it is or decreases, the likelihood that the county will go into the green phase on June 19 remains good. June 19 is the earliest date the county may reasonably expect to be moved into the green phase of recovery under the state's current phased mitigation plan as it has been implemented to date.
Under the established mechanism, a county in the yellow phase of mitigation must satisfy four measurements for two consecutive weeks: 1. The rate of new cases does not increase, 2. Contact tracing of new cases can occur, 3. The number of positive COVID tests in the county is under ten percent of all tested, and 4. Hospital assets are available for new patients. If those metrics are met, at the end of two weeks the county will be assessed for movement into the green phase the following week.
Monroe County entered the yellow phase on Friday, May 29. The second week in yellow ends Friday, June 12. According to the state's County COVID Dashboard, Monroe County has satisfied all four criteria so far. If that holds up, then under current practice, on June 12, the Governor and Secretary of Health may be expected to announce that the county will be permitted to enter the green phase at 12:01 am the following Friday, June 19. At that point, all businesses may reopen, but COVID-19 mitigation measures will still be in place. Besides the strong recommendation for wearing masks, there will be operational changes, such as reduced occupancy, and the limit on public events will be raised to 250 people, with social distancing still required. This phase has no anticipated termination point and is expected to eliminate the summer and fall festivals, concerts, and sporting events with fans in attendance.
Statewide, we continue to add hundreds of cases a day. The Department of Health reported 701 additional positive cases of COVID-19 were identified yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 75,086. An additional 45 people were reported to have died from COVID-19 yesterday (none in Monroe County), bringing the Commonwealth's total to 5,931.
(Ed. Note: This article was edited to correct the date Monroe County entered the yellow phase.)