New PA Online COVID Dashboard Has Good News for Monroe County's Quest for Green Status
HARRISBURG (JUN 5 2020) – How is the county doing? Are we going to go to green? What is the state looking at to decide?
Answers to those questions are sometimes difficult to pin down, or seemingly change daily (if not more). Perhaps the latest state publication -- the PA Department of Health's Online County Dashboard might give some form and consistency to the responses. The dashboard identifies the major metrics considered for movement into the next phase and indicates -- with a check mark or an "X" -- if the county is currently satisfying that criteria.
“As the dashboard shows, there are several metrics used to determine if it is safe for a county to reopen to the next phase,” Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We too, want to get back to a normal life. However, we need the help of all Pennsylvanians to make that happen. By taking simple steps, like continuing to wear a mask, staying home when sick, and implementing social distancing, we can help eliminate the spread of COVID-19 and help Pennsylvania fully reopen in a safe and efficient manner.”
The dashboard shows metrics used to help identify if a county can reopen to the next phase, including:
Stable, decreasing, or low confirmed case counts, past two weeks compared to previous two weeks;
Contacts of case are being monitored;
PCR positivity rate <10% in past 14 days; and,
Hospital bed use is 90% or lower per district population.
Throughout the phased reopening, the administration’s criteria for moving to the green phase has been that after a county transitions to the yellow phase, the Department of Health will closely monitor for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, the county will transition to the green phase. This dashboard is an effort to quantify mitigation for counties. Based on the dashboard, as long as Monroe manages to keep it's numbers stable for another week, county residents are given every reason to believe that in one week the Governor will announce the county will move to green a week later -- on June 19. The dashboard demonstrates that the county meets or exceeds all requirements for movement into the green phase of reopening. Because moving to the green phase requires operational and physical changes for many businesses, which take time to implement, the practice has been to announce movement to the next phase one week in advance. In our case, on June 12, Monroe County will have spent the minimum time in Yellow for consideration to be moved forward. Following past practice suggests, then, that on the 12th the Governor and Secretary of Health will announce Monroe as among the counties permitted to move to the green phase one week later -- on June 19th. In the green phase all businesses will be permitted to reopen, but with mitigation practices in place. There will be reduced capacity for indoor merchants and facilities, and a limit of 250 people at any gathering, with social distancing enforced.