DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Delaware County is eager to see its economic engine roaring again. But they see the path to reopening as two separate challenges, so the county is asking Gov. Tom Wolf to consider separate approaches to meet his target.
The greater Philadelphia area is not included in the 24 Pennsylvania counties that will begin the process of partial reopening this week.
One reason is that the region is far from meeting a metric set by the governor — an average of 50 or fewer new confirmed COVID-19 cases, per a 100,000 person population over a 14-day period.
“For Delaware County, this would translate into roughly an average of 20 new cases per day over 14 days,” Delaware County Councilmember Kevin Madden said.
That’s a far cry from Delaware County’s reported average of 139 new cases per day for this past week.
“The truth is that we are not yet close to the governor’s target for reopening in southeastern Pennsylvania,” Madden said.
The same goes for neighboring counties and now Delaware and Bucks Counties are among those asking the commonwealth to separate COVID-19 cases found within nursing homes from cases found in the rest of the community.
“Roughly 70% of the deaths from COVID-19 in Delaware County and 20% of positive cases have occurred among our nursing home populations,” said Madden.
“It is correct that the majority of deaths have been in seniors,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.
While counties feel that nursing home numbers may skew overall averages, Dr. Levine says the data will not be separated.
“The staff goes back and forth so it’s really an example of how we are all connected,” she said.
With that, Delaware County is asking the governor’s office for additional resources, namely an increase in diagnostic testing. Dr. Levine noted that similar requests are currently being discussed.
Levine also said that this week a decision will be made whether health officials can release more exact data on the number of COVID-19 cases found within nursing homes.
Right now, confidentiality restrictions prevent them from doing so.