Some lawmakers believe Pa. should reopen based on low infection rates, not county borders


LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Some state lawmakers believe areas allowed to reopen in Pennsylvania should be based on low infection rates and not on county borders.

Representative Frank Ryan (R), who serves parts of Lebanon County, believes counties themselves should be broken up by areas that are hot spots for COVID-19, and others that haven’t been affected as much, and reopen those areas first.

“In Lebanon County, we’re a pretty big county, we have a little under 150,000 people, 600 or so cases, it’s a good idea to know where those cases were and provide more mitigation efforts where there’s a higher density,” said Rep. Ryan.

He says uncoupling some regions of the state by the end of the week is a possibility.

“It doesn’t make sense to have Palmyra, which has had very few cases or Cornwall, Lebanon, Cornwall borough or Myerstown or other areas in the county, that have had very few cases, which are much more open and less densely populated to be held to the exact same standard,” said Rep. Ryan.

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says nothing is set in stone yet.

“The Governor has said that we’re not going to beholden to any specific map or any specific schema so we’re going to be looking at quantitative factors, and we had talked about the rate of infection in a county, but there are other qualitative factors that will be going into making those decisions by the end of the week,” said Dr. Levine.

This is one aspect of the stabilize and grow program, a series of about 20 bills, aimed at reopening parts of the state sooner, getting more PPE to frontline workers, and more testing.

“We’ve asked him (the Governor) to be a little more open about all the metrics. We’re hearing about one, which is the number of cases of 50 per 100,000 but there are a significant number of other capabilities. We’ve asked for that transparency,” said Rep. Ryan.

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