HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) — Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf saw the pictures of crowds on beaches in New Jersey and Maryland this past weekend. Keystone Staters were no doubt among them.
“I wouldn’t go to the beach,” Wolf said Monday during his press briefing. “There are people not wearing masks and putting yourself at risk.”
Being governor during a pandemic is no day at the beach, especially when nearby states open theirs. Wolf, uncharacteristically, threw a little sand at the rowdy neighbors.
“I’m not sure why the governors of Maryland and New Jersey have opened their beaches, but they have,” Wolf said with a sigh.
Gyms closed in red and yellow phases, threatened to re-open against the governor’s order. Wolf was asked if the state will flex its muscles in response. He said he wasn’t sure about licensing ramifications, which could be in play.
“Every time a customer goes to a gym with this Coronavirus as contagious as it is, they risk getting sick,” Wolf said.
The governor put a spotlight Monday on the efforts of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency in fighting the pandemic and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, which has been on the front lines helping at nursing homes, providing mass testing facilities and much more gruesome tasks.
“We also provided assistance to the Philadelphia Medical Examiners Office with dignified transportation of decedents from area hospitals,” said Colonel Frank Montgomery.
But it’s not all praise, all the time.
“I think we need to impeach this man,” said Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler).
Metcalfe is a conservative bomb thrower who authored an impeachment resolution and is calling for Wolf’s ouster. He won’t even concede the governor’s stay-at-home orders have flattened the curve and saved lives.
“I don’t concede he’s done anything but do irreparable harm to the economy and the lives of so many people through Wolf’s dictates,” Metcalfe said Monday afternoon. “He’s harmed more people than the virus has.”
That claim is unknown but what is clear, sources say, is that Metcalfe’s impeachment resolution is going nowhere in the PA House. But it’s also clear there is growing frustration, beyond the Capitol, among businesses who believe they can safely re-open toward a governor who keeps saying not yet.
Wolf reiterated his favorite mantra Monday. “We have a timeline, not being set by the state, but by the virus.”
Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday that the state will begin later this week formulating guidance on moving from the yellow phase to the green phase.
She also said that beginning tomorrow Coronavirus case and death data from specific nursing homes and long-term care facilities will be made public.
Levine conceded that her department and county coroners have struggled to reconcile Covid-19 death statistics but is confident that problem has now been solved and moving forward their numbers will be more synchronous.
But nursing homes and long-term care facilities continue to be a big problem. Of the 4505 total Covid-19 deaths in Pennsylvania, 3,086, or just under 70-percent, have been in those facilities.