Could Lancaster County be left behind under plan to reopen Pennsylvania?


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Some elected officials are questioning if Lancaster County will be left behind under Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to reopen the state.

A map breaks Pennsylvania into six regions that Wolf said the state will reopen based on.

On the map, Lancaster County is in the southeast region, the same region as Philadelphia, which has been called ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t agree with having us lumped in with the hardest areas like Philadelphia,” Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons said.

Experts have agreed the southeast region is likely to reopen last and on Friday, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine acknowledged that Philadelphia is seven times above one of the benchmarks for opening.

Parsons believes that the state should take a county by county approach to reopening. He said he worries what having neighboring counties (Dauphin, Lebanon, and York) would mean for the Lancaster County economy.

“We have to recognize Lancaster County is prepared to come back,” Parsons said. “We’re prepared to do some jobs safely so having us lumped in with Philadelphia which may not open until the summer is pretty detrimental.”

On Friday, Levine explained what Lancaster County was placed in the southeast region.

“The regions we’re going to be talking about are basically our health regions,” she said. “We’ve had them for years now.”

Parsons said Lancaster County’s case count is dropping and the state should drop its grouping with Philadelphia.

“We need to get this economy running in a safe way for everybody in Lancaster County or else we’re going to have even more serious problems,” he said.

Levine declined to say when the southeast region could open. She said the virus would dictate when regions reopen.

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