Lancaster County leaders, healthcare providers give explanation on volume of COVID-19 cases

Lancaster

EAST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Lancaster County Commissioners provided an explanation on Tuesday as to why Lancaster County leads the local area in COVID-19 cases.

Commissioners were joined by officials with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Congressman Lloyd Smucker (PA-11), and Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace to update their efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Michael Ripchinski, Chief Clinical Official at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, said they are preparing for a spike of COVID-19 cases because so far only 1% of Lancaster County residents have been tested for COVID-19.

“It would be nice for us to have testing for everyone because it would tell us where we are on the curve,” Ripchinski said. “We do have testing available and given the weather we’ll certainly have the ability to continue testing.”

Lancaster County has dedicated $400-thousand dollars to the COVID-19 response.

In Lancaster, Mayor Danene Sorace said she’s concerned residents are not getting the message about covid-19. Sorace said her office has doubled it’s communication efforts.

“We’re continuing vehicle broadcasting in conjunction with the police department through our neighborhoods to reach residents who lack the news sources and access to the internet,” Sorace said. “(We’re also) developing direct mail and door hangers targeting specific blocks we know we have a high population of elderly.”

Commissioners Josh Parsons is also still urging social distancing, but he said the county is not necessarily worried about what he said is a perceived high number of COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported there has been a total of 865 cases of COVID-19 in Lancaster County.

“We have around 550,000 citizens,” Parsons said. “When you look at it as a percentage of population. We have less cases than many counties.”

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