HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Is the worst of Coronavirus behind Pennsylvania? That is a possibility, according to state Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, who said as cases wind down things are looking up.
“Looking at the trends, it does seem we’re past peak,” Levine said during Tuesday’s press briefing.
She also announced that the state is finalizing plans to re-open parts of the state and said an announcement about those May 8 openings will be made by this Friday, May 1. She noted, however, it will be a very soft re-opening.
“As counties and regions go from red to yellow we’ll have to be very, very careful that we don’t see outbreaks and we are able to deal with those quickly to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Levine said.
Levine initially said the state would re-open by region and her department released a map showing how the state was divided into six health regions.
But some counties protested. Lancaster, for instance, didn’t like being lumped into the southeast region with Philadelphia, which has many more cases and is likely one of the last areas to re-open.
Gov. Wolf distanced himself from that regional approach on Tuesday.
“I don’t know how anybody thinks that anybody is gonna be lumped anywhere,” Wolf said, even though it was his administration that created and announced the map and the approach.
“What’s not gonna be guiding us is some arbitrary definition of a region or some area,” Wolf said definitively Tuesday. “We’re gonna be driven by what’s in the best interest and the safety of Pennsylvania.”
He added that counties will be judged separately and may be re-opened independent of their neighbors.
Perhaps a small glimpse of the new normal to come could be found outside the Capitol during a sun-splashed lunch hour. A taco truck for Taco Tuesday was doing a pretty brisk business as masked customers maintained their distance but enjoyed their lunch.
The big question inside the Capitol is how much of a bite will Coronavirus take out of the state budget. The estimates continue to grow and now stand at between $4 and $5 billion. But it could still climb higher.