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COVID-19 TASK FORCE UPDATE – 04/05/20
As we closed out March and ushered in April, there has been a flurry of activity at the state level to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
Last Sunday, March 29th there were 3,394 confirmed cases throughout Pennsylvania. Fast forward just 1 week later and there are 11,510 cases as of today; that’s a 239% increase in just 1 week. Here in Tioga County, we are keeping that number relatively low with 3 cases as of noon today. But that’s no reason to take our foot off the gas.
Because of the rapid spread of the virus in other parts of the state, the Governor issued a Stay-at-Home order for all Pennsylvanians beginning at 8:00pm, Wednesday, April 1st.
In addition, on Friday April 3rd, the Governor also encouraged masking for all Pennsylvanians any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons.
The Task Force is strongly urging all Tioga County residents to follow the stay-at-home order. This is the single most important thing any of you can do to slow, and ultimately stop, the spread of this disease.
If you must go out because you need food or medication, then wearing a mask or bandana over your mouth and nose provides an extra layer of protection.
Masking will help prevent people from sharing the illness and will provide an extra layer of protection, but they are not foolproof. It’s critical for every Tioga County resident to ask themselves “do I really need to leave my house?” If the answer is NO, you don’t truly need to leave, then you shouldn’t.
However, if the answer is YES – you have to leave for a life-sustaining reason, then please, wear a mask to decrease the possibility that you may contract the virus. If you are sick and not yet exhibiting symptoms, masking cuts down the possibility you might infect someone else, like a grocery store clerk, pharmacist or one of our medical heroes on the front lines of this war.
We do ask that when masking, use a bandana or another homemade mask made of 100% cotton. This will allow us to conserve the surgical masks and N95 respirator masks for the brave men and women in our hospitals and clinics taking care of our nation’s sick.
There are many informational videos showing creative ways to make a mask at home from items you probably already have.
For more information on masking and instructions on how to make your own mask, be sure to visit the health.pa.gov.
We WILL defeat this virus, and currently, Tioga County is holding our own with the spread in our area. But with a 239% increase in the state in just 1 week, and the number of vehicles and people being reported at various stores, I’m concerned there are some members of the community not taking this as seriously as we would like.
I want to reiterate, The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to be a good community member is to stay at home. If you’ve determined you must go out, The second most important thing you can do is to wear a mask. You owe it to yourself, your family, your neighbors and to everyone in Tioga County.
On a daily basis, the Task Force receives calls, emails and texts from concerned residents asking what they can do to help.
Today, the Task Force is taking you up on your offer to help. Help us by staying home. Help your neighbors by staying home. Help our county’s elderly by staying home. And if you MUST go out, please help us by wearing a mask.
With everyone trying to do their part, local businesses are also looking for ways they can assist in controlling the spread and ensure we can practice social distancing.
Walmart, for example, has new guidelines that will limit the number of shoppers allowed in the store at one time – as well as other measures to protect our residents. This is just one example and many other Tioga County businesses are also implementing stricter guidelines to help control the spread.
For more information, be sure to visit the Task Force Facebook page for the most up to date Tioga County COVID-19 information.
Last week, the Task Force issued a call-to-action for all residents to follow the guidelines. Today, I’m asking once again, for you to do your part to help us win this fight by following the guidelines.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. And please, STAY HOME. And Wash Your Hands.
Additional credit, set design: Josh Nobles
Writing: James Nobles / Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force
Produced by Vogt Media
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