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COVID-19 Task Force Update – 04/22/20

Resources available for parents & caregivers

 

by Jim Nobles, Nancy Clemens - April 23, 2020

With Pennsylvania rising to the 4th most infected state in the nation, this past week there has been a flurry of activity at the state level regarding COVID-19.

Locally, Tioga County is continuing to hold our own with regard to keeping our positive cases at a manageable level. We all need to do our part both locally, and as Pennsylvanians.

As everyone is aware, on Wednesday, April 15th Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Levine signed an order protecting essential workers at businesses maintaining in-person operations during the COVID-19 emergency.

This order became enforceable, effective 8:00pm Sunday, April 19th. 

The Task Force wanted to remind everyone that you are now required to wear a mask if you are leaving your home and visiting a business that is open during the COVID crisis.

But rather than focus on the enforcement of the order, the Task Force prefers to focus on positive reinforcement.

Please do the right thing, protect your friends, your family and your neighbors.  If you must leave your home, wear a mask.

In addition to the essential business protection order, on Monday April 20th the Governor extended the stay-at-home order for all Pennsylvanians until May 8th.

The Task Force understands the stress associated with staying at home for this long.  We also understand this is very challenging for many Tioga County residents and all Pennsylvanians.  We are social creatures and not designed to stay isolated for this long.  But this is a necessary step to slow the spread of this horrific disease.

Because COVID-19 is a virus, we naturally turn our focus toward the medical effects of the disease. With everyone isolated in their homes for the past several weeks, there are other effects the virus is having on Tioga County.

Nancy Clemens, Administrator at the Tioga County Department of Human Services made a statement on the matter.

From Nancy Clemens:

“This is an unprecedented time of anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and sometimes fear.  Despite this, referrals to both Childline and local police are down drastically.  We’d all like to believe that to mean that incidents of child abuse and neglect and domestic violence have been greatly reduced, but we know that isn’t realistic.  What we are experiencing through Stay at Home mandates, is a significant reduction in the number of people in a child’s life who can put eyes on them to assess their safety and well-being.  Parents and caregivers have had their lives turned upside down, and it is natural for them to be feeling overwhelmed.  Likewise, children’s lives have been turned upside down, which can often result in their acting out in ways that only increase a caregiver’s anxiety.  Our concern is that families may reach their own boiling points, and that neglect and violence can be the outcome.  We want parents and caregivers to know that there are resources for them, and we want to encourage them to reach out and ask for help.

I want to encourage parents and caregivers to reach out to their families and friends.  It is okay to admit that you are struggling and, often, just putting a voice to your anxiety can lessen it.  Should folks want information about local resources for mental health, drugs and alcohol, domestic violence, or other community services, they can call 2-1-1 or search the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health’s Resource Directory at www.Tiogacountypartnership.org.  Lastly, children are still able to use the Safe 2 Say app that they were provided with by their schools to share information about their own safety and well being.  I welcome anyone to reach out to the Department of Human Services for more information at (570) 724-5766.  Finally, friends, family, and neighbors need to check in on each other.  If there is a child in your life, but not in your home, check in with them and on them.  If you see something, say something.  Childline remains active both on-line at www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov and via telephone at 1-800-932-0313

There is no shame in reaching out or asking for a little extra help. This time is scary and challenging for everyone, but we need people to know that they not alone in this. Whether they need help feeding their family or someone to listen as they work through anxiety and stressors, help is always available for those who need it.”

As we’ve always stated, “community” means everyone. Here in Tioga County, the community is pulling together in ways we could have never imagined during this crisis, but some may need a little more help than others. That’s what being a good neighbor is all about.

Be there for anyone in need, extend some neighborly love.  Together we will beat this horrible virus – both the medical disease and the hidden effects it’s having on our residents.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we still need your help.

Stay Home.

Stay Masked if you must go out.

Stay Healthy and Wash Your Hands.

Credits:

Writing: Jim Nobles, Nancy Clemens

 

Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by UPMC, As a public service by Jim & Mary McIlvaine

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