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Task Force Update with Jim Nobles

Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force updates community


by James Nobles / Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force - April 9, 2020

I’m sure all of you are aware that the number of cases in Pennsylvania are continuing to increase by 1,400, 1,500 or more every day. That’s concerning for all Pennsylvanians as we work to shorten the curve and keep this virus at a manageable level.

Here in Tioga County, the cases have also increased, with 10 positive cases reported as of April 8, 2020. I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of following the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order. It’s by far the single most important thing you can do to serve your community.

As I mentioned during the last update, leaving your home when absolutely necessary such as picking up necessary groceries or medications, should be the exception and not the rule.

As human’s we are social people. We thrive on human to human contact. We relish time with our friends. But for the sake of our county, our state and our nation, the Task Force needs you to take this stay at home order very seriously.

As the number of positive cases in our area increases, one of the things I’m asked multiple times a day is the specific location of the positive cases. While I understand everyone is concerned and would like to know the specific information, that’s not something that the Task Force is charged with reporting. Positive case reporting and contact tracing is a responsibility of the State or County Health Department. In this case, absent a Tioga County Health Department, that responsibility falls to the state of Pennsylvania.

The Tioga County Commissioners, Representative Owlett and I are working diligently with the Department of Health to improve the reporting for Tioga County. However, and I can’t stress this strongly enough, the specific location of a positive case should in no way alter your response or preparedness.

You have to assume that anyone and everyone you come in contact with is a potential carrier of the virus. We know someone can transmit the virus long before they exhibit symptoms and the presence of symptoms is part of the screening criteria for testing. Therefore, a safe rule of thumb is assume everyone is positive. Stay Home unless absolutely necessary, and if you must go out because you need food or medication, then wearing a mask or bandana over your mouth and nose is a must.

One of the questions the Task Force gets asked all the time: will a mask really prevent me from getting the virus? The best answer I can tell you is, as a member of a community, we all have to do our part. Community means EVERYONE, and I want to stress the UNITY in community. Your mask is protecting me and my family, and my mask is protecting you and your family. And I can guarantee you I will do everything in my power to protect you and your family. The question is, will you do the same for me and all the families in Tioga County? Leaving your house with mask in-hand is now a necessary part of our everyday lives. Just like your wallet, your purse or car keys.

If you find yourself in need of a mask for you or your family, the Task Force has enlisted the help of the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health. Sue Sticklen and her team are standing by to help. Please give them a call at 570-787-5000. Sue and the remarkable team at the partnership are standing by, ready to assist.

Last evening, the Task Force physicians had an opportunity to conduct a virtual interview with Natalie Kennedy from Tioga Publishing. It was a wonderful question-and-answer session, and I urge everyone to read that article in the paper. It’s packed with useful information from a Pediatrician, a Family Medicine Physician, an Emergency Department Physician and a Hospitalist.

As we enter into the joyous Easter Weekend, I want to again urge everyone to do their part to slow or stop the spread of this horrific disease. Easter is a very special time for so many people. Whether it’s attending Easter service at your local church, or spending time with friends and family, or watching our children frantically search for Easter eggs; it’s a magical time of year.

This year, the magic is still there, the message is still there – we just have to celebrate in a different way. I can’t urge you enough, please observe the social distancing requirements during Easter weekend. This is really the first major holiday we’ve had since the rapid spread of the virus in the United States. I’m more than concerned that some of you may choose to press their luck and bend the rule. Please don’t. You have to find another way to celebrate this year than getting together.

There are many local churches that are conducting online services, and many are holding parking lot services. Both of these are great and exactly what we need during this troubling time. If you do attend a church parking lot service, make sure it’s just that.

Please stay in your car, wave to your neighbor parked next to you, but stay in your vehicle.

Skype, Facetime, and Zoom are also great and creative ways to connect with extended family and friends over the Easter Holiday and there are many creative ideas online for how to make this season magical.

Let everything you do be done in love, and extend that neighborly love by staying home or masking if you must go out.

Life as we know it is turned upside down and the uncertainty can be daunting. One thing that is for certain is the fact that we will get through this together as a community. But it will take everything pulling the rope in the same direction.
Community means everyone. Please Do your part. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home and wash your hands.

Special credit to Josh Nobles for remote set design & filming


Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: James Nobles / Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Laurel Health Centers, Jim & Mary McIlvaine

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