WEST CHESTER, PA_ The Chester County Commissioners announce the extension of the County’s essential services-only operation to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The extended period runs to Monday morning, April 13th. The Commissioners’ decision fully supports the “Stay at Home” order issued by Governor Wolf this week, and helps to protect the health and safety of both Chester County’s 2,400 full and part-time employees, and individuals and families throughout the county.
Chester County Government moved to essential services-only on Saturday, March 14th in advance of other counties in the region, taking the lead in measures to keep residents and employees as healthy as possible.
Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz said, “The County’s essential services have long been identified in our continuity of operations (COOP) plan, so while making the decision was not an easy one, enacting it was relatively straightforward.”
“Making that decision has proven to be very prudent,” added Moskowitz. “The build-up of prevention measures put in place over the past week by us, by the State and our neighboring counties have been necessary to make every effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. And although we have put an end-date of April 13th on our plan to return to full services, we will continue to evaluate and monitor the need to remain at essential services-only beyond that date.”
The essential services identified by Chester County Government range from the 9-1-1 Center, Chester County Prison, Pocopson Home long-term care facility, the Chester County Youth Center and the Coroner’s Office, to crucial court-related and Human Services functions. Following state guidelines, a no visitor policy remains at the Chester County Prison and at Pocopson Home. Visitors to the Chester County Youth Center are answering a series of questions to determine if they are showing signs of coronavirus, and if they are, they are not allowed to enter.
Chester County Health Department and Emergency Services staff continue to work every day alongside the PA Department of Health and other partners, to provide education, mitigation, communication and investigation services related to COVID-19 for both Chester County and Delaware County residents. “The systems in place, and the efforts of the Health Department staff, are amazing to witness,” said County Commissioner Josh Maxwell.
“And as would be expected, we take measures every day to screen every person that enters the Health Operations Center and Emergency Operations Center, so that we can ensure that the people doing critical work during this pandemic are removed from the possibility of infection of coronavirus,” added Maxwell.
In the weeks since moving to essential operations, the Commissioners, the County’s administrative staff and department leaders have established special programs, services and public information to support individuals, families and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline said, “We are focusing our time on strengthening links with all county-based hospital systems to determine current and future testing capabilities for COVID-19. We have also held a remote Town Hall gathering with vital information for our businesses through partnerships with the Chester County Chamber and Economic Development Council, and we maintain communication with all municipalities – all in an effort to meet the needs of everyone who has been hard-hit by this situation.
“We will not stop our focus on meeting the food, shelter and employment needs of everyone in Chester County, and encourage everyone do their part by following the Governor’s Stay at Home order and taking all precautions to get us through the coronavirus crisis.”
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