HARRISBURG (WBRE/WYOU-TV) After a press conference announced the first two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania on Friday, Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration to provide increased support to state agencies involved in the response to the virus.
“It’s imperative that we continue to respond quickly and accurately to the coronavirus and its introduction into Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said. “First and foremost, we want all Pennsylvanians to be safe and remain healthy and follow the practical advice of the Department of Health on ways to protect yourself from any virus and that’s by washing hands, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and staying home if you are sick.”
“It is critical to prepare for and respond to suspected or confirmed cases in the commonwealth and to implement measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The disaster declaration is an additional way we can be prepared, so I authorized the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director or his designee, to assume command and control of all statewide emergency operations and authorize and direct that all commonwealth departments and agencies use all available resources and personnel as is deemed necessary to cope with this emergency situation.”
The disaster declaration follows the Department of Health’s activation of its Department Operations Center to conduct public health and medical coordination for COVID-19 throughout the commonwealth.
It also comes after Wolf announced two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the state.
One individual is an adult from Wayne County; the other is an adult from Delaware County.
The Department of Health’s Emergency Operations Center will:
- Begin testing for COVID-19 at the state laboratory;
- Maintain communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
- Provide symptom monitoring for residents returning from areas impacted by coronavirus;
- Provide health care providers, businesses and education providers with information;
- Review and adapted current pandemic flu plans to prepare for spread of COVID-19;
- Increase testing capacity to test 20 to 25 individuals daily;
- Purchase equipment to increase testing capacity to 125 to 150 individuals within a day.
- Partially activate the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at PEMA.