State prepares to reopen some regions, even as questions about widespread testing remain

Written by on April 30, 2020

State prepares to reopen some regions, even as questions about widespread testing remain

By Jen Rehill

April 30, 2020

A worker verifies a coronavirus drive-thru testing appointment at a Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) station in Curtis Bay, Md., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Maryland opened three drive-thru testing sites for residents who are symptomatic or at high risk of complications from COVID-19. The tests are offered at three vehicle emissions testing sites in Anne Arundel, Charles and Harford counties. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Pennsylvania will announce Friday, May 1 which counties are slated to begin a gradual reopening under the governor’s plan to roll back the state shutdown. 

And as WLVR’s Jen Rehill reports, questions about the criteria being used to determine those areas remain.

Under the governor’s plan, areas that have fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents will be eligible to begin reopening on May 8th, moving from a Red or complete shut down – to Yellow designation. 

But testing across the state has been hampered by supply issues — and is limited to residents who are symptomatic — so those numbers may not capture how far the virus has spread. 

“We understand that in certain rural areas less people have been tested, and less people there have had symptoms. So we are going to follow our metrics and other qualitative factors when counties go from red to yellow.” said State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

Levine says she’s confident in the state’s plan – which includes continuing to expand testing, and using extensive contact tracing for new positive cases in yellow regions. 

Those areas will see a reopening of many businesses next Friday, but not those where people congregate in larger groups like restaurants or movie theaters. 

As a state hotspot for cases, the Lehigh Valley isn’t expected to be on the list for reopening anytime soon.


Current track