Governor Wolf denies national guard request for Luzerne County

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The first COVID-19 case was reported in our region of Pennsylvania one month ago in Wayne County.

Today numbers across the state reach nearly 13-thousand, but state officials say they are watching the numbers closely, hopeful the stay at home order is helping to slow the spread of the virus.

Both Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said today it’s too early to tell if Pennsylvania has hit a plateau in the number of cases within the state.

However many counties in northeastern Pennsylvania are still seeing their numbers rise– and asking on the governor for more help.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Luzerne County has soared to 849 with 5 deaths. Some areas within the county have set a curfew to help slow the spread of the virus, while county officials have called on the governor to bring in the national guard to enforce it. His response Monday– “at this point I have no intention of sending the national guard to Luzerne County.”

In response to the governor’s denial of the request for the national guard, Luzerne County manager Dave Pedri says “I understand that the mobilization of the National Guard is an extreme measure and Gov. Wolf and Dr. Levine are working for all Pennsylvanians everyday. Nevertheless, I will always be a voice fighting for Luzerne County. Earlier today, I had a conference call with representatives of the governors office as well as the department of health and it was abundantly clear that they understand the urgency of need here in northeastern Pennsylvania. We have been heard. I expect this will be an ongoing  conversation should the COVID-19 virus continue to gain ground here in Luzerne County.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in northeastern Pennsylvania are high according to the Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, “we’re not exactly sure why the northeast has become an area of concern.”

“That does seem to be a significant  area of concern and we’ll be looking at that working with local authorities and local health systems in that area,” says Levine.  

Monday the total number of positive covid-19 cases in Pennsylvania rose to 12,980 with 162 deaths.

Dr. Levine says, “approximately 598 of our total cases are in healthcare workers. Approximately 518 of our total cases are in long term care living facilities.”

1,613 COVID-19 patients in the state are currently hospitalized

“533 of those patients that are hospitalized require the use of ventilators or breathing machines.”

Dr. Levine says approximately 51% of hospital beds, 40% ICU beds and nearly 70% of ventilators in Pennsylvania are still available.

Across the state “more than 1.5 million N95 masks, 106,000 gowns , 701,000 procedure hospital masks, 560,000 sets of gloves, 990 goggles and 120,000 face shields” were distributed to health care systems, EMS agencies, long-term care living facilities etc.

However– the governor says it’s too early to tell if Pennsylvania has hits its peak– unsure whether the stay at home order will have to be extended.

Governor Wolf says, “if an extension is necessary we’ll do that because it’s going to save lives. At this point I’m not moving it beyond April 30th but that may happen.”

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