Lycoming County Commissioners ask Governor Wolf to move to green phase

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LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Several counties are moving into the yellow phase of reopening Friday, including Luzerne, Schuylkill, Monroe and Pike Counties.

Also for the first time several counties will move to the green phase. From our region, that list includes Bradford, Montour, Tioga, Snyder and Sullivan Counties. Absent from that list: Lycoming County.

“I’m pleading with the governor today to please change his opinion, change his mind and let us go green,” Commissioner Tony Mussare.

Lycoming County was fortunate enough to be among the counties able to enter the yellow phase of reopening on May 8th. However they have yet to receive the “ok” when it comes to moving into the green phase this week like other surrounding counties.

“Moving into the green phase to me is more of an issue of following the science if the metrics that the Department of Health and the governor have put out are met then we should move. If they’re not met we shouldn’t. I think they are met based on what our history has been,” Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito said.

“Well we were very disapointed because we met every metric that the governor had set down,” Lycoming County Commissioner Scott Metzger said.

The county commissioners wrote a letter to governor Tom Wolf, asking him to reconsider his decision and allow Lycoming County to move into the green phase of reopening. The letter states in part, “The residents of Lycoming County, along with the elected leaders have recognized the risks associated with COVID-19 and cooperated with Governor’s orders.” It goes on to say, “Lycoming County’s compliance with all state orders is evidenced by extremely limited non life sustaining business enforcement warnings and absolutely no citations issued by law enforcement.”

“It was very disappointing to say the least,” Mussare said. “Especially when you think about all of our small business owners who have been closed since March. There’s a tremendous amount of stress on them not being able to pay their bills or at least getting further and further behind.”

The county commissioners also noted in the last 14 days there has been an increase of only 29 positive COVID-19 cases and most of them centralized in one area of the county and in a private nursing home.

“Well the biggest concern I have is the residents at the Jersey Shore nursing home because if you look what’s happening in the county, 15 out of the 16 deaths are from Jersey Shore Manor Care,” Mirabito said.

Eyewitness News asked community members to weigh in on the subject.

Kayln Rae said on Facebook, “We’re not showing enough of a decline. It needs to be steady for two weeks.”

“Well I think it’s unfortunate because the numbers seem to support the movement into that green phase and that almost points to a political move on the governor’s part. It’s really hurting businesses in the area. You can’t go out and get haircuts, the restaurants, and it seems they’re not looking at the data that well,” Dennis Worth of Williamsport said.

The Lycoming County Commissioners spoke with Pennsylvania Department of Health Officials. They explained why they believe Lycoming County should move to the  green phase. Commissioner Metzger told Eyewitness News, Department of Health listened to their questions and plan to get back to the commissioners soon.

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