Matt Cartwright, Mayor Jeff Cusat join forces at Hazleton City Hall

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) With Hazleton still the “hot zone” of coronavirus spread in Luzerne County, Congressman Matt Cartwright met with Mayor Jeff Cusat at City Hall for a closer look at the crisis.

Last week, the City of Hazleton declared a disaster emergency because people haven’t been following social distancing guidelines. In the past week, officials have been cracking down on the disobeying orders.

“The new message should be, do what ever you can to protect your family and friends,” Cusat said.

On Saturday, a curfew was implemented for anyone who lives or visits the city. This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Hazleton alone have reached nearly 1,000.

“So that positive number does not matter anymore it’s here, it’s going to increase and keep getting higher until we follow those guidelines that are set by the CDC,” Cusat said.

Cusat says people also need to follow Governor Tom Wolf’s mandate at the local level. To echo the plea, Rep. Matt Cartwright joined Cusat at City Hall.

“Hazleton is one of the focuses of COVID-19 in Northeastern Pennsylvania, so that’s why it’s important,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright discussed efforts being made on both sides of the aisle. Including efforts to increase the availablity of ventilators.

“It’s something Congressman Meuser and I have talked about to make sure we have enough, right now we do,” Cartwright said. “There is no crisis in ventilators in northeastern pennsylvania.”

However, Cartwright noted that as the spread of COVID-19 shifts, ventilators will have to be moved from hospital to hospital and from state to state and regional needs change.

Another topic of discussion Wednesday was the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, including a $1200 check for most Americans. Cartwright says people can start to expect receiving them next week.

Those who have a direct deposit on file will be first, followed by those with only addresses on file. If there is no information, Cartwright says it will take much longer to receive the payment.

To learn more about the stimulus payments and to check your tax status, visit the IRS website by clicking here.

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