WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The majority of the Luzerne County Council is determined to enter the yellow phase before June 4th, but with the Governor’s permission.
Last Thursday — Governor Tom Wolf extended the stay-at-home order for all counties that remain in the red phase of his recovery plan– extending stay-at-home orders to anyone in those counties to June 4th.
But Luzerne County officials say they believe the county is ready to begin the first stage of reopening before that.
Council Member Lee Ann McDermott explains during the work session, “we certainly want to do this in the proper way. We don’t want to just go out there and say we want to move to yellow and we’re going to do it whether you like it or not.”
Unlike Schuylkill County – where leaders who informed the governor of their intention to move to the yellow phase of recovery – without his order.
Luzerne County is requesting the Governor reconsider moving the county to the yellow phase before June 4th.
Luzerne County Manager, Dave Pedri, says “the citizens of Luzerne County have heard the request of the governor and heeding that request, and listened to everything the Department of Health has been telling us.”
“We also have to understand that people who are not making money are desperate and what are they to do?,” adds McDermott.
Pedri goes on to say, “I am not completely naive though as to what the numbers truly are, we are still 8th in the state.”
As of Tuesday Luzerne county has 2449 covid-19 cases and over 120 deaths.
But County Manager Dave Pedri believes Luzerne County has flattened the curve, and hopes to submit a plan to the department of health– to make that case.
Part of that plan— is testing.
“We currently have five testing sites, Mohegan Sun Arena, Rite Aid and three health care providers. We have the testing sites available, and even with the testing sites available our numbers are decreasing,” Pedri.
Luzerne County will be working with the private sector, medical, and business communities for their input with the plan.
Pedri says businesses will then need to be ready to move to yellow— if the governor agrees the county is ready.
“Do they have the necessary PPE? Do they have the necessary cleaning supplies? Are they doing the right things for their own constituents? Moving to yellow doesn’t mean return to life as normal. I’m not sure when we’re going to see life as normal, but we have to start the process,” Pedri
Luzerne County officials hope to get their plan to state officials by the end of the week.