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Snyder County to move to ‘yellow’ phase

Other local counties to remain in ‘red’ for time being after May 8

Snyder County was the only local county among the 24 permitted to move from “red” to “yellow” at the end of next week under Gov. Tom Wolf’s three-stage plan for gradually loosening restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the governor announced at a Friday press conference.

Those counties moving to “yellow” at 12:01 a.m. on May 8 include Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren. The governor said Friday those counties were chosen because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread, but cautioned that just because an area is moving to “yellow” doesn’t mean it’s a permanent move if conditions worsen.

“Every human-to-human contact is a chance for the virus to spread, so more contacts mean a higher likelihood of an outbreak,” Wolf said. “If we see an outbreak occur in one of the communities that has been moved to yellow, we will need to take swift action, and revert to the red category until the new case count falls again. So, Pennsylvanians living in a county that has been moved to the yellow category should continue to strongly consider the impact of their actions.”

Previously-closed businesses now allowed to reopen in the “yellow” phase must abide by the following guidelines: telework must continue where feasible, businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders, child care may open complying with guidance, visits to nursing homes or correctional facilities remain forbidden and schools will remain closed for in-person instruction.

For people living in an area moving to “yellow,” the stay-at-home order is lifted, but large gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited, in-person retail is allowable, but curbside and delivery are preferable, indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities and personal care services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy) and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) remain closed and all restaurants and bars will continue to be limited to takeout or delivery service only.

All businesses not specifically mentioned as restricted from reopening may reopen if provided those businesses comply with state mandates.

Mifflin, Juniata, Huntingdon and Perry counties each remain under a “red” condition, which means only life-sustaining and other specifically exempted businesses may operate a physical location and residents remain under a stay-at-home order.

Wolf said counties that will remain under the stay-at-home order will be considered for reopening in the next several weeks as the state continues to monitor metrics and collaborate with Carnegie Mellon University, whose predictive model is being used by Wolf’s administration to help guide reopening decisions, health experts and counties. Wolf did not provide a specific timetable for other counties or regions to move from “red” to “yellow.”

As far as new cases of COVID-19, Huntingdon, Juniata and Perry counties saw a slight rise in case totals, according to data released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Huntingdon County now has 40 total cases with 283 negative tests.

Mifflin County saw its official total decrease by one to 37 total cases with 685 negative tests. Juniata County reported just one new case for a new total of 84 with 148 negative tests and one death, which was first reported Wednesday.

Snyder County’s total number of COVID-19 cases remained at 33 for the sixth consecutive day. Snyder County reports 201 negative tests and one death so far. Perry County’s total went up two from Thursday Wednesday, as it stands at 32 cases with 219 negative tests and one death.

In other nearby counties, the story remains as it has for the past several days.

Centre County reported no new cases. Its total stands at 96 with 923 negative tests and one death. Dauphin County added 17 new cases to its total, which stands now at 601, and no new deaths, keeping that total to 25. There have been 3,618 negative tests so far in Dauphin County. Franklin County reported 65 new cases to increase its total to 313 with 2,940 negative tests and six deaths. Union County added one to its total, which now stands at 37 with 543 negative tests.

Statewide, 46,971 people have tested positive for COVID-19 with 2,354 deaths attributed to the virus. There have been 180,477 negative tests in Pennsylvania so far, according to the health department.

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