DELAWARE COUNTY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Chester County officials say they are extending a helping hand to residents in Delaware County amid the coronavirus crisis.
"Chester County does have sufficient excess capacity, I repeat does have sufficient excess capacity, to handle Delaware county's public health needs," said Chester County Chair Marian Moskowitz.
Delaware County is the fifth most populous county in the state with more than 560,000 residents, yet it doesn't have its own health department. Chairman Brian Zidek said officials can't respond rapidly to the coronavirus because they must rely on the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
"We are completely reliant on the state to tell us what they are doing," said Zidek. "We don't know how many people have been tested, we don't know how many people have been quarantined. Those who do test positive, we are not given information about where they might live."
In response, a Pennsylvania Department of Health spokesperson said:
"The Disease Control and Prevention Act limits information being released to only what is necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of Pennsylvanians," said Nate Wardle. "Through this, we have provided the same level of information to Delaware County as we have to other counties that do not have health departments."
Delaware County has five additional positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 14. Chester County officials have ten positive cases. After analyzing their own resources, Chester County officials said they're able to extend jurisdiction to Delaware County.
"We'll be coordinating and implementing the activities that relate to medical advice and medical needs, investigation and contact tracing of all positive cases in both counties, communications to health care providers, first responders, community-based organizations," said Dr. Jeanne Casper, Director of Health Department Chester County.
Chester County officials said they are not changing how they are operating, simply increasing the number of people they are trying to serve. Delaware County officials call their generosity and spirit of partnership nothing short of remarkable.
Delco and Chester County partner up to fight COVID-19