Coronavirus: When will southeastern Pennsylvania enter 'yellow' phase?

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Residents in southeastern Pennsylvania are waiting in envy as parts of the commonwealth prepare for the "yellow" phase of Governor Tom Wolf's COVID-19 reopening plan.

Delaware County Councilman Kevin Madden is fielding questions from business owners eager to see when parts of the Philadelphia region moves from "red" to "yellow" and ultimately "green."

The state's reopening plan went into effect last week, announcing the first wave of counties headed into the yellow phase Friday, May 8. Twenty-four counties from north central and northwestern Pennsylvania are preparing this week.

The restrictions are still similar to the ones in the red stage, still, southeastern Pennsylvania is eyeing those counties with envy since they are closer to green than the rest of the state.

Credit: Twitter.com/GovernorTomWolf


Credit: Twitter.com/GovernorTomWolf


Credit: Twitter.com/GovernorTomWolf



A significant portion of Pennsylvania's revenue comes from six counties in the southeastern part of the state, including Philadelphia.

Governor Tom Wolf explained in a release last week the requirements, "These counties were deemed ready to move to a reopening, or "yellow" phase because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread."

RELATED: Pa. Secretary of Health explains why barber shops, nail salons won't reopen in yellow phase

But in order for other counties to catch up, there needs to be more widespread testing to know how many people are affected.

Councilman Madden suggested nursing homes, which make up the bulk of their cases, be counted separately from the rest of the population.

"When you have 70% of the deaths we've had occur in nursing homes, if anything we want to shine a light on is that and to make sure the situation there is not getting conflated with the rest of the community."

But Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, did not agree, saying that nursing homes are part of the community with staff going back and forth.

"We are not going to separate nursing home cases from other cases in the county," said Levine.

Madden says he is concerned about the vulnerable population in the nursing homes and does not want to reopen too soon.

"We're not advocating for reopening before it's safe. We are where we are, we need to stay the course. What we're advocating for is not looking at solely one metric as this progresses. Maybe there are ways of being flexible and creative about starting to open things in a way that are safe," said Madden.
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