Senator Joe Pittman issued the following statement immediately following the announcement that Armstrong, Butler and Indiana counties are not among the 24 counties cleared to step down their COVID-19 restrictions on May 8.
The 24 counties that will move from red to yellow on May 8 are: 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.
“This is a ludicrous and arbitrary decision on the part of the Governor. As of today, Armstrong, Butler and Indiana counties have recorded a combined total of under 300 positive COVID-19 cases that represent a minuscule percentage of Pennsylvania’s 47,000 cases as of May 1. In fact, our small total number of cases are not out of line with several counties that have seen their restrictions eased.
“Moreover, the capacity of our great community hospitals – Indiana Regional Medical Center, Armstrong County Memorial Hospital and Butler County Memorial Hospital– remain more than adequate to handle any additional cases. The continued lockdown is strangling the financial resources of these healthcare facilities and preventing many of my constituents from receiving critical medical care.
“The Senate sent the Governor legislation that would have set specific guidelines that were based on federal recommendations which provided clearly defined recommendations for reopening the Commonwealth. He vetoed that bill and instead is using a convoluted and arbitrary system far afield from his stated metric of 50 cases per 100,000 people. Our local counties remain well below that threshold. Did he just staple a state map to the wall and toss darts deciding who could reopen? This reopening plan has been just as closed, secretive and confusing as the process the Administration used in granting waivers to allow select businesses to operate during the height of this crisis.
“The bottom line is Pennsylvania’s employers are suffering and this continued shut down of our local companies exasperates this problem. Unemployment rolls continue to skyrocket and the Department of Labor & Industry is simply overwhelmed. Families are suffering and I sincerely hope the Governor will quickly come to his senses and act to ease these unnecessary restrictions and allow Armstrong, Butler and Indiana counties to get back to work.”
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