County: State Will Not Allow Erie County to Enter Green Phase of Reopening Yet
Erie County will not be moving to the green phase of reopening, according to a statement from the county Friday.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Levine told County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and County Health Director Melissa Lyon that Erie’s metrics are not favorable for moving into the green phase.
"The Erie County Department of Health has done everything in their power to help Erie County advance to the green phase," Lyon said.
Dr. Levine said Erie's metrics are not favorable for moving into the green phase.
"While I can't disagree with data because I don't have evidence to nullify it, this is distressing," Lyon added. "It may now be time to use metrics outside of traditional disease-measuring tools to make decisions about communities' readiness to move into the green phase. We should be weighing social science metrics to make good decisions across the commonwealth."
The state is also sending six additional contact tracers to help out Erie County over the next two weeks.
Lyon also noted the state is helping expand testing in Erie County. In addition, Walmart on Elm Street in the City of Erie is now a testing site.
Dahlkemper is in agreement that Erie County is ready to move into the green phase.
"We need the state to listen to us and take the proper action by advancing us to the green phase immediately," Dahlkemper said. "Our community leaders, as a whole, have looked at not only the disease metrics, but have looked at the hospital capacity, the economic toll, the mental health toll and the four surrounding counties. We stand in collective agreement that it is time for Erie County to move into the green phase."
Dahlkemper also noted that residents of Erie County are traveling unnecessarily to other counties to get the services they need or want.
She also says that Erie County employers have embraced mitigation efforts including masking and social distancing.
"But it is now time to let our other closed businesses open and to work collectively to continue mitigating the disease spread," Dahlkemper said.