CLARION – “We’re just letting everybody know that the county is keeping an eye on things.” With these words, Clarion County Commissioner Wayne Brosius described the county’s approach in regard to the COVID-19 or coronavirus.
Earlier this week, Brosius and fellow Commissioners Ted Tharan and Ed Heasley, along with the county Department of Public Safety (DPS), issued a press release detailing Clarion County’s continued efforts to monitor COVID-19 and offering some basic steps on how to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
“There have been no confirmed cases in Clarion County,” said Brosius during Tuesday morning’s Board of Commissioners meeting, urging county residents not to panic. “Residents should practice good hygiene and go to the doctor if they are sick.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, all in the eastern part of the state.
According to the press release issued on Monday, the Clarion County Commissioners and the county DPS have been monitoring the event by keeping constant contact with the state Department of Health, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, local public safety agencies, schools and healthcare providers. In addition, the DPS participates in daily updates with state agencies and has been forwarding information to public safety agencies, schools and healthcare facilities.
“We’ll keep everybody updated,” Clarion County DPS director Jeff Smathers said, noting that the county will continue to monitor the virus and provide important information regarding Clarion County to the appropriate agencies and to the public.
Smathers urged residents to always be aware of their surroundings and to wash their hands thoroughly after coming in contact with things such as door handles or gas pumps.
“We are a corridor to I-80, so there are people who come through this county every day,” he said. “You always want to be aware of your surroundings and take care of yourself.”
As stated in the press release, symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the regular or seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing.
According to the release, some basic steps residents can practice to help reduce the risk of contracting any flu include:
• Discussing individual health concerns and seeking care for influenza-like illnesses with your family physician.
• Staying home from work and outside public activities if you are sick.
• Practicing good hygiene. Simple hand washing can prevent the spread of germs. Waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a great way to keep hands clean when there is not a sink nearby.
• Coughing or sneezing into your sleeve if tissues or not available. This will trap the germs and keep your hands clean. A common way to pass the flu is on your hands.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Staying healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest and exercise.
• Knowing your neighbors and planning to help anyone who may be shut in or limited in their ability to travel by checking on them and helping when necessary. Volunteer with local organizations that assist during times of emergencies.
For more information on COVID-19, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website, www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/pages/coronavirus.aspx, or the CDC website, www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
• The commissioners approved the county’s Emergency Succession Plan.
Brosius explained that the plan outlines who would step in if one or more commissioners were not available in the event of a county emergency.
• A contract was approved on behalf of Domestic Relations with Christy Logue for the IV-D attorney contract to replace one with Sara Seidle-Patton. The new contract is effective Sept. 30 at a cost of $125 per hour.
• County officials also approved an extension and amendment to the current contract with MTM on behalf of the county Transportation department.
The contract was extended three years beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2023 and included new rates per trip for medical assistance. New rates range from $39.75 to $42.35 over the three-year period.
• Approval was given to an agreement with Fyock’s Lawn Care for summer maintenance at Helen Furnace Park at a bi-weekly cost of $145.