WEST CHESTER (May 1, 2020) – State Senator Andy Dinniman today issued the following statement in response to Governor Wolf’s plan to begin the reopening of 24 counties in the northwest and north-central regions of the state beginning on Friday, May 8.

“As we continue to respond to and combat this unprecedented crisis, my constituents and I in Chester County have real questions about accessing adequate testing and moving with our economic recovery. While I understand the administration’s current approach to reopening, Chester County, which acted quickly in responding to this crisis and mitigating its spread, is now slated to be one of the last to reopen.

First, a large percentage of cases in our region are located in nursing homes and senior care facilities. In addition to working to improve and ensure adequate care and testing for our seniors and nursing home staff, we would hope the fact that those who have tested positive are already quarantined and not moving about the community is taken into account when determining factors for reopening.

In addition, today the governor announced that the Department of Health developed testing and contact-tracing plans that will be used in making decisions moving forward. What exactly do those plans entail and when and how will we be able to access increased testing and contact tracing in Chester County? Will additional staff and resources be available at the local and county level to help us meet the necessary criteria to move forward and gauge the effectiveness of our efforts to stop the spread of this virus?

Chester County, to the credit of the county commissioners, is positioned to be a leader in deploying antibody, point-of-contact testing. Until recently, the state and federal government refused to work with us to remove obstacles that hindered the rollout of such testing. Now that we can and are moving forward, will the administration accept such testing as a factor in reopening? And will the administration assist other counties in doing the same?

Chester County moved quickly in responding to this pandemic and working to mitigate its spread.  Our county health department is so well equipped that it’s been able to ramp up services to meet the needs of our neighbors in Delaware County during this public health emergency. Chester County is a geographically unique region that includes both rural and suburban communities. I would hope that the administration takes these and other factors into account in determining our path toward reopening and recovering.”