Let’s first thank the Delaware County Council for proving me right: They know how to conduct a remote meeting over the internet.
I’ve shared many times that I’m not built for this video-centric generation. I apologize to those of you who may have sent me videos because, chances are, I haven’t watched them. As much as I was looking forward to the ‘Delaware County Provides Update on COVID-19’ live broadcast yesterday, I knew I wasn’t going to watch it. But, I did hook the phone to the truck Bluetooth an listened to the whole thing on my drive in from work.
I didn’t need to see Councilman Madden talk. I could hear him just fine and nothing was lost by not seeing his mouth move up and down. Besides reading, listening is my favorite way to absorb information.
What I like most about what I heard was the council’s laser focus on what’s causing the biggest problem with coronavirus in the county: nursing homes. The Delaware County Daily Times reports…
Council views the current situation as two separate challenges that require different approaches, Madden said: Cases that occur in nursing homes and other congregate-care facilities, and the outbreak in the broader community at large.
I’ve been particularly concerned about the 7 senior living facilities in Chester, but they must be doing okay when you consider with their large combined population there’s only been 4-deaths in the city as a whole.
Roughly 70 percent of deaths in the county and 20 percent of positive tests have occurred among nursing home populations, according to Madden. That is not unique to Delaware County, he added, and council is working with the Chester County Health Department to try to keep that vulnerable population as safe as possible.
When you have 70% of anything going on, there’s reason to be putting your attention on it. Good for County Council for honing in on that demographic. Considering the many ways you can work the statistics in favor of one hotspot over another, it’s refreshing to see them honor the seniors with their attention to the nursing home population.
To help get the necessary data to track that progress, Madden said Delaware County has asked Governor Wolf to break out statistics for new cases in nursing homes versus new cases in the rest of the county.
Before today’s morning paper was even laid out, Gov. Wolf and crew had an immediate answer to that request from this quote in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer…
As the number of nursing home residents dying of the coronavirus mounts, officials in Bucks and Delaware Counties sought on Monday to speed their ability to lift shutdown restrictions by asking the state to consider their infection rates without including cases in long-term care facilities. Health Secretary Rachel Levine said such cases cannot be severed from the rest in society — noting that staff members go back and forth between those facilities and the broader community — and would not be considered separately.
The County Council Update also addressed when the county will likely be ‘opened-up.’
Madden said guidance from the governor provided that one metric being reviewed for when counties may reopen is a target of 50 or fewer new cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period. For Delaware County, he said, that would translate to a rough average of 20 new cases per day. Over the past week, however, Delaware County saw an average of 139 new cases per day…
So, we’re looking at staying home a little while longer if we must get down from 139 to 20 new cases a day county wide.
Selfish me was listening to hear County Council address the black communities hit hard with COVID-19 cases hoping they’d find a few test kits laying around and toss them to Chester and Yeadon specifically. But again, I’m not mad at them. They at least have a focus and it’s the nursing homes. I’m so glad someone is advocating for them because what’s happening across the country in nursing homes is troubling, disturbing, and criminal – to the residents and the staff – and there are people of all ethnicities living and working in these nursing homes.
So, who should be advocating for the black community? I’ve heard the Chester mayor say he intended to request testing over 7-weeks ago and has come up empty handed. I checked the Delaware County Black Caucus Facebook Page and see they’re only posting information others are providing and pointing folks to the County page, none of which has anything to do with getting testing in black communities. They haven’t even considered scheduling a forum for Delco blacks. What’s the point of having a Delco Black Caucus if they’re not addressing COVID-19 in the Delco black communities?
Again I ask, Who is Advocating for the black community in Delaware County with COVID-19?