BREAKING NEWS: Montour and Snyder counties going green

HARRISBURG – Two valley counties are indeed going green next Friday. During a press conference Friday, Governor Tom Wolf announced Montour and Snyder counties will move to the green phase next Friday. 17 total counties are going green, including Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Potter,  Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.

When asked about Northumberland and Union counties going green, the state Department of Health says both counties have been in the yellow phase long enough to move to green, but have seen concerns with keeping their case count at a decreasing level. The department says it will be continuing to monitor the case data to see if those counties can potentially move to green in the next week or two.

Eight more counties are moving to yellow next Friday as well, including Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill.

Counties remaining in red on May 29 and are expected to move to yellow by June 5 include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.

Gov. Wolf referred to a study by Drexel University that indicates that in Philadelphia alone, 60 days of staying at home resulted in more than 7,000 lives saved and prevented more than 68,000 people from needing hospitalization.

From AP:

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday he is easing some pandemic restrictions in Philadelphia and the heavily populated suburbs on June 5, while lifting them almost entirely in 17 rural counties next week as Pennsylvania continues to emerge from a shutdown imposed nearly two months ago to help slow the spread of the new virus.  Wolf is accelerating his reopening plan even though more than 20 Pennsylvania counties remain above the state’s target for new infections that were supposed to qualify them for an easing of pandemic restrictions — and eight counties are more than three times over.

Local elected officials, Republican and Democrats alike, have been pressing for shutdown relief amid skyrocketing unemployment, as have small business owners who are struggling to keep afloat.  Wolf is taking action amid a partisan blame game over whether governors or the president is responsible for the economic wreckage. That fight could have enormous implications in the November election in this presidential battleground state.

The Democratic governor is moving Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton and Montgomery to “yellow” on June 5, meaning that people will be able to freely leave their homes and retailers and other kinds of businesses will be allowed to reopen, though other restrictions remain.  Eight counties are moving to yellow a week earlier, on May 29: Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill.

Wolf also announced the first batch of counties moving to “green,” the least restrictive phase of his reopening plan: Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren. All of them are lightly populated counties across a northern swath of the state.  Health officials have said they were working on specific guidelines for counties in the green phase.

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