CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County has formed a COVID-19 (coronavirus) Task Force, announced the county commissioners in a press release Thursday afternoon.
The task force consists of the county commissioners, Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Bigar, EMA Deputy Scott Mignot, 911 Director Dave McClure, 911 Deputy Jeremy Ruffner and County Medical Command Physician David Jaslow.
As of Thursday, the commissioners said there are no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Clearfield County. According to the commissioners, the task force recently met and it was noted that:
- County EMA has had protocols in place for many years in case of a widespread illness, and those protocols are being reviewed and implemented as a precaution.
- County EMA/EMS officials are planning a video conference with local fire/EMS responders to discuss proper protection and sanitization of personnel and equipment.
- County officials will soon be hosting a video conference to discuss workplace protocols and safety for all county departments. Business leaders will be invited to participate, and an Internet link will be provided to the press by early next week.
In addition, the commissioners said that the public can help slow the spread of the virus by:
- washing your hands often with soap and hot water; covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze; and sanitizing shared areas (keyboards, desks, etc.) with disinfectant often.
- staying home and first contacting your primary care physician for medical advice if you feel sick — particularly if you are feverish, short of breath or coughing. You’re strongly urged not to visit your PCP’s office, an urgent care/walk-in clinic or emergency department. Instead you should call for advice first, and if your symptoms are severe (most will not), you will be directed to go to the ER or call 911; this will allow the ER staff time to prepare for your visit in advance. It was also noted that contagious people remaining in public/shared spaces is one of the quickest ways to spread the virus.
“We recommend that citizens not meet in larger groups for the time being,” the commissioners said. “Large group meetings can rapidly accelerate the spread of the virus. If you do decide to meet in large groups, practice good hygiene and try to keep separation between each person.”
The commissioners added that, “Elderly [people] are particularly at risk when exposed. We ask that, if possible, you refrain from nursing home/personal care facility visitation for the time being in order to protect the residents there.”
The commissioners said that local personnel have developed both short- and long-term plans and procedures, and EMA personnel have been in constant contact with Penn Highlands Healthcare, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
“This is a contingency that local personnel have trained for and are prepared for,” the commissioners said. “The task force will communicate regularly as a group, and will release additional statements as the situation warrants.
“We will be completely transparent and open with the public about this situation. We all need to be aware and take sensible precautions, but this too shall pass.”