Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is supplementing staffing in the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) to monitor the progress of COVID-19, more commonly referred to as “coronavirus,” with specially trained staff from multiple state agencies.
The CRCC staffing will include personnel from the following agencies, departments and organizations: Office of Administration; Agriculture; Banking and Securities; Community and Economic Development; Corrections; Education; General Services; Health; Drug and Alcohol Programs; Insurance; Military and Veterans Affairs; Human Services; PA State Police; Transportation; PA State System of Higher Education; PA Turnpike Commission; PA Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (PA VOAD); and American Red Cross.
“In the coming days and weeks, we are anticipating that the number of presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 will grow,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “PEMA is in contact with our county emergency management partners and we are ready to provide assistance when and where it is needed. Bringing other state agencies into the CRCC allows us to more quickly access state resources when requests come in.”
Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Individuals most at risk for severe symptoms include elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
You are reminded to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
- If you are sick, you should stay home until you are feeling better.
To date, there are nearly 128,000 cases worldwide, including more than 4,700 deaths. There are 1,323 cases and 38 deaths to date in the United States. The department expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. The department also said due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19 around the world, it is important for families to be prepared.
The Wolf Administration Preparedness Actions
The World Health Organization first announced the coronavirus outbreak in late January and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has had its Department Operations Center operating since February 1. The center allows for a collaborative, concentrated state response, including:
- Maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
- Reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans to prepare for spread of COVID-19;
- Provided symptom monitoring for residents returning from areas impacted by coronavirus;
- Provided health care providers, businesses and education providers with information;
- Begun testing for COVID-19 at the state laboratory;
- Increased testing capacity;
- Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration March 6 to ensure state agencies involved in the response have the expedited resources they need to continue to focus on the virus and its possible spread.
For information and updates related to novel coronavirus, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ruth Miller, PEMA, email@example.com