As Pennsylvania continues to report new daily coronavirus case counts in record numbers, the state’s Department of Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said there are currently no plans to return to Gov. Tom Wolf’s red-yellow-green mitigation phases.
Speaking during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 4 regarding the state’s plan to eventually roll out a COVID-19 vaccine once one is approved and available, Levine responded to a query about the phases that may or may not have been prompted by a recent barrage of social media posts that claim Wolf is planning to shut down the state again following the election, despite there being no evidence that such a plan is in place.
“We have no plans to go back to anything like red, yellow, green,” Levine said. “We are working on all of our containment measures. We’re continuing the mitigation measures that we have in place currently, and now we’re working on the vaccine.
“So, we have no plans to go back to red yellow green.”
Under Wolf’s plan, the red phase was a complete stay-at-home order, and businesses deemed non-essential also had to shut down. The yellow and green phases were less restrictive.
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The containment measures currently in place focus mostly on bars and restaurants, as bar service is not allowed while alcohol can only be served for on-premise consumption in the same transaction as a meal. Foodservice businesses who complete the state’s self-certification process are allowed to host up to 50 percent of their capacity for indoor dining, but otherwise, they are limited to 25 percent.
“We are continuing to see a large number of new cases of COVID-19 across the state,” Levine said. “COVID-19 is really impacting all of our communities, and everyone in Pennsylvania, which is why it is essential that we take steps to stop the spread.
“As I have said previously, we have three ways, three tools in our toolbox to control infectious disease outbreaks like the global pandemic of COVID-19: containment, mitigation, and vaccination.”
As for when a vaccine will come, that continues to be up in the air, but even once it is ready, an immediate return to what normal was prior to the start of the global pandemic should not be expected.
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“Until that time, and I can’t tell you when that will be, we need people to continue all of the safety measures that they’re doing right now,” Levine said.
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