COVID-19 Updates from Centre County Government
August 28, 2020
Centre County Relief Block Grant - Small Business Application
The COVID-19 Centre County Relief Block Grant Application for Small Businesses will be open from Friday, August 28, 2020 through Friday, September 11, 2020 at 5 PM. Eligible businesses must meet the following criteria a) Be a business appropriately licensed, headquartered and operating in Centre County b) Operate from a physical location in Centre County c) Have experienced a revenue decline due to COVID-19. Apply online here.
July 31, 2020
COVID-19 Personal Travel Policy
At the Board of Commissioners’ public meeting on Thursday, July 30, 2020, Administrator Margaret Gray presented the COVID-10 Personal Travel Policy to address the personal travel of employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The policy was discussed and approved by the Board of Commissioners in coordination with President Judge Ruest and follows the guidance of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
July 7, 2020
Resolution 16 of 2020 (Update)
At the Board of Commissioners’ public meeting on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, the Board discussed and approved Resolution 16 of 2020, which is entitled "A RESOLUTION TO SAVE LIVES & BRING BACK JOBS BY ENDORSING AND SUPPORTING GOVERNOR WOLF’S & SECRETARY LEVINE’S MANDATORY MASK WEARING FOR PENNSYLVANIANS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC".
June 30, 2020
Resolution 16 of 2020
At the Board of Commissioners’ public meeting on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, the Board discussed Resolution 16 of 2020, which is entitled "A RESOLUTION TO SAVE LIVES & BRING BACK JOBS BY ENDORSING AND SUPPORTING GOVERNOR WOLF’S MANDATORY MASK WEARING FOR PENNSYLVANIANS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC".
Commissioner Pipe provided a presentation on the draft resolution. You can view a video of the presentation here at the 3 minute 52 second mark. Copies of the presentation are available here in PDF format (2 MB) and PowerPoint format (18 MB).
June 23, 2020
Centre County Approves Contract with DCED for $14.7 million in COVID-19 Relief Funds
Today, the Centre County Board of Commissioners approved a contract for $14.7 million with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for the newly created COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant (CRBG). The Commissioners applied on June 17, 2020 for the full amount eligible based on the population of Centre County.
Also, today the Commissioners launched a County Relief Block Grant page on the County’s website. Updates on grant information, future public listening sessions, and much more will be posted at the site: centrecountypa.gov/CRBG.
Prior to submitting the application and approving the contract, the Commissioners held a series of public meetings and work sessions to discuss the utilization of the COVID-19 Relief Funds. Recordings of the meetings are available at https://centrecountypa.gov/2176/Remote-Public-Meetings.
June 17, 2020
Centre County Applies for $14.7 million COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant
On Thursday, June 11, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development released guidance to county governments for the newly created COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant. Centre County Government is eligible to apply for $14,664,804.
The Commissioners held a series of meetings and work sessions to discuss their allocation of the COVID-19 Relief Funds. The meetings and work sessions were held via the video conferencing platform BlueJeans on Thursday, June 11, Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Recordings of the meetings are available at https://centrecountypa.gov/2176/Remote-Public-Meetings.
May 29, 2020
Centre County Moves to the Green Phase
On May 26, Governor Wolf announced his decision to move Centre County to the green phase of re-opening effective this Friday, May 29, 2020. The Board of Commissioners voted to move ahead and will now be the 18th county to move to green. Administrator Margaret Gray provided direction to department heads on May 27. The Governor’s Guidelines for the Green Phase can be viewed here.
May 28, 2020
County Administrator - Follow-up Regarding Moving to the Green Phase
As a follow-up to yesterday’s communication, I am writing to provide an update based on actions taken this morning by the Board of Commissioners.
All of the protocols referenced in my email yesterday and included below remain in place with the exception of no longer restricting travel outside of the County for essential work related reasons effective June 1st. When possible, employees should travel separately and the attached document, titled “Employee Protocols for Working in County Buildings During COVID-19,” provides additional detail.
The Board of Commissioners also adopted a Universal Masking policy that takes effect Monday June 1, 2020 mandating the use of masks at all times in County buildings except when an individual is in an office alone with a door that closes. The Policy details other exceptions and also sets forth compliance related action should it be necessary. A copy of the policy is attached and it will be distributed to all employees via our Power DMS platform.
The Board of Commissioners extended the furlough of employees until June 12, 2020. As has been the practice over the last several weeks, you may request to have an individual return sooner based on work needs in your offices.
As we work our way through this process of re-opening, we will continue to assess when additional changes can be made. Certainly no one has the perfect playbook about how to operate during this public health pandemic and I am most appreciative of and welcome your comments and suggestions.
May 8, 2020
Centre County Moves to the Yellow Phase
Centre County is one of twenty-four counties identified by the Governor as able to lift the stay at home order and move to a yellow phase of aggressive COVID-19 mitigation requirements effective Friday, May 8. Administrator Margaret Gray provided the guidance on behalf of the Board of Commissioners for operations of Centre County government under this new phase.
The County’s goal remains to keep essential services in place while protecting the health and safety of our employees and the public we serve. A summary of the protocols in place can be viewed here.
April 29, 2020
Centre County Correctional Facility Confirms Four Additional Incarcerated Individual with COVID-19
Four individuals incarcerated at the Centre County Correctional Facility (CCCF) tested positive for COVID-19 according to Warden Christopher A. Schell. The four individuals were already quarantined prior to exhibiting symptoms and will remain in quarantine for an additional fourteen days. Hospitalization is not necessary at this point in time for any of the four individuals.
April 28, 2020
Reopening Centre County (Update 04/28/2020)
With Governor Wolf’s announcement of his Process to Reopen Pennsylvania, Commissioner Pipe provided an update on COVID-19 in Centre County and the outlook for reopening our community. You can view a video of the update on his Official Commissioner Facebook Page.
April 23, 2020
Administrative Order 49th Judicial District - Actions Pursuant to Declaration of Judicial Emergency
The Court has issued a Second Amended Administrative Order to extend the Declaration of Disaster Emergency through May 31, 2020. Jury selection for June 1, 2020 and June 2, 2020 is cancelled.
Centre County Correctional Facility Confirms Second Incarcerated Individual with COVID-19
A second Centre County resident incarcerated in the Centre County Correctional Facility has tested positive for COVID-19 according to CCCF Warden Christopher A. Schell.
April 22, 2020
Board of Commissioners’ Budget Meeting
The Centre County Board of Commissioners will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 to discuss the status of 2020 County revenues and expenditures.
The meeting will be held at 11:00 AM and will be a web conference using Zoom. Participants can login here or participate by phone, simply call +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 and enter meeting ID: 824 2886 6840 and password: 72507.
For further information, contact the Commissioners’ Office at 814-355-6700 or BOC@CentreCountyPA.gov.
April 21, 2020
Board of Commissioners Urge Members of Congress to Provide Flexible Funding
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act provided money directly to counties that are half a million or more in population, which is only about 5% of the counties across the country. As Congress negotiates a potential fourth COVID-19 response package, Board of Commissioners approved correspondence to Senator Casey, Senator Toomey, Congressman Thompson, and Congressman Keller urging that they provide direct and flexible funding to county governments of all sizes.
April 19, 2020
Centre County Correctional Facility Confirms First Incarcerated Individual with COVID-19
A Centre County resident incarcerated in the Centre County Correctional Facility since January has tested positive for COVID-19 according to Warden Christopher A. Schell. “All measures to protect the health and safety of our staff and incarcerated individuals continue with additional efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus within our facility,” said Warden Schell.
The individual has been housed in the Facility’s negative airflow room since exhibiting symptoms and hospitalization is not necessary at this point in time. A small number of staff and incarcerated individuals who may have had contact with the individual are in quarantine while contact tracing and additional testing are conducted.
April 14, 2020
Commissioners Approve Temporary Furloughs, Reduction in Hours, Vacancies for Non-Critical Positions
At today’s, Commissioners’ meeting, the Board approved, effective the close of business Friday, April 17, 2020, the temporary furlough of 63 people, the partial reduction of hours for 20 people, and 17 positions that are or soon will be vacant that will be left unfilled unless a critical need arises.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to reduce the amount of staff in County Buildings some of our employees are unable to work from home, they have a reduced amount of work, or there is no work for them. Out of fairness to taxpayers and in order to be good stewards, we have the difficult and heart-wrenching decision of how to move forward," said Commissioner Chair Michael Pipe at the Tuesday, April 14, 2020 public meeting.
- All affected employees will still receive their paychecks on Friday, April 17
- All affected employees will be paid for their time worked this week on May 1 as already scheduled
- For all employees, the County will continue to cover their healthcare benefits as currently enrolled. They will be required to pay their portion of their premium.
- Employees are receiving letters outlining their last day of pay and options for Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Conversation
Through the next several weeks, the Board will be re-assessing the resumption of functions on a department-by-department basis while taking into consideration guidance from Federal and State officials about continued efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. We will weigh many factors regarding when to end furloughs. Some of which are:
- The number of and the rate of increase of positive case of COVID-19 in Centre County;
- The number of and the rate of increase of deaths due to COVID-19 in Centre County;
- The rescinding of Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s Stay At Home Order;
- The extension of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Order to close courts;
- Changes in federal, state and/or local revenue; and, but not limited too,
- Increased need in staffing and service provision in our offices and departments
April 10, 2020
Continuation of Suspension of Visits at Centre County Correctional Facility
The Centre County Correctional Facility has extended, until Monday, April 27, 2020, the suspension of all visitors, volunteers, and programs within the facility, and programs that utilize the Community Room. This suspension originally began on Monday, March 16, 2020. The Correctional Facility will actively monitor the situation and revisit the suspension in two weeks. Any question related to visitation at the Correctional Facility please call (814) 355-6794.
April 9, 2020
Commissioners Launch COVID-19 Information and Resources Website
Today, the Board of Commissioners launched a new website for information, resources, and updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The website’s URL is www.centrecountypa.gov/covid-19.
“Centre County Government and our community partners provide many services to our residents and the need for assistance will surely grow during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Administrator Margaret Gray. “The website will help residents to find resources and stay up to date throughout this crisis.”
April 6, 2020
Commissioners Provide Teleconference for Public Comment at Tuesday Meetings
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre County Board of Commissioners will be offering public participation via teleconference at their weekly public meetings held at 10 A.M. on Tuesdays. To join the Board of Commissioners via teleconference dial (814) 699-8580 and enter 138-2535 and press the # key. All callers will be muted automatically. To participate in public comment, callers can press *5 on their phone’s keypad.
April 5, 2020
Universal Masking in County Government Buildings
Beginning on April 6, 2020, all employees who enter County buildings will be asked to wear a cloth mask in light of Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine’s call for universal masking in Pennsylvania.
March 31, 2020
Declaration of Disaster Emergency
Commissioners extend the Countywide Declaration of Disaster Emergency until April 30, 2020 to access State and Federal resources as well as streamline the procurement an decision-making process to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resources Available for Small Businesses
Commissioner Mark Higgins provided an update at the Board of Commissioners’ Meeting today about resources that are available for small businesses. The presentation can be downloaded as a PDF document here or PowerPoint presentation here.
Centre County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court
Christine Millinder announces the ability to process virtual probate and the ability to apply for a marriage license through video conference.
March 29, 2020
Centre County Government Operations Guidance Related ‘Stay at Home’ Order
Today, Centre County Administrator Margaret Gray wrote to elected officials and department heads with further operational guidance in light of the Governor and Secretary of Health’s ’Stay at Home’ Order. Administrator Gray stated, "Our goal is to keep essential services in place while protecting the health and safety of our employees and the public we serve. While the County is under the ‘Stay-at-Home’ order, limiting physical presence in our County buildings is absolutely necessary. The next several weeks will no doubt result in more Centre County residents being diagnosed with COVID-19. Everything we do now will help to lessen the impact."
The new directives were to begin on Monday, March 30th - and until further notice - for County Employees, including:
- For non-Court related offices, there should be no one in the office except to process mail and other documents necessary to ongoing County operations. Beyond this function, exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All requests for exceptions should be submitted in writing to me and I will respond as quickly as possible. If exceptions are allowed, time in the office should be limited to essential work only; that is, work that cannot be handled remotely and work that is necessary to keep operations moving. Working on back logs or future projects does not qualify under these circumstances as essential.
- For Court related offices, guidance about operations will be provided by the President Judge and Court Administrator.
- Main entrances of the Willowbank, Courthouse, and Courthouse Annex will continue to have deputies posted at those entrances.
- Facilities staff will continue with cleaning and disinfecting sweeps.
March 28, 2020
Governor Wolf & Health Secretary Levine Expand ‘Stay at Home’ Order to Centre County to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19
As the state continues to seek relief to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, today Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised their “Stay at Home” orders to include Centre County, bringing the state total to 22 counties under a stay-at-home order. This order takes effect at 8:00 PM Saturday, March 28, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.
March 27, 2020
Primary Election Date moved to Tuesday, June 2, 2020
After unanimously passing both the Pennsylvania House and Pennsylvania Senate, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 422 which reschedules the 2020 primary election from April 28 to June 2. and makes other election process changes, including some due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Continuation of Suspension of Visits at Centre County Correctional Facility
The Centre County Correctional Facility has extended, until Monday, April 13, 2020, the suspension of all visitors, volunteers, and programs within the facility, and programs that utilize the Community Room. This suspension originally began on Monday, March 16, 2020. The Correctional Facility will actively monitor the situation and revisit the suspension in two weeks. Any question related to visitation at the Correctional Facility please call (814) 355-6794.
March 22, 2020
Public Access to County Buildings & Continuity of Services
Residents are asked to refrain from visiting County Government buildings. Please call first and discuss with County staff ways to conduct essential business needs. Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, and until further notice, all building doors will be locked during normal business hours – this includes the Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, Willowbank, and Summit Park. Public access will be granted on an as-needed basis. Sheriff’s deputies will continue to staff the entrances at the Courthouse, Courthouse Annex, and Willowbank for security purposes and to receive any necessary mail and packages. Facilities management staff will continue with mail distribution, cleaning, and building sweeps. If an office is physically closed, each Department/office has a plan in place to forward phone calls and answer emails.
March 18, 2020
How to access County Resources: Limited building access.
Administrative Order 49th Judicial District - Actions Pursuant to Declaration of Judicial Emergency
The Court has issued its Declaration of Judicial Emergency to address the current and expanding outbreak of COVID-19 infections in Pennsylvania, the anticipated expansion of that outbreak into the 49th Judicial District, and the need to prevent or at least minimize the spread of COVID-9 within the County.
Prothonotary & Clerk of Courts
March 17, 2020
Judicial Emergency Response
March 16, 2020
Closures of County Senior Centers and Cancellation of Visits at County Correctional Facility
- Pursuant to Governor Tom Wolf’s statewide order, all County Senior Centers and the Centre Region Active Adult Center are closed for two weeks beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Any question related to Senior Center closures please call (814) 355-6716.
- The Centre County Correctional Facility has implemented a suspension of all visitors, volunteers, programs within the facility, and programs that utilize the Community Room. This suspension is for two (2) weeks. We will actively monitor the situation and revisit the suspension in two weeks. Any question related to visitation at the Correctional Facility please call (814) 355-6794.
March 15, 2020
Maintaining Essential County Services while Reducing the Spread of COVID-19
County Administrator Margaret Gray announced several additional measures and provided updates regarding the County’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
- COVID-19 Leave Policy for County Government employees
- Closing County Building meeting rooms to outside groups effective immediately and until further notice
- Deployment of expanded virtual meeting and teleconferencing capabilities
- Encouragement of reducing the number of visitors to County Buildings (increasing telephone and email constituent services). Where not possible, increased disinfecting of public areas.
- Reduction of employees in County Buildings through working from home and, where not possible, rotation of employees.
- Continued augmentation of County’s COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan)
March 14, 2020
Declaration of Disaster Emergency
- Commissioners sign Countywide Declaration of Disaster Emergency to access State and Federal resources as well streamline the procurement and decision-making processes to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 13, 2020
Limiting County Employee Travel and In-Person Meetings
- No out-of-county travel for official County business unless determined to be mission critical.
- Postpone hosting or participating in large meetings (12+ participants), conferences, training, or community events unless approved in advance.
March 9, 2020
Update to County Employees on COVID-19
- Creation of Centre County Government COVID-19 Planning Team
- Update on "disinfecting sweeps" of all common areas, restrooms, and offices in County Buildings
- Deployment of Hand sanitizing stations in County Buildings
- Collecting, reporting, and tracking of data regarding the number of employees absent due to flu-like symptoms
- Additional ordering of cleaning supplies and tracking of usage levels
- Inclusion of CDC and PA Department of Health resources on County website