March 9, 2020 - Centre County government officials are closely monitoring information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and implementing protocols for the safety of our employees and the visiting public.
In addition, the County is a participating member of the Centre Region’s Integrated Health Planning Group for the purpose of collaborating with local experts in health care, emergency preparedness, and crisis management as this situation continues to evolve. We are also receiving updates from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania which will assist us in monitoring the activities and responses of our peer county governments.
In an effort to promote prevention and slow the spread of a contagious virus, the following plans are in place:
- Beginning last Friday, the Facilities Management staff are conducting ‘disinfecting’ sweeps of all common areas and rest rooms in the Willowbank, Courthouse, and Courthouse Annex buildings twice daily – once in the morning before 8:30 a.m. and then again after the lunch hour. Regular cleaning schedules for all offices will be maintained in the evening after the close of business. Employees are asked to assist in this effort and to arrange a schedule within offices to wipe down doors, light switches, shared equipment such as copier buttons, and any other necessary locations.
- Hand sanitizer dispenser stands will be placed at building entrances where the public enters buildings. Not all locations will require dispenser stands and in those instances hand sanitizer supplies will be provided for counter tops.
- Additional cleaning supplies have been ordered and will be dispersed to all offices. Going forward, cleaning supply requests should be directed to Facilities Management. They will track usage and re-order supplies as necessary. The goal is for all offices to have the needed supplies.
- A County COVID-19 Planning team has been initiated and will meet weekly (or more frequently as necessary) to assess County response and to provide recommendations to the Board of Commissioners regarding continuity of operations.
- Beginning today, Department heads and elected officials are asked to report daily the number of employees absent due to flu-like symptoms. No names are necessary. It is important for us to track workforce numbers so that we can gauge the need for additional guidance or support.
- Our website front page now displays a link to the Department of Health website which contains up-to-date information specific to Pennsylvania as well as guidance for health protocols. Please refer to this trustworthy site for ongoing information and guidance. https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
It is likely that we will be responding to this situation for many weeks to come. News outlets and social media are flooded with information and commentary about COVID-19; however, I urge you to use the Department of Health’s website as a resource regarding updates in Pennsylvania along with protocols for prevention and emergency preparation. The County is approaching this situation and the potential for widespread illness with great concern and vigilance. We are planning as best we are able with the current and evolving information. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions and we will continue to provide updates as appropriate.
Margaret N. Gray, County Administrator
View the March 13, 2020 update here.