Community News Coronavirus Health

How to flatten the Delco COVID-19 curve

One of the biggest buzz phrases in coronavirus lingo is ‘flattening the curve.’ Here’s my way of explaining what the curve is and the efforts to flatten it.
Let’s start with the easy part; how to flatten the curve.
The emergency declarations, stay at home edicts, wash you hands advice, avoid large crowd mantras, close the schools decisions, and work from home mandates all help to slow down humans passing the virus to other humans. If fewer people are in contact with one another there’s less of a chance of contracting the virus.
delco curve
Here’s how to interpret the Delaware County curve and why it’s so alarming.

  • From March 8 to March 16th there were 4 COVID-19 cases in Delco.
  • One day later, March 17th , that number doubled to 8 cases.
  • Three days later, March 19th, that number doubled again to 16 cases.
  • One day later, March 20th, that number more than doubled again to 34 cases.
  • Two days later, March 22nd, that number almost doubled again to 62 cases.
  • One day later, March 23, we’re at 84 cases.

When you plot these dates on the graph, the line is going straight up fast. Until you see the numbers stop climbing (flatten out), the pandemic is raging on.
Will we see 168 cases by Friday and 334 cases by Monday? If we do, will you be concerned? Are you concerned now?
Those are questions only you can answer.

Community News Coronavirus Health & Fitness Opinion

COVID-19 must make you forget where you live

Last evening I checked the county map of COVID-19 case and noticed the 2 cases in Chester were reduced to 0. Was it an error removing them off the site? Did these two ladies get miraculously healed in 24-hours? Did they just disappear off the earth (but not die because they would be listed as COVID-19 deaths on the map)?
I wanted to ask someone but I had no clue who to ask. The few people I thought to ask have been too busy to answer my other questions and I didn’t want to call the local hotline because my curiosity wasn’t an emergency.
The Delaware County Times comes to the rescue again this morning with an article stating…

The city Office of Emergency Management announced Monday night that two cases in Chester had been reported in error. The city currently has no identified cases.

I think we deserve an answer as to why they were reported as Chester cases and all of a sudden they’re not Chester cases. It stains the reputation of the map if errors like this are widespread or at least not explained.
Chester gets wrongly blamed for a lot of stuff. Looks like COVID-19 cases are the latest stain on the city.
There is good news from the mistake. Finally, Chester’s Mayor, or Health Bureau, or Emergency Management team, or all of the above, are talking about a testing site located in Chester.
Maybe those two ladies forgot where they lived, but at least they gave Chester the gift of a potential COVID-19 testing facility.

Community News Coronavirus

Schools stay closed for longer while the Governor insist you stay-at-home

The Department of Education said school buildings are now scheduled to reopen for administrators, teachers and other staff on April 7. Under the plan announced Monday, students would return to school April 9.
Expect the school closure will be extended again to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, but for now they’re saying April 9.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday ordered residents of Pennsylvania’s hardest-hit areas, including Delaware County, to stay home for at least two weeks. This order takes effect at 8:00 PM on Monday, March 23, 2020, and will continue until April 6.
Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth

The following operations are exempt:

  • Life-sustaining business activities
  • Health care or medical services providers
  • Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks
  • Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders.
  • News media
  • Law enforcement
  • The federal government
  • Religious institutionspage1image1116331744

Businesses that remain open to the public include grocery stores, pharmacies, hotels and motels, beer distributors, laundromats and gas stations. Restaurants are only open for take-out orders.

Community News Coronavirus

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland Intends to Request COVID-19 Testing Site

(CHESTER, PA) –   The city of Chester Office of Emergency Management has announced that two adults in the city have tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).   According to data and maps aggregated by the Chester County Health Department and in coordination with the Chester County Department of Emergency Services, the two adults are females, ages 63 and 71.
“This administration has been in constant communication with the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator Fire Commissioner William Rigby IV,” said Mayor Kirkland.  “We are not surprised that cases have been confirmed in our city that is why we have been issuing daily briefings and updates to our residents related to COVID-19. Our city officials are following all of the recommendations given to us. The city’s Office of Emergency Management has been doing an amazing job keeping us updated, which is a tough task because this issue is very fluid and sensitive.
As numbers are steadily increasing in this area, I am requesting that a COVID-19 testing site be placed in the city of Chester.

“I intend to speak to the appropriate officials in the next coming days to ensure that this request is granted.”

While our numbers are small now, I want to ensure that residents here have quick access to testing services.”
The city of Chester has created a Coronavirus Resource page.  The resource page provides residents with daily briefings issued by the city of Chester Office of Emergency Management, food distribution sites for students and food pantry locations.
In addition to city updates and services, the page highlights recommendations and other helpful links from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Gov. Tom Wolf’s Office and Delaware County.
City of Chester’s Coronavirus Resource Page:
City of Chester’s Facebook Page:

Community News Coronavirus Health & Fitness

Chester gets first 2 COVID-19 cases

Two females in Chester, one 63-years-old and the other 71, have been added to the list of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Delaware County.
CDC Coronavirus guidance

Community News Coronavirus

Where is COVID-19 in Delaware County?

The collaboration allowing Delaware County to connect with the Chester County health department is already showing results.
Now, we can see a map of positive COVID-19 cases in our county.
Chester appears to spared thus far, but is it because the virus hasn’t reached us, or the tests haven’t reached us?
Keep an eye on this map daily to see what’s going on in your area.
COVID-19 in Delaware County map

Community News Coronavirus Opinion Politics

Chester City steps up website with a coronavirus link

With God as my witness, I was on the phone last night with a guy venting about the City of Chester’s website. For the life of me, I can’t understand why parking meter rates is still on the home page and there’s nothing on the city’s coronavirus guidance and leadership for this community. I even heard they’re still issuing parking tickets. I hope that’s not true.
Before I was going to finally write a blog post about their horrible website, they have added a banner on the top the page ‘Click Here for all coronavirus updates.’
I clicked, and there’s not much there coming directly from city officials, but they wisely are tapping into Delaware County content which is great and should be shared. Also, there is an extensive list of resources from the Center for Disease Control and the PA Health Department.
As I vented last night on the phone, we came up with what we’d expect to see on the City of Chester website home page that is specific to Chester residents:

  • Where to find food
  • Where to get tested if you’re sick
  • Simple explanation of the city’s State of Emergency
  • School district updates
  • Police policy during the crisis period
  • Shut-off policies from utilities
  • A link to Chester Matters Blog who is dedicating all coverage to ‘Covid-19 While Black’
  • A direct message from the mayor letting us know he’s still in town and cares about us since we haven’t heard a thing from him up to this point.

If you’ve never connected to the City of Chester website, this is the time to do so. If you don’t have internet access or a smart phone, I don’t know what their alternative methods to communicate coronavirus updates to you.
How Chester manages the coronavirus will be so different and so much more difficult than other communities around here. We have a large portion of our population under the poverty line. We have a large number of senior citizens living on top of each other in 7-senior living facilities. We have a larger than average population of people existing with chronic illnesses, many of them respiratory in nature. And we’re mostly Black which usually means we’re not going to be on the top of the list of help and resources when the Hunger Games get real.
We need to be over-communicated to at this point. We’re going to get hit hard. I need to see a lot more out of city government.

The squeaky wheel get’s the test kits.

Is Livia Smith, Director of Chester’s Health Services, banging on the doors of Delaware County council begging them to make sure they include Chester in coronavirus testing? Radnor is testing people in the street with coronavirus test kits and Chester hasn’t taken a single temperature.
City government, this is your time to shine. The ball is in your court. Show us what you got. As you all are so prone to say, ‘We can do better.’ The time for talk is over. Do better now. This is a life or death situation for many of us around here.
Step up NOW!

Community News Coronavirus Opinion Politics

Delaware County Council is putting in that work on coronavirus

The Delaware County Council people are kicking ass on this coronavirus issue. Not a day goes by where they haven’t made a significant contribution to addressing this pandemic head on. They’ve been issuing warnings, produce daily updates, populated extensive virus related content on their website, and made themselves available to the press.

As if all that isn’t enough, their biggest and most impressive success is getting the governor to approve a cooperative agreement that allows our neighbors over in Chester County to provide COVID-19 health services to us Delaware County residents.

As the Beatles were fond of saying…

You can feel his disease.
Come together, right now
Over me

Under the agreement, Chester County will provide us such services as

  • COVID-19 expanded testing,
  • COVID-19 case investigation and surveillance,
  • COVID-19 quarantine designations,
  • COVID-19 public health communication,
  • Daily monitoring of emergency room volume and hospitals in Delaware County
  • A public call center.

This is government at its best. You just don’t come up with these type of solutions in a vacuum. There is no policy manual or playbook to call on that gets you these type of results in this short amount of time. This partnership purely demonstrates what dedicated, concerned, smart, committed public servants do when the right team is in place.
Someone brought to my attention yesterday how they understood the need for our county to have its own health department but was tiring of hearing and reading what appears to be ‘politicking’ over the issue from our county council people in particular. Sure, the former administration avoided creating a county health department, but I don’t this these current council people are harping on that issue as much as the press is reporting about it, editorializing about it, and printing guest views about it. Hopefully we will read less about it because it’s definitely not important anymore now that our county council people delivered on a health department for Delaware County, albeit a temporary one that we’ll rent to get us through this crisis.

“Once we are through this, I will encourage all the residents of Delaware County to give a hug, a high five or a fist bump to the residents of Chester County,” Zidek said, in addition to thanking the county employees in Media.

Yo, Brian. Before we head down Rt. 1 to hug on Chester County folks, I encourage all the residents of Delaware County to at least send you guys a note of thanks, add y’all to our Christmas Cards lists, or spot you a brew down at Larimer Brewery before a Philadelphia Union soccer game.
Great Work!

At another juncture, expect to hear me rail on how these same type of agreements need to be made between failing school districts and good school districts within the county – but that’s not for another day.

Community News Coronavirus Health & Fitness

Where’s the Widener nursing students when the seniors need them?

You’ll recall I visited with the Widener University nursing students a few weeks ago at the Stinson Tower in Chester. These students are there as part of their studies to get experience with real people in the Chester City community.
How special is it to have a team a nurses serving a senior center a couple days a week for free? Although not a nursing home, I’m sure there’s a number of seniors challenged with health and wellness issues just because of their advancing age. There are several signs posted in and around the lobby letting them know the days and times the nurses will be there so they can come down and get checked without having to navigate getting to a doctor’s office if it’s nothing too serious.
These students knock on every door in the building to ask the residents if they are okay and would like to have their vital signs checked. Seems like a great service I’m sure every senior housing development should be entitled to.
I thought I was asking a simple question that would get a simple answer when I questioned what type of response do the nursing students get when they knock on doors? The real answer was not what I expected. It seems there’s a bit of resistance from more than a few residents who are annoyed at the nurses. Some seniors are more polite about it than others, but I get a sense the students aren’t seeing as many residents as they anticipated.
While I was with them for the hour or so, two residents interrupted my visit by stopping by the room. One rolled through in his wheelchair to get his blood pressure checked – and it was high. The other guy with a bubbly personality walked in to say hi and I could tell he was a regular with the students.
Now that coronavirus could likely land in the Stinson building, who will be there to check their vital signs? Widener students won’t be back for the foreseeable future and the luxury of having a team a nurses on hand is gone when they are needed the most.
I bet, after all the smoke clears, the Widener nurses will be a lot more appreciated when they get back to Stinson.

Community News Coronavirus Health & Fitness

Keystone Quality Transport ambulance staff is prepared for coronavirus

Keystone Quality Transport has quickly geared up for the challenges of transporting individuals who may potentially have coronavirus to health providers by training their first responders how to properly don personal protective equipment and how to operate ventilators.
You see their fleet of ambulances all around Chester and Delaware Counties and with the demand expected to rise in the next few weeks, it’s critical all first responders protect themselves from infection (and from spreading infection) in order to stay on the job to keep these critical ambulances on the streets.
keystone ambulance 03
With a fleet of 130 vehicles, this Delaware County based ambulance company provides a variety of emergency and non-emergency ambulance, paratransit and dedicated shuttle services to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, adult day care and behavioral health programs. It’s obvious that safety and customer satisfaction are paramount at KQT.
Each year, they perform over 100,000 transports safely and efficiently, driving customer value and patient satisfaction and that number is bound to spike up this year.
Keystone Ambulance 01