Ciresi asks Gov. Wolf to consider excluding prison, nursing home COVID-19 cases from reopening metrics

HARRISBURG, May 5 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced that he wrote a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf last week asking for him to consider not counting COVID-19 cases at long-term facilities in which residents do not leave, including prison inmates and residents of long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, in metrics guiding the reopening of the state.

He said this step would better align the metrics used with the measure of the outbreak’s spread among the public. However, those cases still would be included and published in the overall tracking of the spread of COVID-19.

“I do not believe the case numbers in closed environments, such as prisons and nursing homes, adequately reflect the state of community spread among the population at large,” Ciresi said. “We absolutely have to do more to contain the alarming spread of the COVID-19 virus in these closed environments, but at the same time mitigation measures and guidelines for those communities are very different than for the rest of the public. Our economy should only reopen when we've made sufficient progress in limiting community spread, and the public has been doing its part by practicing social distancing, wearing masks and staying at home. I believe our metrics should be based on data; however, I think our data should match the population as a whole.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in a region is one of several metrics and risk factors that are being considered by the administration when making decisions on phased reopening of regions in Pennsylvania.

In his letter, Ciresi also asked the Wolf administration to expand support for small businesses that are struggling during the closures of economic sectors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ciresi has been introducing legislation to provide new and expanded support for small businesses and nonprofits.

For more information, contact Ciresi’s office at (484) 200-8265.