Speaker of the House highlights Delco Health Department
Need for county health department became apparent during pandemic
EDDYSTONE, May 15 – Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton highlighted the positive contributions the Delaware County Health Department has accomplished and ways it has impacted the community just a year after being launched in April 2022.
“From West Nile Virus to tracking Delco health trends, the Delaware County Health Department is laying the foundation for a healthier county” said Speaker McClinton, who represents portions of Delaware County and Philadelphia.
“With new threats to public health emerging every day, I’m proud to support the work of the Health Department to identify, educate, and lead in protecting our community” said McClinton, who brought the House Majority Policy Committee in for a roundtable and tour Monday in Delaware County.
During the first days of the pandemic in Pennsylvania, on March 6, 2020, the governor held a press conference to announce two confirmed presumptive COVID-19 cases – including one case in Delaware County. The county had not yet developed its own health department, and it relied on neighboring Chester County to help inform citizens. It exposed a weakness in Delco and for many of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
Before it created its own health department, Delco was the largest county – by population – without its own health department. Even after its creation, only Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia run their own county-wide health departments. Other counties have shown interest in forming their own health departments.
When Delco’s Health Department opened last April, it marked the state’s first new county health department in 30 years. County health departments help fill gaps the state cannot cover, for instance, the Delaware County Health Department was instrumental in helping and providing guidance following a confirmed case of tuberculosis in a Delco school earlier this year.
Monday’s House Majority Policy roundtable and tour featured information from epidemiologists, nurses, and administrators. The committee toured facilities in Eddystone and Chester, talking to officials at both sites on what the state and counties can do to improve public health.
Information about this hearing and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at pahouse.com/policy. Photos to be used for publication can be found at pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee/Galleries.