As Lebanon County braces for COVID-19, we take a look at what actions have been taken so far locally.
Over the past few days, Governor Tom Wolf has begun to hit pause on different slices of society in the state— schools were closed for ten business days (starting today), restaurants and bars in Philadelphia suburban counties (not Philly itself) have been ordered to close for 14 days, and state employees are now being encouraged to telework if possible.
As of noon Sunday, March 15, the state had confirmed 63 cases of COVID-19, none in Lebanon County or adjacent counties (Cumberland County has the closest cases with five currently confirmed).
Last week, Lebanon County’s Department of Emergency Services introduced a website resource to COVID-19. When LebTown spoke with Bob Dowd, director of emergency services for Lebanon County, on Friday afternoon, March 13, he noted that the page had already been visited by more than 5,400 people as of that afternoon.
The county is collecting information from businesses and organizations that have had a significant change to normal operation as they relate to the public. If you have a public facing business impacted by COVID-19, you can visit the emergency services website or email@example.com or call 717-675-1380 to have that information listed.
“Reporting helps us gather current facility contacts and phone numbers,” said Dowd in an email. “It gives us information that can be used to evaluate economic impact.” Dowd said that the information creates situation awareness for the department and informs recommendations that can be distributed to the public.
The site will not however serve as a resource about confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in the county. “Just because a facility is listed does not indicate that they have had a confirmed or suspected case.”
Locally, WellSpan Health and the Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center (LAVMC) have begun outdoor screening measures. Visitor restrictions are in place at WellSpan Health, LVAMC, and UPMC facilities in the county.
As previously reported, Lebanon Valley College has gone online only until Thursday, April 9. HACC has gone online only through April 5. All public libraries in Lebanon County have also been closed through March 29, with due dates pushed back until after this period. (If you have a library card, you can check out ebooks here.)
Beginning tomorrow, the Cornwall-Lebanon School District will provide breakfast and lunch at no cost for all district students. The district is sending a survey and meal order form to parents, with pickup available at Union Canal Elementary School. In Palmyra, the Caring Cupboard has teamed up with the Palmyra Area School District to provide free meals to school-aged children at the district’s four elementary schools.
Lebanon County Correction Facility has suspended all contact visiting and volunteer programming, with all visitors, attorneys, and law enforcing conducting non-contact visits.
The Lebanon County Department of Emergency Services has closed its doors to all but essential personnel, and the Renova Center has also been closed for visitors. Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging Senior Centers have been closed for two weeks beginning today. Area nursing homes are restricting visitors, due to the extremely high risk associated with those facilities.
County offices have not been closed although the public is encouraged to take advantage of using online or phone services if available. State Sen. Dave Arnold (R-48) has closed his district office in Lebanon County and his office in Harrisburg until further notice. District offices for state Reps. Frank Ryan (R-101) and Russ Diamond (R-102) remain open.
The State of the City address scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, has been moved to an online event with City of Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello giving the annual address starting at 12:15 p.m. Individuals who purchased tickets will be able to pick up their boxed meal in a drive-through line at the Hebron Fire Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, where the live streaming link will be distributed.
Weis has temporarily shut down its Weis 2 Go online ordering and curbside pickup/home delivery programs, citing “overwhelming demand.” It is encouraging customers to use Shipt as an alternative. Weis has limits on items including disinfectant wipes, bath tissue, soap, hand sanitizer, bleach, shelf stable milk, and water.
GIANT Direct has kept its Peapod-powered online ordering service running but noted that it is experiencing shortages and out of stocks on many disinfecting and cleaning products.
The state offers the following guidance on getting tested for COVID-19, although generally speaking any tests will need to be coordinated through a physician as commercial labs are not accepting “walk-in” appointments for COVID-19 testing and you should call ahead to the medical facility to discuss details and needs prior to arrival.
LebTown will continue reporting on COVID-19’s local impact. If there’s something you’d like to know, share it with us using the form below.
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Chris Coyle contributed reporting to this article.
Full Disclosure: WellSpan Health is an advertiser on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.