Montgomery County, PA COVID-19 Press Conference – May 14, 2020

good afternoon everybody this is Dr. Val Arkoosh welcome to our press briefing for Wednesday May the 14th since our press briefing yesterday afternoon we have had 143 new cases of covid19 reported in Montgomery County which brings us to a total of five thousand five hundred and twenty three cases today eighty-eight of the 143 cases are from long-term care facilities one is from the Norristown State Hospital and 54 are from the community these positive individuals are from 31 municipalities one of which is reporting a new case this means that all 62 of our Montgomery County municipalities are now home to individuals with covid19 these individuals range in age from 14 years old to 99 years old and as always you can check our County maps at for updated municipal maps today there were 77 females and 66 males none are known to be hospitalized 14 are known to be at home in isolation and 129 we do not have direct information about I am also saddened to confirm that 11 more Montgomery County residents have lost their lives to covid19 which brings us to 454 deaths confirmed positive from covid19 four passed away in a hospital four in a long-term care facility or home and three are unknown they ranged in age from 54 years old to 97 years old overall we have now had 251 females and 203 males that have lost their lives to covid19 in terms of the racial breakdown of these individuals 12 are known to be Asian three Asian Indian three Asian Korean 43 African American or black 115 white and 272 that we do not have information on in terms of probable deaths and as a reminder these are individuals who have covid19 as the cause of death on their death certificate but we do not have a confirming lab result we have 202 total probable deaths today so adding to our confirmed positive that takes us to 656 as you know this probable number changes from day to day as some of these individuals we do receive lab results for that confirms or disproves that they died from covid19 and we that they are confirmed we move that into the confirmed positive count our hospital beds are stable today we still have individuals numbering in the high 200s hospitalized in Montgomery County hospitals with 32% of those individuals requiring ventilators at our long-term care facilities today we have 93 facilities that are reporting cases of covid19 among staff and residents overall since they began this self reporting our long-term care facilities have reported 1610 cases among residents and 597 cases among staff which brings us to a total of two thousand two hundred and seven positive cases just as a reminder not all of these individuals are Montgomery County residents and so they don’t necessarily contribute to our total number of cases but we do continue to track and report this to you just to keep you abreast of what remains a significant challenge in many of our long-term care facilities today we have

398 of the 454 confirmed positive deaths of Montgomery County residents from long-term care facilities that calculates to 88 percent of the total confirmed positive deaths are from long-term care facilities we continue with outreach to these facilities our field assessment and support teams have made about 70 visits at this point to facilities they are beginning to do some return visits to just reinforce and answered additional questions check in see how things are going we continue to recommend testing at these facilities of both residents and of staff we believe that this is the easiest way to get a handle on the possible disease within a facility and allows the facility to separate patients and staff in a very evidence driven way the update from our Correctional Facility today is that everything remains stable that all inmates that have tested positive for the coronavirus are currently stable and I believe at this point without symptoms our community testing sites continue to do well our Norristown site was open today and will be open again tomorrow at the Delaware Valley Community Health Center in Norristown I want to again thank Dr. Scott McNeil and Dr. Julia DeJoseph for their wonderful partnership in this effort to make an appointment for the Norristown testing site which will be open tomorrow please call starting at 8:30 a.m tomorrow morning 610-592-0680 the testing will be available between 11:00 and 1:00 they will be closed for the weekend they will be closed Saturday and Sunday and just a reminder that this testing is for residents of the municipality of Norristown our Montgomery County Community College drive-thru site which is open to everyone is also open and running smoothly today they will be open tomorrow they will be closed on Saturday for a safety stand-down and open on Sunday this weekend for the dates of April the 16th to May the 11th we have now tested four thousand eight hundred and seventy-one individuals we’ve received results on four thousand seven hundred and sixteen which represents 97 percent of the total 652 of these individuals are positive so for the 21 days that the Community College site has been up and running we are now running thirteen point eight percent positive the appointments for tomorrow Friday will open at 8 a.m. appointments can be made at by clicking on the green county testing information button you can also call 610-631-3000 beginning at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning and make an appointment by phone if need be and again just a reminder the site will be closed on Saturday this weekend and open on Sunday I’ve made this announcement a few times this week but just want to make sure everyone hears it that the rite aid in Lansdale located at 1856 North Broad Street is now available for no cost testing for anyone who is over 18 years of age appointments can be scheduled online at so today back by popular request we have our latest positivity graph that shows each day of testing at both of our drive-through testing sites our original testing site in Upper Dublin that ran for about a month and then we had a gap there where we did not have a site up and then our current site in Whitpain at the Montgomery County Community College and this graph shows the number of people that tested positive on that I’m sorry it shows the percent of people that tested positive on that particular day of testing you can see that we are

finally starting to have a downward trend I’m very very excited to be able to show this to you today I want to emphasize that this downward trend is the result of the many personal sacrifices that so many of you have made over these last weeks and that it’s taken time to get to this point where there is a downward trend and how important it is that we continue to sit tight and maintain this social distancing so that we can continue this trend because given the amount of virus that is still in our midst it would be very easy for this trend to reverse so to give you an example of what this could look like the black dashed line represents the 14 day average of positive individuals from the community college test site that’s over 14 days running 13.3% of the people that were tested on any given day the average of that is 13.3% are positive testing positive for the past 14 days now that red line that shoots toward the sky would represent what could happen if we practice no social distancing at all so under that scenario one person infects two and a half people and in five days we can be up to a positivity rate of thirty three percent of the people that comes through the site on any given day so that quick in a week or so we can be really quickly seeing a large increase in the number of cases the Green Line which points down represents what happens if we continue our social distancing under that scenario we assume that one person infects 0.6 people so in other words very little spread in five days under this trajectory we could be down to a positivity rate of eight point three percent so this is great news we are absolutely moving in the right direction but we need to stay the course so I just want to give everybody hope everything that they’re doing is starting to really make a difference and the more that we can stay physically apart the quicker these lines will continue to calm down and that just brings me to our next graphic this is the same graphic that we showed yesterday but we got a lot of positive feedback about it so I just wanted to bring it up again today and remind everyone that I think there’s been a little bit of a misunderstanding on who is getting the corona virus in Montgomery County I think there’s been so much discussion about long-term care facilities that we may have lost track of the fact that this virus is being is impacting every single age group in our community note that the most frequent age bracket is 50 to 59 the second most is 60 to 69 and the third most is 30 to 39 if we add some of these brackets together we have more individuals in the 20 and 30 year old brackets than we do in the 70 and 80 year old brackets we add these numbers together we’ve 1271 20 and 30 year olds and we’ve got 1243 70 and 80 year olds so I just want to put that up as a reminder that it could be you you could be one of the people that is relatively young and healthy and carrying the virus that have no symptoms and so it’s so important that when you go out first you minimize those trips and and really try to keep it to essential errands or essential work that when you’re out you wear a mask which could protect someone near you if you are a carrier and you don’t know it and that you follow all the guidelines for social distancing that are present in stores and other places and of course remember to wash your hands and be very careful about what you touch try not to touch your face when you’ve had contact with things outside of your home and this matters because of that second graph which shows the the number of people in each age bracket that have died from covid19 so it is absolutely correct that older individuals are much more likely to die from covid19 and so I just want to reinforce how important it is that everybody consider the possibility they have this virus that they’re carrying this virus and that they could be

contagious and if you happen to give this virus to an older member of our community the consequences could be quite serious so keep up the good work we’re moving in the right direction we just have to hang in there for a little bit longer use this time to plan what’s gonna be next for you and we will get through this thing for sure and with that I’m going to turn over to Commissioner Lawrence good afternoon I wanted to provide an update on round two of the MontCo Strong small business grant program which was open yesterday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m for applications the program received approximately 2,900 applications requesting 29 point three million dollars in grant awards this is nearly double the amount of applications we received in round one we received 1520 applications 80% of the applicants indicated gross revenues of less than $1,000,000 there is one application from each of the 62 municipalities in Montgomery County and 87% of the businesses have operated for three or more years five municipalities with the most applications were Montgomery Township Lower Merion Township Abington Township Upper Merion Township and Cheltenham Township 49% of the applicants identified as minority or women-owned business enterprises and four percent identified as veteran owned businesses 48% of these businesses are partially operating and 35 percent of the applicants said their businesses are fully shut down 68 percent of the applicants indicated they were awarded Small Business Administration loans paycheck protection program funds or economic injury disaster loans and just to remind you this program is being funded with five million dollars in economic funds and some of that is coming from the Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund chaired by former County Commissioner Tom Ellis so we want to thank them for their support and we like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the redevelopment authority of Montgomery County for their continued partnership with our Department of Commerce on this program reviewing applicants and the scoring of applications will start immediately and awardees could be started to be notified as early as the middle of next week and with that I’ll turn it over to Commissioner Gale thank you good afternoon everyone this is Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale thank you for tuning in today Pennsylvania’s failed response to the corona virus has been the subject of national media and rightfully so there is no question that governor wolf and secretary Levine have been a complete and utter failure since this pandemic began adding insult to the injury they have inflicted upon the residents and businesses of Pennsylvania governor wolf and secretary Levine have been blatant hypocrites in their response when the corona virus outbreak began dr. Levine relocated her 95 year old mother out of a long-term care facility yet in March secretary Levine and governor wolf ordered that nursing homes must admit medically stable residents infected with the corona virus they actually ordered nursing homes to admit covid19 infected patients into those communities at the time the American Health Care Association warned that such negligent action would put frail and elderly people at risk and would in the long run result in more people going to the hospital and more deaths and that is exactly what happened nearly 70 percent of the deaths in Pennsylvania are from long-term care facilities over 80% of the deaths in Montgomery County are from long-term care facilities it should not have been this way it did not have to be this way even worse dr. Levine knew that long-term care facilities were unsafe and would be compromised by ordering the facilities to admit residents infected with covid19 that’s why she moved her very own mother out of a personal care facility instead of quarantining the infected residents of nursing homes governor Wolf’s quarantine the healthy residents of Pennsylvania with the draconian stay at home order in addition the investigative journalists at spotlight PA revealed that the state government had an early plan for protecting nursing homes from the corona virus but it was never fully implemented again a failure of the State Health Department to take appropriate action to properly protect

the health and the safety of all Pennsylvanians and with that I’ll turn it over to you to take questions from the press not any questions today wait thank you – Megan is here interpreting for us today [Staff] we have a question we have two questions from Deanna Durante from NBC 10 she says regarding long-term care facilities many times during the briefings it was said that those facilities do not answer to the county and are state regulated yet the responsibility to get Montgomery County numbers down appears to rest on the shoulders of the county should the state have or do you think the state should have acted faster in stocking facilities with supplies [Commissioner] so I’ve spoken a little bit about this before these facilities are licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and they were these facilities were not something that our County Health Department at the beginning of the pandemic was particularly focused on because we did have an assumption that the Pennsylvania Department of Health would be working with them along with the hospital and health system Association of Pennsylvania often refer to as HAP which most of them are also members of so as time went by we began to get increasing number of phone calls to our EMS agencies and they were noting to us that they were transporting an unusually large number of these residents to hospitals and so that’s when we got more directly involved when we started to realize that while the PA DOH was providing phone support to some of these places they were not able to provide in-person support so we communicated all of this with PA DOH we let them know what we were seeing on the ground we did get a pretty substantial shipment of personal protective equipment from PA DOH for these long-term care facilities and we began to work with the facilities to get to fulfill their requests for PPE and then shortly after that we decided to form these fast teams that could go in and provide support and we’re there we’re just there to help we do not have regulatory authority over these institutions we have been recommending for several weeks that they test all of their residents and staff fully acknowledging that they need to have a backup staffing plan in place in order to do that and I am hopeful that those visits have really helped to make a difference that we’re starting to see some better situations in many of the facilities many of them are starting to test now which allows them to properly cohort their residents and make sure that staff are at home who are positive so you know we’re making progress and you know we’ve been we’ve been very happy that we’ve been able to assist these facilities [Staff] there’s a question from Jim Melwert from KYW he says the governor says he’s hopeful he can make an announcement tomorrow about more counties moving to the yellow phase have you heard if southeastern pennsylvania could be in that group and is there any reason to think Montgomery County could be included [Commissioner] I have not heard that any County in southeastern Pennsylvania would be in that group I don’t think any of us are that close to any of the metrics that the governor’s previously outlined no more questions okay all right well thank you so much everybody and we will see you tomorrow at 3:00