March 19, 2020
Chester County will provide Delaware County, which does not have a health department, with health services to mitigate the spread of coronavirus for the duration of the outbreak, officials from both counties announced Thursday.
The agreement was approved by Delaware County officials on Wednesday before being officially unveiled on Thursday, the Delaware County Daily Times reported. The state has also approved the partnership, as well.
Some of the services that Chester County will provide for its neighbors to the southeast include expanded testing for COVID-19, case investigation and surveillance, quarantine designations, daily monitoring of emergency room occupancy in hospitals, and a public call center.
Delaware County will be required to pay 30% of all unreimbursed coronavirus costs that Chester County absorbs while serving both counties.
Delaware County is the only county in the Philadelphia region that does not have a health department. As a result, the county doesn’t know who its residents are that have tested positive for the virus, where they live, or how many people have been tested. The state health department currently has that information.
Conversations between officials from both counties began last week, and Chester County determined it had the resources available to take on Delaware County’s needs. The two sides agreed to the partnership this past Saturday, Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz said on Thursday.
“Our priority is to make sure our citizens remain safe and healthy,” Moskowitz said. “Partnerships are an extremely important part of our focus. Delaware and Chester counties have a long history of working together and supporting each other in times of need, especially when it comes to public safety and public health.”
Delaware County officials said it will take approximately 18-24 months to establish a health department in the county, but they are currently waiting for approval from the state.
Pennsylvania currently has 185 positive cases of coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, with one death occurring thus far in the state as a result of COVID-19. The vast majority of cases in Pennsylvania have popped up in the Philadelphia region, with 14 cases so far in Delaware County and 10 in Chester County. Montgomery County has 37 coronavirus cases and Philadelphia has 33.