Today, U.S. Representative Scott Perry (PA-10), Penn State Health, and the PA Department of Health updated local leaders on coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, and its continued spread in the United States. The interactive meeting was attended by over 150 local officials including health care providers, hospital leaders, school health and safety directors, first responders, county commissioners, township supervisors, state elected officials, and business leaders.
"Protecting the health and safety of our community is my top priority. The spread of COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, particularly as health officials learn more about this new virus. The best way to combat the spread of COVID-19 is through the free exchange of reliable, accurate information. I was privileged to join medical experts from Penn State Health and the PA Department of Health to brief our local community leaders on the virus and to clear up any misunderstandings. I thank Penn State Health for their ongoing efforts to share timely information with our community. I look forward to continuing to work together as a community to address the challenges of this outbreak," said Congressman Scott Perry.
"We value the opportunity to gather with other stakeholders from the communities we serve to discuss how we're all responding to COVID-19, and to share the plans our health system has to manage patients while safeguarding them, hospital visitors, health care workers and the community at large," said Dr. Cynthia Whitener, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. "By working together, we will all be better prepared."
The meeting kicked off with a briefing from Rep. Perry on the Federal Government’s response to COVID-19. Last week, Perry supported a bipartisan emergency supplemental appropriations package that provided $7.8 billion for the U.S. response to coronavirus. These funds will be used to make diagnostic tests more broadly available, invest in vaccine development, and support state and local response efforts. Perry also discussed the ongoing initiatives to keep a strong line of communication between federal agencies - including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - and state and local officials.
Following Perry’s remarks, PA Department of Health Policy Director Kimberly Early provided an update on our State’s COVID-19 preparedness. Penn State Health medical experts including Dr. Cynthia Whitener and Dr. Catharine Paules, both of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, as well as Dr. Wallace Greene of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine then provided a briefing on the COVID-19 respiratory disease and testing for the virus. The event concluded with questions from the audience.
For more information on COVID-19 and the federal response to the outbreak, please visit www.cdc.gov.