Dauphin County prepares for potential coronavirus cases, develops online resource for residents

HARRISBURG, PA (March 4, 2020) - Dauphin County commissioners and public safety officials are taking steps to monitor the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and prevent its transmission.  The county is working with local, state and federal partners to share information on COVID-19 and prepare for a response to it in an expedited and coordinated manner.

“Protecting the public and our employees is our top concern, and that’s why we’re preparing now,” said Commissioner Mike Pries, who oversees the county’s Department of Public Safety.  “This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we are ready to make decisions and take actions to protect the public if the need arises.”

Dauphin County’s Department of Public Safety, as a leading member of the South Central PA Regional Task Force, has been monitoring COVID-19 reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. County leaders have been participating in regular conference calls about the outbreak, which originated in China and has proven deadly in several countries, including the United States.  

Although no cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, county officials are preparing for the possibility of COVID-19 cases to occur locally.

“We have plans in place for emergencies like a pandemic to make sure the essential services provided by county government continue,” said Board Chairman Jeff Haste. “Our effort has been one of measured caution and preparedness.”

The county has developed an online resource at www.DauphinCounty.org to keep residents updated on coronavirus prevention and spread, as well as the county’s preparation and response.

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

Residents can protect themselves by taking everyday precautions, such as handwashing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a mask to protect themselves. Facemasks should be used by those who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

“We will continue to issue additional updates as needed,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “We’re taking the proper precautions and encouraging residents to be aware and stay informed.”

For the latest information on COVID-19 in the United States, visit www.cdc.gov.