Erie County charts a total of 15 COVID-19 cases; county officials expect tally to rise

    The Erie, Pa. skyline (Capital-Star photo by Hannah McDonald)

    ERIE, Pa. — Two more people have COVID-19 in Erie County, County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said Monday, bringing the county’s total confirmed cases to 15. 

    Of the new cases, one patient is in their 50s,the other in their 60s. They are in isolation at home, Dahlkemper said. 

    Dahlkemper addressed the extent to which Erie County residents are complying to social distancing guidelines. She referenced a scorecard created by Unacast, which is being used to determine how well individuals are adhering (or not) to social distancing. 

    Dahlkemper also spoke on initiatives in the Erie area to help keep children entertained and engaged throughout the pandemic. One such initiative is a social distancing Egg Hunt, “where kids decorate and hang paper eggs in their front windows. And then people can count how many eggs they see along their walk,” Dahlkemper said.

    On March 16, all non-essential businesses were ordered to close. Since then, many people have begun their two weeks of self isolation to ensure that they themselves were not carriers of COVID-19. 

    “If you have self-quarantine for 14 days — or you’re almost there at 14 days — thank you …. And once you get to the end …  you still need to socially distance, that doesn’t change,” Dahlkemper told the Capital-Star. But now you can go outside and take a walk, go for a bike ride, go to the grocery store … using your good personal hygiene practices and staying socially distant from others.”

    Erie officials expect to see a rise in confirmed positive cases in the county this week. Dahlkemper said this is because, “of the increased testing that has been going on now as both Allegheny Health Network and UPMC have their offsite testing open, more people are getting tested than there were.”

    Dahlkemper has no estimate of when the situation will be over, but said, “We asked you to make the sacrifice now so we can sooner get back to a sense of routine.”

    Correspondent Hannah McDonald covers Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania for the Capital-Star.