Presumed positive: As people ask ‘where?,’ county continues stressing precaution

Bradford County Commissioners Doug McLinko, Daryl Miller, and Ed Bustin are pictured via a screen capture of their livestreamed meeting Thursday.

After Bradford County’s first presumed positive case of COVID-19 came to light earlier this week, Bradford County Commissioners faced concerns Thursday morning about where this person with the positive case might live or work.

Many of these questions came from the comments section of the BC Commissioners Facebook page, which featured a live streamed meeting in light of the closure of the courthouse to the general public as a precautionary measure to help prevent the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. The meeting was held before an update from the Pennsylvania Department of Health showed a second case of COVID-19 in Bradford County.

Although the commissioners said they don’t have any more information than the general public as far as identity, they stressed that the public should be acting with an abundance of caution anyway.

“We have to conduct our daily lives as if our next door neighbor does have it,” said Commissioner Chairman Daryl Miller. “We just have to do the things that we know are preventative and in our own best interest.”

Commissioner Doug McLinko added that there could be several people walking around with the coronavirus who might not even exhibit symptoms.

These preventative measures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include regularly washing hands, avoiding close contact with those who are sick or others if sickness is in the community, self isolation if sick, and the regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces.

Commissioner Ed Bustin said he doesn’t need to know who the positive case is “because I’m not going to put myself into a situation where I’m in close contact with somebody other than my family.” Above all, he said it’s up to the individual to disclose their health status. However, in the case that a person with a positive test is in a position where they have contact with a lot of people, he added, “I think it is important that they disclose that information.”

Following the lead of a number of federal lawmakers who have disclosed their infections and self-quarantined, McLinko said he would do the same.

Meanwhile, the commissioners maintained confidence in the capabilities of the area’s medical facilities in doing what they can to address the pandemic, and said the public needs to do what they can as well.

Officials highlighted the measures that have been taken at the courthouse since it was closed to the public last week, which include allowing more than 100 workers to work remotely, continual cleaning, and making sanitizing stations easily accessible throughout the building.

“This is a joint venture,” Bustin noted.

In other related business, commissioner voted to close county parks to camping until at least May 15 due to COVID-19 concerns. Those who have reserved their spot for the season ahead of time will be able to get a prorated reimbursement or can cancel and be reimbursed for the whole season, if desired.

Those with questions are asked to call the county commissioners office at (570) 265-1727.

Connect with Matt: (570) 265-2151 ext. 1628; mhicks@thedailyreview.com; Facebook @Matt Hicks Daily Review.