Plum addressing community on coronavirus via Plum Borough TV videos
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 8:41 PM
Plum Mayor Harry Schlegel urged the borough’s residents to take “common-sense precautions” during the coronavirus pandemic while being interviewed by Plum Borough TV for an informational video series production on Tuesday.
The police chief, EMS director, YMCA director, the manager and the mayor all spent time on-camera addressing how the coronavirus has affected operations within the borough. The videos will be posted to the borough’s YouTube channel and run continuously on Comcast 19 and Verizon 29.
Schlegel said using common sense means “wash your hands,” stay away from the ill and stay away from others if you’re sick.
Schlegel, 73, urged Plum’s senior residents to keep active during this time. Even if it means going up and down their stairs at home.
“Don’t sit around and vegetate,” he said, adding seniors should continue to socialize via online media or phones to deal with anxiety.
As of Tuesday, there were a total of 96 covid-19 cases in Pennsylvania. There are seven cases in Allegheny County, two in Washington County and one in Beaver County.
The new coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19, is contagious and may be transmitted by people who do not show symptoms. While infected people may recover after suffering a fever and cough, the disease is most dangerous to older people with existing health problems. The fatality rate may be 10 times greater than the flu, and higher for people over 60.
There is no vaccine against this new coronavirus. Infection rates have been shown to rise rapidly, as in Italy, overwhelming hospitals.
Washington state has the highest U.S. death rate at 50. In the United States, the death toll was 101, with a total of 6,423 cases as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins. Globally, 7,886 deaths have been reported and nearly 200,000 confirmed infections, according to Johns Hopkins. More than 80,000 have been reported recovered.
Manager Mike Thomas said the borough building along New Texas Road will close to the public for two weeks starting at 5 p.m. March 17. However, if visitors need to conduct business with the borough, they will be permitted to do so by appointment only.
Thomas said many borough staff will work remotely. The borough’s website has a portal to contact any staff member.
The borough also has a hotline to call with questions and concerns about covid-19. That number is 412-712-1008.
EMS personnel will continue to work, said Operations Director Brian Maloney. If there is a surge of covid-19 in Plum, Maloney said the borough is prepared to add more staff and utilize mutual aid agreements with neighboring communities.
“We want everyone to know that if they call us with flu-like symptoms, to expect us when we show up, we’ll be a couple minutes outside the house getting geared up. We’re going to be walking into the house with gowns, with masks, with headcovers, double gloved,” Maloney said.
He also encouraged people to not be offended if emergency personnel stand back up to 10 feet to avoid exposure to the contagious virus. He said EMS staff will also provide those people with surgical masks if needed.
Plum police will also continue to be fully staffed, said Chief Lanny Conley.
He said patrol officers have also been provided surgical masks, goggles and gloves to use if they are needed when coming into contact with someone suspected of having covid-19. Also, the department’s patrol cars have been professionally disinfected.
Karen Hochberg, executive director of Plum Community Center, said the center will be closed until April 3. The Meals on Wheels program will still be operational on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she said. The center will also have “Grab ‘n Go” lunches available those days. Call 412-795-2330 for more information.
The Sampson Family YMCA has closed through March 29.
Council President Dave Odom said the borough will hold a virtual meeting through Microsoft Teams on Tuesday night, where additional departmental heads will give council members and the public “operational updates.”
“We were going to have this meeting in person tonight at council chambers, but then officials said yesterday to limit it to 10 people,” Odom said.
White House officials said in a press briefing Monday to avoid traveling and to limit gatherings to 10 people or less.
A video of council’s meeting Tuesday will be available for the public to view on its YouTube channel.