Toomey, Smucker Roundtable Focuses on Vast Hospital Capacity, Decreasing Cases in Central Pennsylvania
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, and U.S. Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa. 11th) convened a virtual roundtable today on the issue of safely reopening Pennsylvania's economy.
The full video is available for you to watch here.
"It's been my view, for some time now, that Pennsylvania is ready to reopen," said Senator Toomey during the roundtable. "Our governor, of course, has taken some modest steps. I think by our rough estimates, more than half of Pennsylvania is still effectively in a lockdown, and I think it is time we move this along. But that's what I wanted to discuss today."
"We are, as you mentioned, seeing leveling off of new cases across the commonwealth and the beginning of a decline," said Congressman Smucker. "We are at the point where we can turn our minds to reopening our economy safely and responsibly."
"As of this morning, we have successfully treated and released more than 175 confirmed COVID-19 patients from our hospitals in Hershey and Reading," said Steve Massini, CEO of Penn State Health. "And approximately 23 patients still occupy beds in our facilities. The interesting point to make is, at the level of 23 patients in our hospital today, that is a 50 percent decrease from our high point of 51 patients in mid-April. Again, we've had a continued decrease."
Lancaster County Commissioner Joshua Parsons said the county's emergency response team has been pushing PPE out to nursing homes, and that the county "used the CARES Act money to create strike teams to do decontamination within the nursing homes for them. Go out, do deep cleaning with contractors, whichever nursing homes want that, we're providing that."
"Our employees are our biggest asset. Some of them have been with us for 40 years, and they are truly our family," said Tonia Ulsh, Co-Owner and COO of Mountz Jewelers. "We would never bring anyone into an environment that we didn't feel was safe, just like we wouldn't with the rest of our families in our homes. We want to get back to work and support our community."
"Our business, currently, is at 95 percent loss in wholesale revenue," said Reverend Georgette Morgan-Thomas. "Because we are a small hat factory, we actually make all of our hats here in Pennsylvania on site in our factory. And we have currently six full-time employees and three part-time employees, and four contract employees."
A panel provided insight and answered questions from Senator Toomey and Congressman Smucker. Members of that panel were:
- Steve Massini - CEO of Penn State Health (Hershey)
- Reverend Georgette Morgan-Thomas - Owner of American Hats LLC (Philadelphia)
- Joshua Parsons - Chairman of the Lancaster County Commissioners
- Tonia Ulsh - Co-Owner and COO of Mountz Jewelers (Camp Hill, Carlisle, and Harrisburg
- An estimated 80,000 cancer diagnoses will be missed or delayed by June
- An estimated 100,000 small businesses have already closed permanently
- More than 60 percent of Pennsylvania small businesses believe they are at risk of closing in the next five months