BUCKS COUNTY, PA — Bucks County is expected to move into the green phase of coronavirus mitigation on June 26, provided there isn't a spike in new COVID-19 cases between now and then, according to local lawmakers and officials.
Sen. Steve Santarsiero, during an online town hall Friday, said he had spoken to the governor's office that day. Officials with the governor's office told Santarsiero "provided that current trends in the cases of COVID-19 continue where they are here in Bucks County," it will go to green on that date.
"Many of us had hoped it would be a week earlier," Santarsiero acknowledged, but state health officials "are taking this week and next week to evaluate."
State Rep. John Galloway also cited June 26 as the date the county would go green, according to a news release from Bucks County.
Bucks County, currently in the yellow phase, is meeting four out of four metrics on a state Department of Health chart showing requirements to move the plan's next stage.
On Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced eight more counties have been designated for the green phase on June 19. Those counties are Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike, and Schuylkill.
Wolf clashed with Harrisburg lawmakers last week, after both the House and the Senate approved a measure calling on the governor to rescind the disaster emergency for coronavirus. Wolf said he will not be recalling the disaster order, which he says is necessary for various programs, including a relaxation of unemployment compensation rules and school meal programs.
Meanwhile, he has defended the state's reopening strategy. In a statement issued Friday, Wolf said Pennsylvania’s "measured, phased process to reopen is successful" because it relies on science and the advice of health experts. “We will continue to move forward cautiously," Wolf said.
As of Saturday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is reporting 78,462 cases of coronavirus. There have been 6,211 total deaths from the virus.
In Bucks County, 485 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died, while 2,226 are confirmed to have recovered.