Berks County Courthouse in Reading

READING, Pa. - Any impact the coronavirus has locally remains to be seen, but Berks County officials said Friday that they are "closely watching" the illness's emerging threat.

County leaders sent a "memo of care and precautions" to all department heads, providing them with recommended direction to mitigate the impact of the virus should it make its way to Berks.

"The organizational departments in county government are extremely diverse and we are working with every department to allow for a serious but measured review of our workplace situation," said Ronald R. Seaman, the county's chief administrative officer.

The county's areas of preparedness, according to Seaman, include:

  • Workforce and workspace plans and procedures
  • Managing public access if necessary
  • Evaluation of critical materials we use in the course of doing County business, including personal protective equipment (PPE), training and occupational use

Seaman said the county is also interfacing with federal and state authorities as well as local partners to ensure everyone's safety and well-being, but many preventative steps can be taken by individuals themselves.

"As residents of Berks County, we can all provide education about good hygiene and practice general infection control measures (hand washing, not touching face, cough etiquette, etc.), and social distancing," Seaman said. "Hold these discussions at home, with family and friends, and at work. Ask that they to do the same."

The list of countries hit by the illness, known as COVID-19, edged toward 60 as Mexico, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Iceland and the Netherlands reported their first cases.

Sixty cases have been confirmed in the United States.

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