WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — Counties across our region have faced challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic by having to rely on the Pennsylvania Department of Health for information and resources.
When issues come up on the ground, from testing to the vaccine rollout, there is limited local control. On Tuesday afternoon, county commissioners from seven counties will gather virtually to discuss a regional health department.READ MORE: PPG Paints Arena Welcomes Back Pittsburgh Penguins Fans
It’s an idea that surfaced about a year ago, but Washington County is taking charge to get the ball rolling. The officials invited to the table include commissioners from Washington, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Greene, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.
The meeting will be the first formal gathering to discuss what responsibilities a potential regional health department takes on.
Beaver County Commissioner Dan Camp told KDKA during the pandemic, these counties have relied on the state. The Allegheny County Health Department has the ability to host its own vaccine clinics and target certain areas.READ MORE: 2 Flown To Hospital After Multi-Vehicle Crash In Westmoreland County
These leaders want to bring that type of control to their communities.
“There would be a lot of planning, decision making. It’s going to be a financial burden on each county. I believe it’s something we should at least have an option to look at if it’s something that can benefit our residents and we are able to do it. I’m all for it,” Camp said.
Camp said local leaders had almost no input when the pandemic first hit despite being the ones on the ground.MORE NEWS: As People Struggle To Secure Unemployment Benefits, Prosecutors Say Fraud Is Widespread
KDKA will bring you more information following the meeting on Tuesday.