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Pa. Sen. Corman Fields Questions on COVID-19, Gov. Wolf Gives State Control Over Supplies

State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman sitting in the WPSU radio studio
Min Xian

State Senator Jake Corman fielded questions on COVID-19 during a telephone town hall Wednesday, pushing back on parts of Gov. Tom Wolf’s response to the pandemic.

Wolf signed an order Wednesday allowing the state to transfer personal protective equipment and other medical supplies from one health care provider to another that needs them.


“This will allow us to move key equipment, like personal protective equipment and ventilators to high population, high impact areas," Wolf said.


He said it also will prevent a patient from trying to decide which hospital to go to based on what supplies they have. 


Corman, a Republican and Senate majority leader, said everyone wants to chip in to communities being inundated if there’s a shortage of supplies.


“But at the same time, when the surge does come to central or western Pennsylvania, we want to make sure we have the supplies that we need to treat the patients here locally," Corman said.


Corman also said Wolf has been inconsistent when deciding which businesses are considered essential and can stay open.


“It’s frustrating for the small business person," Corman said. "They might have three or four people in a shop in a couple hours and are closed. Where a Walmart, which is listed as essential because it has a grocery store, is open. And there are hundreds and hundreds of people there and could be very easily spreading the virus.”


Corman said that’s been the most difficult part in dealing with the situation. Wolf’s current stay-at-home order lasts until April 30.


Corman along with three officials fielded calls for an hour on questions ranging from whether communities should plan to cancel or reschedule summer events to who qualifies for unemployment.


The state also added a dashboard to its COVID-19 website that shows how many hospital beds and other supplies are available in each county in the state.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.
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