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Coronavirus leadership summit held in Wilkes-Barre

Government and health care leaders discussed the many challenges they face in battling coronavirus infections.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A meeting with leaders from many of the hospitals, cities, and agencies who would deal with coronavirus if it started spreading in northeastern Pennsylvania took place Thursday afternoon in Wilkes-Barre

The AllOne Foundation, a health care nonprofit, held the summit to discuss the preparedness of our area to handle the coronavirus and what it can do financially to help.

Leaders from local and state governments, hospitals, schools, and emergency responders joined together at the AllOne Foundation to discuss concerns all of them have about dealing with the coronavirus.

"There seems to be some disparity in advice, lack of clarity. We want to leave here all being on the same page," said John Moses, a chairman for AllOne.

Moses got the director of the Pennsylvania Department of Health on the phone to join in on the conversation.

"In an effort to make sure that we're collaborative in our approach in facing this issue. We want to make sure that there is no panic, but that there is preparedness," Moses said.

The biggest concern for most in the room was communication. Hospitals and health care leaders said the state was helping them with a lot of information, while cities and municipalities said they want to be a part of those conversations.

"Hopefully, after today, we've identified some issues," Moses said. "I'm sure we'll have subsequent meetings in order to determine where we are in that point in time and if anything will be needed."

One takeaway from the summit is that schools will be working together to educate children on how to stay healthy. Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown said last week "Healthy Bear: will be used to spread the message.

AllOne said it will film the assembly so the message can be heard throughout the region.

Testing was a topic of discussion, too. Hospital systems from Wayne, Susquehanna, Luzerne, and Lackawanna Counties all said they had the resources to test people for the virus but only those who meet the criteria.

"We have the availability of testing for those who need it. What we don't have is the availability for testing of everyone who wants it. There's a problem with testing people who aren't sick because if you aren't sick, there's no benefit in testing," said Dr. Gerald Maloney, chief medical officer for Geisinger hospitals.

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