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Health experts weigh in on Monroe County moving to 'yellow' phase on Friday

Monroe County will move into the 'yellow' phase of Governor Tom Wolf's reopening plan on Friday. Health officials say safety guidelines remain key.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — There are 1,305 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Monroe County and 99 deaths.

At the start of the pandemic, this part of the Poconos was one of the hardest-hit places. 

Many patients were treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital Pocono in East Stroudsburg.

Positive case numbers have slowed down significantly over the last few weeks, allowing for some restrictions to be lifted on Friday.

That's when Monroe County moves into the yellow phase of the Governor's reopening plan.

"The many things that we had to adapt and adopt and monitor and do differently so that we were safe for our patients and community we are encouraging those same precautions to be put in place for businesses. So really following the strictest standards that will be safe for the community," said Elizabeth Wise, LVH-Pocono President.

Health officials say it's important for residents and business owners planning to reopen to continue following CDC guidelines: hand washing, wearing a mask, and social distancing continue to be at the forefront of flattening the curve.

We have to keep our guard up, we have to be cautious that although we are moving into the yellow phase it doesn't mean we stop wearing masks, stop having social distancing or otherwise, we will very well be faced with another wave of infections," said Dr. Susheer Gandotra, LVH-Pocono Infectious Disease Director.

The easing of restrictions not only impacts businesses but the hospital, too.

"We are allowing one visitor with a patient. We are also allowing a visitor to birthing, you know birthing partners. What we have not changed on our outpatient side, particularly in our cancer center, we are not allowing visitors with a patient unless they have a need or support system," said Wise.

Lehigh Valley Hospital Pocono health officials say while they hope the transition from "red" to "yellow" and one day "green" goes smoothly, they are prepared just in case numbers start to spike.