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Rural way of life keeps Sullivan County COVID-19 free

Residents said they don't practice social distancing; they live it.

LAPORTE, Pa. — Sullivan County is among the counties in Pennsylvania that remains free of the coronavirus.

The latest numbers from the Pennsylvania Department of Health website shows the county has no confirmed positive cases.

Take a ride on most routes running through Sullivan County and you'll see there are more trees than homes. And the fact that this is a very rural county is the reason many living here believe the coronavirus outbreak has to show up.

“I'm relieved, I guess, I don't know if I'm surprised,” said Cole Kitchen from Laporte. “I think things take a little longer to get up here in general. So, I'm not overly surprised but I guess I'd say I'm pretty relieved.”

The latest information from the state health department's website shows there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in Sullivan County, making it one of more than a dozen counties in Pennsylvania to remain COVID-19 free.

At the county courthouse in Laporte, County Commissioner Brian Hoffman says the rural way of life is quite similar to social distancing.

“We are sparsely populated. We don't have a lot of clustered communities,” said Hoffman. “We have a few but not like outside counties.”

According to the county commissioners, aside from the library, most of the county offices are still operational at this time, they are just not open to the public.

People are asked to call county offices rather than come to them and cleaning of county buildings has increased.

Across from the courthouse, the Laporte Cafe and Trading Post is open for take-out only.

Worker Pamela Saxon says she's surprised the infection hasn't popped up here.

“Especially, with all the city folks coming to stay in their cabins and stuff like that, I am very surprised that it hasn't hit us yet,” said Saxon.

The owner of Marybeth's Westside Deli in Dushore is also take-out only. She's not surprised COVID-19 isn't here but fears it won't be that way for long.

“Sullivan County's in the middle of nowhere, everyone will tell you that,” said Marybeth Minier. “But we do have a lot of out-of-towners that are coming into our county.”