Pennsylvania residents and Republican lawmakers have long criticized Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine because they felt like Wolf and Levine weren’t treating citizens like adults during the pandemic shutdown and continuing mitigation. 

Critics argue the administration’s mitigation was and in some cases remains too strict, eliminating personal choice and personal responsibility from the equation.

Levine said this week she does not foresee another shutdown even as cases rise. That’s good to hear.

It is up to us to make sure that any lessening of restrictions Wolf and Levine don’t turn into months and months of problems because of carelessness and selfishness.

The commonwealth is trending in the wrong direction in some key metrics regarding COVID-19. Hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the last few weeks.

The number of patients on ventilators, and the positivity test rate are also up. Cases continue to rise by four-digits daily, with 12 consecutive days of at least 1,000 new cases, the longest stretch since the first two weeks in April.

In a press conference last week, Levine said we are at the start of the fall resurgence experts expected.

The Valley has not been immune to this recent surge in cases. Bolstered by increases at congregate facilities — nursing homes and prisons — in all four counties, the case totals are rising. Northumberland County has had more than 30 deaths in the first three weeks of October after having fewer than 70 over the first six months of the pandemic.

Because of the aggressive approach Pennsylvania has taken — including most Valley residents following commonsense guidance of wearing masks, social distancing and crowd limits — Levine said Pennsylvania is in a better spot than it was in March and April. It allows for some more personal freedoms.

“With a contact tracing program in place, increased supplies of personal protective equipment, and a sufficient number of hospital beds at the ready — and state officials do not intend to impose another statewide stay-at-home order or broad-based business shutdown at this time,” Levine said.

“It’s impossible for me to predict the future, but again, we’re in a much better place than we were in the spring.”

Restaurants, if certified, can host more customers, up to 50 percent capacity. Larger crowds are permitted at sports, both indoor and outdoor. 

Clearly, we are not ready to return to pre-March lives. State leaders are trusting us to do the right things.

That means wearing masks, practicing social distancing and proper hygiene, all the protections we’ve heard for months.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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