This webpage will be the single web source for information related to the developing COVID-19 situation as published by Berks County government. It is intended to be a convenient landing point at which those in Berks County can start in order to get more information about the disease, state and federal response, and community preparedness. If needed, as the situation develops, information specific to Berks County and our local communities will be made available at this same location.
The County of Berks offices and services are currently open only to individuals with appointments and to conduct essential business that cannot be postponed or conducted remotely. For the safety and well-being of our staff and residents, individuals that need to come to the County offices are asked to come with the least amount of companions possible.
Before going to any of our offices, please visit us at www.countyofberks.com for the most up-to-date information as it is updated frequently.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this together.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory virus that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new type of the same virus that causes the common cold. It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This can be by getting the microscopic virus into your nose/mouth/eyes when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes in close proximity to you OR by the virus being left on surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and countertops and then transmitted to your nose/mouth/eyes when you touch the surface and then your face.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of, fever, cough and shortness of breath.
How can I protect myself?
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. While public health authorities are working to produce a vaccine, as of March 2020, there is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019.
The best way to avoid exposure is to follow good public health hygiene practices that should be done every day regardless of the existence of this new disease. Things like:
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wash your hand vigorously with soap and water multiple times a day (use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available).
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home/office.
- Practice social distancing. Avoid common practices like handshaking.
- A facemask will do little to nothing to protect you if you are not sick and are just having normal public interactions with others. People hoarding facemasks as a precaution simply reduces the availability for healthcare workers who need them due to working in enclosed spaces and in close proximity to ill people.
What should I do if I am sick?
In addition to continuing to do all of the above:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Consult your physician or an urgent care. Call ahead and describe your symptoms. Use the hospital emergency room and ambulances only for true emergencies.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissue is available, contain your cough or sneeze in the bend of your elbow.
- If one is available, wear a facemask if you are sick and need to go out in public (e.g. travel to the physician).
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces new resource to combat price hiking during COVID-19 outbreak. Shapiro is asking the public to report any instances of price gouging, exploitative, or opportunistic pricing on cleaning products, facemasks, and other sanitizers to email@example.com.
Berks County Specific Updates & Information
Berks County COVID-19 Help Center
Berks County Community Pandemic Plan (A guide developed by the Berks County Department of Emergency Services and the Berks County Pandemic Advisory Council to address community pandemic emergency preparedness, response, and recovery)
Other Resources & Links
Ready.gov (Comprehensive information on emergency preparedness from FEMA)
ReadyPA.gov (Comprehensive information on emergency preparedness from PEMA)
CDC Guidance / COVID-19 (For general information on the COVID-19 Disease)
CDC COVID-19 Current Situation Summary
CDC COVID-19 YouTube Channel
Current List of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases by County in PA
PA Department of Health Coronavirus Information
Johns Hopkins CSSE Coronavirus Disease Global Mapping Tool
Information for Specific Groups & Disciplines
Governor Wolf Extends School Closures Through April 6
Governor Wolf Announces Closure of Pennsylvania Schools
Governor Wolf Orders Closure of All Businesses That Are Not "Life-Sustaining"
Governor Wolf issue Stay at Home order for Berks County effective tonight (3/27/2020) at 8:00 PM. (Here is what it means.)
CDC/DOH Information in Spanish
Filing for Unemployment in Pennsylvania
COVID-19 Financial Assistance