Released: January 27, 2021
Delaware County Council, joined by County staff, elected leaders from across the county, Yeadon Borough Officials, members of the Delaware County Health Department Steering Committee, and various members of the community officially opened the Delaware County Wellness Center on Jan. 27.
The Delaware County Wellness Center, located in Yeadon is now serving as a vaccine storage site, a vaccination site, and a COVID-19 testing site for Delaware County. The 11,235 square foot Wellness Center will also begin to transition into a clinical space for the future Delaware County Health Department.
With more than 565,000 residents, Delaware County is the largest county, not only in Pennsylvania but in the entire country, without a County Health Department.
Over the past year, County Council has worked to create a County Health Department and has accomplished significant progress, including opening up the Delaware County Wellness Center.
“We have made enormous progress since we officially began this process a year ago, and that is a testament to the hard work of those inside and outside of government who have assisted us,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “In the coming months, we will continue to aggressively move forward with our timeline and plans to launch the Delaware County Health Department in January 2022, just a year from now!”
During the opening ceremony, Dr. Taylor outlined the timeline for the Delaware County Health Department.
A few days after the November 2019 election, Dr. Taylor and the new Council Elects, Elaine Schaefer and Christine Reuther and incumbent Council Members Brian Zidek and Kevin Madden created a dozen transition teams to gather information, identify key issues, and develop and recommend action plans regarding a wide range of issues and subjects relating to the governance and management of Delaware County. One of the transition groups was dedicated to public health.
Beginning in December 2019, as part of the transition process, Council worked with experts to identify the steps that needed to be taken to create a public health department in Delaware County.
In January 2020, Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor, Councilwoman Elaine Schaefer, Councilwoman Christine Reuther, regional public health leaders and members of the community participated in a panel discussion on public health in Delaware County. The panel focused on the merits of a county health department and included presentations from neighboring public health departments. Topics included the roles of county health departments in protecting public health, utilizing data for federal funding, and detailing the ways Delaware County would benefit from a county public health department and funding.
In August 2020, Council approved the request for proposals for an Economic Impact/Feasibility study.
Recently, the strategic plan was completed.
In January 2021, the County began holding Listening Sessions with coalitions and organizations to share information about the Health Department’s establishment and gain important feedback about health department roles and responsibilities. They have met with and will be meeting with municipal managers from across the county, colleges and universities, public and private schools, non-profit organizations, the NAACP, the Black Caucus, leaders in the business community, religious institutions, and other groups.
The County will begin to hold Think Tank Sessions with members of the community to gather information as it creates the County Health Department. The goals of the Think Tanks are to identify existing programs and services as well as gaps; identify existing data sources and data that should be collected; identify other organizations and individuals to engage in the process; and providing input on specific health department roles and activities.
In the next few months, the County will be creating a Delaware County Board of Health.
In the summer 2021, the County plans to hire a Director for the new Delaware County Health Department.
In the summer and fall of 2021, the County will begin hiring personnel for the newly created Health Department.
By January 2022, the new Delaware County Health Department will be operational.
The vision of the Delaware County Health Department is to ensure that all members of the Delaware County community have access to the resources that provide the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life.
The Delaware County Health Department strives to promote, protect, and assure conditions for optimal health for all residents of Delaware County through leadership, prevention, response, and partnership with the community.
The health of our community is like a building—it depends on a strong and stable foundation. Priorities such as education, safe and affordable housing, green space, nutrition, walkable streets, access to quality healthcare, racial justice, and employment opportunities will lead to positive health outcomes for all residents and have a meaningful impact on their quality of life.
Updates, a timeline and information on how to become involved in the creation of the Delaware County Health Department can be found here: www.delcopa.gov/health/index.html
During the ceremony, Council also provided an update on vaccination efforts in the county.
“We know that the need to offer adequate testing, timely test results and vaccinations is the most urgent public health need in the world. There is no greater public health need right now,” said Councilwoman Elaine Paul Schaefer. “While we are experiencing a shortage of vaccines as a nation, our County stands ready with the adequate storage locations to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, and the staff necessary to vaccinate when we begin to get more doses, which we all hope will be soon. We have prepared and are ready.”
The County reminds residents to continue to be patient. Vaccine supply has not increased for Pennsylvania. The state is still receiving the same limited supply as it was in the beginning of January. In addition, almost half of the vaccine received is being allocated for long-term care facilities which have experienced the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Last week, Delaware County received 1,200 doses of vaccine, this week the County received 2,000 doses and expects to receive 2,000 doses next week.
A COVID-19 Call Center has been set up for residents who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine or testing. The center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30a.m.-4:30p.m.
Phone: (484) 276-2100