Mayor Danene Sorace

Mayor Danene Sorace

Lancaster city Mayor Danene Sorace reported during a Facebook Live town hall Wednesday night that one person who is currently homeless tested positive for COVID-19. 

Sorace made several other announcements during the broadcast, including that the former St. Joseph Hospital building is being evaluated for use.

While much of COVID-19 and its impact is still unknown, Sorace said,  opportunities for community support and problem-solving are numerous. 

Here are five takeaways from Sorace's town hall:

Vulnerable populations, one person tested positive

The homeless person who tested presumed positive for COVID-19 is currently in quarantine, Sorace said. 

No further information was provided. 

To prevent further spread of COVID-19, Sorace has asked that food donations be dropped off at Lancaster County Food Hub, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank or Anchorage Breakfast and not be personally distributed at parks.

Rooms have been secured for those who are homeless and displaying symptoms of coronavirus, Sorace said. 

Lancaster city is currently looking for a building where homeless individuals can gather during the day since Lancaster County Public Library has shut down, as well as other gathering spaces. 

The building would require enough space for people to be at least six feet apart, Sorace said. 

Lancaster Cares COVID-19 Response Fund

Sorace announced a new fundraising campaign to provide Lancaster County families with basic needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Lancaster County Community Found and United Way of Lancaster County, which created the rapid response fund called Lancaster Cares, have already committed $250,000 to the fund.  

"Lancaster Cares fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials while expanding local capacity to address the outbreak as efficiently as possible," the fund's website states

Those in need of food can also call 211 and get connected with the necessary resources, Sorace said. 

Former St. Joseph Hospital 

Sorace said Lancaster's medical system, as well as county, state and federal partners are evaluating the former St. Joseph Hospital building now owned by UPMC Pinnacle as a potential expansion site in the fight against COVID-19. 

Lancaster's medical system is on high alert and making necessary plans to treat COVID-19, Sorace said. Other buildings are being evaluated as well.

Economic impacts 

Sorace called on all landlords and lenders to defer or lower rent and loan payments. 

City enterprise loans will be deferred until further notice, she said, as well as home rehab project loans. 

"We are all going to experience hurt, financially and otherwise," she said, adding that supporting each other financially could help protect Lancaster's economy. 

Preparing for "stay-at-home" order

Sorace said that Lancaster is preparing for a "stay-at-home" order. 

Gov. Tom Wolf has issued "stay-at-home" orders for 10 counties, most recently Lehigh and Northampton counties. 

While Lancaster residents should limit outings and practice social distancing when going out, Sorace said. She suggested grocery shopping once a week.