Commissioners Acknowledge First Virus Death in Wyoming County

By Rick Hiduk

(exclusive to

During a scheduled work session on Thursday morning, the Wyoming County Commissioners confirmed that a county resident has passed away due to complications from the coronavirus. Out of respect to the family, commissioner chair Rick Wilbur did not mention any names but did say that it was a male.

AllOne Foundation & Charities of Wilkes-Barre is making ventilators available to healthcare providers in all northeast PA counties and Lycoming County on an as-needed basis at no cost, Wilbur related.

As per an announcement at the regular commissioners meeting on Tuesday, the commissioners met with department heads on Wednesday to develop a tentative list of what county employees will be temporarily laid off. The definitive list that will be finalized later on Thursday does not include any prison or 911 staff nor any department managers.

On behalf of those who will learn later today or tomorrow that they have been furloughed, the commissioners have been in touch with the state unemployment office to address reports that the process of filing claims has been bogged down.

Wilbur related that the biggest complaint is that people have had to wait days or even more than a week to get the pin number needed for making weekly reports. Wilbur was told that the process has been streamlined and pin numbers are now being released much more quickly.

Other topics of discussion included confirming commissioner Tom Henry’s continued role as an executive board member of Luzerne-Wyoming Counties mental Health and Developmental Services

and naming commissioner Ernie King as the new chairman of the Emergency Food and Shelter Board, a post formerly held by retired commissioner Judy Mead.

County recycling director Mike Powers, who was participating in the meeting remotely, asked the board to reschedule the annual electronic recycling day, previously set for May 9, to June. He will work with the company the county contracts with to get a specific date.

Wilbur apologized to those listening in the April 16 meeting for technical difficulties which, at present, include no video. The county is currently using a free Zoom videoconferencing app that limits the screen time of the meeting to 45 minutes. On Thursday, Wilbur and King were in the board room, while commissioner Henry participated from home.

Over the next few weeks, video equipment will be purchased though a CCAP grant, and integrated with a system that the county EMA already has. The timing of the migration to a new system has to parallel a legal obligation by the commissioners to publicly advertise the meetings. Wilbur is hopeful that can be completed within the next two weeks.

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