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The City of Bethlehem is actively working with government agencies, hospitals, and businesses to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Please refer to the Bethlehem Health Bureau’s coronavirus page for the most current information, best practices, and resources.

City Hall is open to the public. Employees are also available to assist residents via phone, email and website.
 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Bethlehem Health Bureau is actively monitoring the situation and working very closely with the PA Department of Health.

Both health networks have established hotlines for coronavirus questions, including symptom and treatment guidance. They are strongly encouraging the public to utilize these hotlines before heading into emergency rooms or urgent cares. The health networks currently have test kits that can and will be used when deemed medically relevant and are expecting more shipments in coming days. For both these hotlines, nurses will be assessing symptoms in accordance with the most recent CDC guidelines.

LVHN Hotline: (888) 402-LVHN (5846), will direct to the new myLVHNrn system to begin the screening process.

St. Luke's Hotline: 1 (866) STLUKES (866) 785- 8537, select option 7 to begin the screening. Email Address: coronavirus@sluhn.org

 
City of Bethlehem COVID-19 data

NOTE:  The positivity rates for City of Bethlehem, Northampton and Lehigh Counties, and Pennsylvania have been adjusted to a positivity rate reflecting the previous 7 days.  This was done to show a more accurate depiction of the current situation. (7/9/2020)
Contact Tracing


Contact Tracing

The City of Bethlehem Health Department is actively monitoring all cases of COVID-19 within the City limits.  As per CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines, the Health Department is also contacting all individuals who have been in exposed to a known case of COVID-19. In addition to initial contact the City of Bethlehem Health Department is using SaraAlert to follow individuals during their quarantine and isolation periods.

As of 7/9/2020 the City of Bethlehem Health Department has Contact Traced 139 individuals.  Of the 139 individuals, 12.9% of the contact traced individuals ultimately became probable or confirmed case for COVID-19 during the monitoring period.

 

press releases
City of Bethlehem Services

The following service changes are in affect:
 

Water and Sewer
• Continue to provide highest quality water to resident and businesses
• Will remain available to respond to emergency situations
• No shut-off water service to customers
• All complaints will be evaluated and acted upon, as appropriate

Police/Fire/EMS
• No impact to emergency services
• Non-emergency fire inspections of commercial buildings will be suspended
• New construction fire inspections will continue
• All complaints will be evaluated and acted upon, as appropriate

Housing Rehab
• Suspend all non-emergency housing rehab inspections
• All emergency requests will be acted upon, as appropriate

Health 
• Modified annual food inspection schedule
• All requests for home based needs are being evaluated on a case by case basis
• All educational programming in the community has been canceled
• Sexually transmitted disease (STD) screenings for symptomatic patients and treatment for STDs will be done by appointment only
• All childhood and adult immunization appointments and low risk tuberculosis screenings will be rescheduled
• Family planning services will be modified and will be done by appointment only
• No walk-ins patients until further notice
• All complaints will be evaluated and acted upon, as appropriate
 
life sustaining vs. non-life-sustaining businesses

Governor Wolf has ordered all non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations.  Please see the link below for additional information:

https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#For businesses

business resources

General Green Phase Guidelines

Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions

• Telework Must Continue Where Feasible

  • • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and  Building Safety Requirements

  • • All Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy, Except Where Noted for Bars and Restaurants

    • Masks Are Required in Businesses
  • • Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance

  • • Congregate Care Restrictions in Place

  • • Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities

  • • Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance
     

Social Restrictions

• Indoor Gatherings of More Than 25 Prohibited; Outdoor Gatherings of More Than 250 Prohibited

  • • Masks are Required in all Public Spaces

  • • Restaurants and Bars Open at 25% Occupancy

    • On-premises Alcohol Consumption Prohibited Unless Part of a Meal; Cocktails-to-go and Carryout Beverages are Allowed
  • • Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only

  • • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged; Fitness Facilities Are Directed to Prioritize Outdoor Fitness Activities 

  • • All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy

  • • Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols

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  • **Governor Wolf outlines the phases to reopening in the Process to Reopen Pennsylvania.
                     

Funding Resources

PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED)

PA Small Business Grants – The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Grants are being made available through the PA Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Network and the PA DCED. Applications are available now. Click HERE to apply

Northampton County
Northampton County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Fund
Line of Credit amounting to $3,000-$15,000 is administered by the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund.  The interest rate is 0% with 12 month term (No payments due the first 11 months. A balloon payment is due on the 12 month).  Any business in Northampton County, which has been in operation for at least one fiscal year and has 100 employees or less are eligible to apply.  $250,000 in funding has been allotted to this program.  Personal guarantee from ALL owners is required. To apply, or for more information click here

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
On July 6th the SBA resumed accepting applications for the PPP. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.. The new deadline to apply for a PPP loan is August 8, 2020. Apply with a Participating Lender 

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
On June 15, SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications from all eligible small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses. To learn more about eligibility and apply, click here.
 

Express Bridge Loans
Express bridge loans are available up to $25,000 and can be used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. The loan will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan. Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office.

Lehigh SBDC can assist with applying for SBA Loans
 

Internal Revenue Service  (IRS)
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.

Employee Retention Credit
The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.      

 

Johns hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19. Please see the link below:

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/our-work/publications/operational-toolkit-for-businesses-considering-reopening-or-expanding-operations-in-covid-19

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housing Resources

Property and Homeowners


Code/Permit Information
For information on housing inspections and code related concerns, see the "City of Bethlehem Services " tab of this page. Additional information can be found at the following link:
https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/Community-Economic-Development/Housing-Inspections

City Funded Housing Rehab Programs
Homeowners may still submit electronic or mailed applications but no onsite work will be performed until further notice. Emergency repairs and Lead Based Paint emergency work will be performed on an as needed basis. Information on these programs can be found at the following link:
https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/Community-Economic-Development/Housing-Inspections

Tenants Rights and Fair housing Concerns 

Questions and concerns about tenants' rights and Fair Housing violations during this crisis can be mailed to Penn Legal Services. Penn Legal is a non-profit that is supported by the City of Bethlehem in order to address concerns of this nature. At this time, Penn Legal's office is closed and is accepting online inquiries only. Send inquiries to : https://www.northpennlegal.org/

Questions on Evictions and Foreclosures

An eviction is a legal process carried out by the local court system. The Northampton and Lehigh County courts are currently closed and not proceeding with eviction hearings at this time. Questions on the County's court system can be found at the following links:
Northampton County: https://www.nccpa.org/magisterial-district-judges
Lehigh County: https://www.lehighcounty.org/Services/Suspended-Services

Additional information about evictions can be found in the "federal eviction moratorium for tenants living in certain types of housing" which provides further guidance on tenants' rights and foreclosures during this time. A summary of this moratorium can be viewed on the National Housing Law Project's website at the following link: https://www.nhlp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020.03.27-NHLP-CARES-Act-Eviction-Moratorium-Summary.pdf

If you believe that you have been wrongfully evicted from your home or wrongfully had your property foreclosed, you can file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General of PA at the following link: https://www.attorney general.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-to-landlords-pennsylvanians-cannot-be-evicted-during-state-emergency/

Note: The information provided is not intended to substitute or constitute as legal advice. It is recommended to seek professional legal advice on specific matters that arise.

 

 

mental health Resources


If COVID-19 is making you feel isolated, stressed out or anxious, you are not alone - and it's okay to ask for help


Behavioral Health Services

Lehigh County Crisis Intervention. Licensed telephone and mobile crisis services that provide mental health assessments regardless of income or insurance. Crisis Intervention operates 24-hour/7 days a week. Lehigh County Crisis Intervention can be contacted at 610-782-3127.
Staff from the Office of Mental Health are available to answer questions about the programs and services available. If you are actively receiving mental health services in the County system, they can assist you. If you are not currently registered in the County Mental Health system and wish to access County funded/supportive services, please call Information and referral at 610-782-3200.

Other resources available to Pennsylvanians in need of support:

Northampton County Crisis Hotline : 610-252-9060

Greater Lehigh Valley Warmline 6:00 AM – 2:00 AM, 7 days a week: 
  610-820-8451

Statewide Support & Referral Helpline: 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 
  724-631-5600

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454

Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741

Safe2Say: 1-844-723-2729 or www.safe2saypa.org

Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990

Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357

 

 

covid-19 resources

For any additional information, please visit the following websites:

 

PA Department of Health (PADOH)  

PADOH has created a new Hospital Preparedness Dashboard that provides county-level information about how many beds and ventilators are in use and available to meet our health care needs. Please see the following link.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
 

 

frequently asked questions 

What are the guidelines for reopening?

The CDC has recently released new Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes. Please follow the link below:
https://www.cdc.gov/…/2019-n…/community/reopen-guidance.html



When should I wear a mask?

When going to a supermarket, pharmacy or other life-sustaining business, wear a cloth mask to enter the store. Your mask will help protect our critical workers at these businesses, like cashiers, those stocking shelves + pharmacists.

People who can't wear a mask due to a medical condition + children under 2 may enter without a mask.

If a customer does not wish to wear a mask, stores must provide an alternate means of delivering goods.

Enforcement begins on Sunday, April 19 at 8 pm.
Read the full order: https://bit.ly/2ygorEb

Don’t have a cloth mask? Make one at home easily—even if you can't sew. Follow these simple instructions: bit.ly/2K71Mgj

Save the surgical masks and N95s for health care workers and first responders.


What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
 

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

  •  Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath 

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

As of March 30, 2020 the CDC announced period of exposure risk has changed from “onset of symptoms” to “48 hours before symptom onset”
 

How can the coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

• Through the air by coughing or sneezing
• Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
• Occasionally, fecal contamination.
 

How can I help protect myself?

Prevention

  • • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based   hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including counter tops, light switches, cell phones,   remotes, and other frequently touched items.
    • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.


I am an employee and I work at a company where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. What is the role of the Bethlehem Health Bureau? 

If a Bethlehem resident tests positive for COVID-19, the Bethlehem Health Bureau interviews the individual to determine who they were in close contact with since showing symptoms.  As part of that interview, we review work and school status.  If the person is employed by a business that is open to the public, we provide that information to the general community. If it is a private employer, we work with the employer to notify close contacts of the positive case.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health has a toolkit for businesses related to COVID-19 and we provide this information to employers as well.

 

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educational infographics (Spanish)