Inside a local South Hills government's emergency management plan for COVID-19 | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Inside a local South Hills government's emergency management plan for COVID-19

click to enlarge Inside a local South Hills government's emergency management plan for COVID-19
CP Photo: Josh Oswald
Street in Baldwin Township

The national news and federal government are our main sources for information on how citizens and establishments should respond to the coronavirus. But those guidelines are presented on a large scale. So what are local governments and councils in and around Pittsburgh implementing in response to the pandemic?

As a commissioner for Baldwin Township, I can shed some light on what smaller governments are doing to flatten the curve.

According to Baldwin’s website, “Baldwin Township is a small community nestled in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and consists of one square mile of land with 6 miles of road, 894 homes, and a thriving business district.”

In layman’s terms, Baldwin is a hilly, walkable neighborhood much like most of the South Hills. It lies just outside the City of Pittsburgh, bordering Overbrook, Brookline, Castle Shannon, Mt. Lebanon, and Dormont. It’s home to many longtime residents, as well as many first-time homeowners.

Our Township Manager Nina Belcastro and Board President Eileen Frisoli circulated an email to the board members, developed in concert with Baldwin's chief of police and emergency management coordinator, to approve the plan they drafted from using CDC guidelines and recommendations. Below is the information we were provided, which is an ongoing document as the situation develops: 

"Following State and CDC guidelines, the Township is taking the following steps to limit the spread of COVID-19:

The Township administration building will be “closed” to visitors for the next two weeks. At the end of this period, we will reevaluate the situation and take appropriate action.

Manager and Assistant will periodically be physically in the office. Mail will be checked daily. Banking will be done regularly. Phones will be forwarded as needed and messages responded to in a timely manner.
We ask that all non-emergency issues be handled via phone or email.

An overnight drop-box has been installed outside of the administration building. This box will be locked at all times and has a slot small enough to only drop letters or payments.

The Community Room will be closed to the public through March 31st.

The Public Works Department will work staggered hours

All current appointments will be kept as deemed appropriate (including dye tests).

Unless absolutely necessary, only one employee will be on duty at a time to complete essential duties around the Township.

No sewer work will be done at this time.

No work that puts employees in direct, close contact with others will be done at this time.

The Police Department will handle as many non-emergency issues over the phone as possible.

Police Officers will not be accompanying non-life threatening medical calls at this time. If possible, reports will be taken over the phone

Again, we will continue to monitor the situation and make necessary changes based on CDC and State/Local guidelines."

Like what we've heard from national media and federal strategies, the recurring message of the Baldwin Township emergency plan emphasizes social distancing, the best known method for preventing the spread of the virus by eliminating any unnecessary risk by keeping its employees out of close quarters.