An unofficial comment on Facebook by Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling alerted residents to the first case of COVID-19 in Lycoming County. The statement was made in a comment thread on another page.
The case, confirmed to NorthcentralPa.com by the coroner and reported in news outlets, is otherwise unconfirmed by the Department of Health as of Wednesday morning.
“I can confirm there is a positive case in Lycoming County, and as more testing is completed, there will be more,” said Kiessling. He said his information came from “county level discussion.”
“My Facebook post was not to inflict terror, but to urge caution,” said Kiessling. “As a nurse and a coroner, I know there are cases out there. I want people to be cautious.”
Kiessling said the patient is not hospitalized, but home in quarantine. He had no other information regarding where the patient may have been tested, or in what community that patient lives.
“Information takes a long time to get through the channels,” Kiessling told NorthcentralPa.com. The Facebook post was not an official news release from the Coroner’s office or other county-level officials, rather his personal desire, he said, “to expeditiously get information out.”
“Everyone is overwhelmed,” he said. “I was concerned that enough people get complacent and that kills people.”
NorthcentralPa.com has reached out to the County Commissioners’ office for an official confirmation and clarification over how new cases will be communicated to the public. This story is ongoing.