HARRISBURG – With conditions nationally mimicking the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown) is changing course and allowing only individuals with scheduled appointments to visit his district office at 1340 Franklin St. in Johnstown.
“Cambria was among the counties that were barely impacted when the pandemic began in March and April,” Rigby said. “With the number of positive cases here now approaching the 6,000 mark and more than 100 deaths reported, we need to tighten things up and respect the virus’ potential by limiting personal interaction between my staff and visitors, who can call the office at 814-536-9818 if they wish to discuss an issue or make an appointment.”
Rigby’s office is already inundated with telephone calls and emails from constituents with COVID-19 questions and concerns. He says the scope of what he, the county and even the city of Johnstown can do is limited.
“In Pennsylvania, only six counties and four cities have individual health departments and we are not on either list. That means we must adhere to state authority, which has clearly demonstrated COVID-19 cases are spiking again statewide,” added Rigby. “Johnstown alone in the last two weeks reports more than 2,500 cases, which is sixth per capita in the nation.”
Never having claimed the virus to be a hoax, Rigby’s realization of COVID-19 evolved personally with the recent death of his mother-in-law.
“My wife and I stood outside her window and spoke to her a few days after she tested positive for COVID-19. She died less than a week after that diagnosis,” said Rigby. “It drove home the point that I already knew but had not previously witnessed that we need to do all we can to stop this virus in its tracks.
“COVID-19 has been characterized as an invisible adversary, which is far from the truth,” he added. “We ‘see’ it in the statistics and ‘hear’ it in the stories. Masks aren’t foolproof, but they serve as some degree of a deterrent. To me, they are a compromise that we must all come to a mutual agreement upon. Wearing one is the responsible thing to do in taking this virus seriously before a vaccine is readily available.”
Representative Jim Rigby
71st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott B. Little
717.260.6137 (office), 717.497.5967 (cell)