Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

New coronavirus cases again exceed 500; first deaths in central PA reported

The first coronavirus-related fatalities has been reported in central Pennsylvania, a patient from Cumberland County and another from Lancaster County.

The state Department of Health today reported that 12 people have died statewide from the disease since yesterday, including the midstate’s first fatalities. Overall, 34 people in the commonwealth have died from the COVID-19 epidemic.

The department also reported that another 533 cases have been confirmed since yesterday, with  2,751 cases statewide. That’s up from 2,218 positive COVID-19 cases yesterday.

“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

Friday marked the third straight day that new cases have exceeded 500 throughout the commonwealth.

The virus has now spread to 56 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, with another six counties reporting cases since yesterday.

Locally, Dauphin County now has 23 confirmed cases, Cumberland County has 22 cases, Lancaster County has 45 cases, York County has 37 cases, Lebanon County has 15 cases and Adams County has eight cases. Perry County reported its first case, as well.

Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 709 positive cases, followed by Montgomery County with 411 cases. These counties each have reported five deaths from the disease, the most statewide.

Moreover, Gov. Tom Wolf today expanded his “stay at home” orders to three additional counties: Beaver, Centre and Washington counties. This expands the order to 22 counties statewide, including Lancaster and York counties in central PA.

“We’re beginning to see this disease rear its ugly head in every corner of the commonwealth,” Wolf said today.

Statewide, 28,005 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 25,254 testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 23,234 had been tested for the virus.

Of the patients who have tested positive to date, the age breakdown is as follows, according to the health department:

  • Less than 1 percent are aged 0-4
  • Less than 1 percent are aged 5-12
  • 1 percent are aged 13-18
  • Nearly 11 percent are aged 19-24
  • 39 percent are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 28 percent are aged 50-64
  • 19 percent are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 25 to 49, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date.

“Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe,” Levine said. “We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

Levine continued to emphasize that Pennsylvanians should do the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell. 

For more information, visit the PA Department of Health’s COVID-19 website.

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