Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

New COVID-19 cases down again in PA, though death rate remains high

An image from the state Department of Health lab in Exton, Pa.

New COVID-19 cases dipped significantly across the commonwealth today, though fatalities from the disease remained elevated.

The state Department of Health reported 610 new COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania for the period ending at midnight. Today’s new case data is among the lowest since late March.

With the additional cases, 63,666 Pennsylvanians have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

New cases in PA peaked in early April at nearly 2,000 cases, but have shown a gradual, relatively steady decline since, despite greater levels of testing for the virus over that time period. New daily cases have been below 1,000 for more than a week.

Of the new cases today, 187 are in residents of nursing and personal care homes.

Locally, total diagnosed cases are as follows:

  • Adams County: 194 cases (yesterday, 194)
  • Cumberland County: 540 cases (yesterday, 525)
  • Dauphin County: 989 cases (yesterday, 978)
  • Franklin County: 644 cases (yesterday, 631)
  • Lancaster County: 2,593 cases (yesterday, 2,552)
  • Lebanon County: 880 cases (yesterday, 877)
  • Perry County: 41 cases (yesterday, 41)
  • York County: 866 cases (yesterday, 857)

Overall, 18.2 percent of PA residents tested have shown to be positive for the virus.

The health department also reported another 119 fatalities, meaning that 4,624 Pennsylvanians have died from the disease over the past two months. Of the newly reported fatalities, 59 were residents of nursing or personal care homes.

Around central PA, the COVID-19 fatality data now stands as follows:

  • Adams County: 5 deaths (yesterday, 5)
  • Cumberland County: 42 deaths (yesterday, 41)
  • Dauphin County: 50 deaths (yesterday, 50)
  • Franklin County: 27 deaths (yesterday, 25)
  • Lancaster County: 259 deaths (yesterday, 252)
  • Lebanon County: 24 deaths (yesterday, 21)
  • Perry County: 1 death (yesterday, 1)
  • York County: 18 deaths (yesterday, 18)

Statewide, Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 16,487 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 6,063 cases. The two counties also have reported the most deaths statewide from the disease: 1,109 and 575, respectively.

“As counties move from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” health Secretary Rachel Levine said.

So far, the state has moved 37 counties, mostly in the western and northern areas, into the yellow phase. On Friday, 13 more counties, including Cumberland, York, Perry and Adams counties, will enter the yellow phase.

Nursing homes and personal care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the virus. Out of total deaths, 3,145, or 68 percent, have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities, according to the health department.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 13,813 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,191 cases among employees, for a total of 16,013 at 557 distinct facilities in 44 counties, according to the health department.

In addition, about 4,600 of total cases in PA are in health care workers.

Statewide, 349,700 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 286,034 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 340,609 people 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:

  • Nearly 1 percent are aged 0-4
  • Nearly 1 percent are aged 5-12
  • Nearly 2 percent are aged 13-18
  • Nearly 6 percent are aged 19-24
  • Nearly 37 percent are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 26 percent are aged 50-64
  • Nearly 29 percent are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are 65 or older, as are most of the reported deaths, according to the state.

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.

 “We must continue to protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, which includes our seniors, those with underlying health issues, our healthcare workers and our first responders,” Levine said. “I am proud of the work that Pennsylvanians have done so far, but we cannot stop now, we must continue to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from COVID-19.”

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

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