Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

New COVID-19 cases down again in PA, though disease fatalities remain high

An image from the PA Department of Health lab in Exton

Newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases dipped again in PA, though fatalities from the disease have now topped 5,000.

The state Department of Health reported 725 new positive cases for the period ending at midnight, compared to 866 cases yesterday. This marks 13 days straight with new case numbers below 1,000 in Pennsylvania.

With the additional cases, 66,983 Pennsylvanians have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

New daily 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.

Of the new cases today, 195 are in residents of nursing and personal care homes.

Locally, total diagnosed cases are as follows:

  • Adams County: 222 cases (yesterday, 214)
  • Cumberland County: 584 cases (yesterday, 572)
  • Dauphin County: 1,061 cases (yesterday, 1,049)
  • Franklin County: 711 cases (yesterday, 697)
  • Lancaster County: 2,790 cases (yesterday, 2,736)
  • Lebanon County: 900 cases (yesterday, 892)
  • Perry County: 45 cases (yesterday, 43)
  • York County: 904 cases (yesterday, 895)

Overall, 17.2 percent of PA residents tested have shown to be positive for the virus.

The health department also reported another 112 fatalities, meaning that 5,096 Pennsylvanians have died from the disease since March. Of the newly reported fatalities, 74 were residents of nursing or personal care homes.

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

  • Adams County: 6 deaths (yesterday, 5)
  • Cumberland County: 46 deaths (yesterday, 43)
  • Dauphin County: 62 deaths (yesterday, 57)
  • Franklin County: 29 deaths (yesterday, 28)
  • Lancaster County: 279 deaths (yesterday, 272)
  • Lebanon County: 24 deaths (yesterday, 24)
  • Perry County: 1 death (yesterday, 1)
  • York County: 22 deaths (yesterday, 22)

Statewide, Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 17,208 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 6,464 cases. The two counties also have reported the most deaths statewide from the disease: 1,217 and 633, 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 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties into the less restrictive yellow phase. On Friday, eight more counties are slated to enter the yellow phase, including Dauphin and Lebanon counties. By June 5, the entire state will exit from the red phase to either yellow or green, according to the state’s current plans.

Nursing homes and personal care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the virus. Of total deaths, 3,349, or 65.7 percent, have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities, according to the health department.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 14,486 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,437 cases among employees, for a total of 16,923 at 589 distinct facilities in 44 counties, according to the health department.

In addition, 5,064 of total cases in PA are in health care workers.

Statewide, 388,452 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 321,469 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 379,001 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
  • 25 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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