Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

New COVID-19 cases up slightly in post-holiday report, fatalities also higher

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

New COVID-19 cases ticked up today and fatalities also increased, as PA issued its post-holiday coronavirus update.

The state Department of Health today reported 780 new positive cases for the period ending at midnight.

This marks 17 days straight with new case numbers below 1,000 in Pennsylvania. With the additional cases, 69,417 Pennsylvanians have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Cases peaked in early April at nearly 2,000 daily new cases. Since then, cases have shown a gradual, relatively steady decline, despite increasingly greater testing levels for the virus.

The state had reported new cases below 500 and low numbers of disease-related deaths for two straight days, but the holiday weekend likely meant less reporting to the state Department of Health.

Of the new cases today, 133 are in residents of nursing and personal care homes.

Locally, total diagnosed cases are as follows:

  • Adams County: 236 cases (yesterday, 233)
  • Cumberland County: 611 cases (yesterday, 602)
  • Dauphin County: 1,174 cases (yesterday, 1,137)
  • Franklin County: 756 cases (yesterday, 746)
  • Lancaster County: 3,031 cases (yesterday, 2,985)
  • Lebanon County: 936 cases (yesterday, 922)
  • Perry County: 53 cases (yesterday, 48)
  • York County: 956 cases (yesterday, 943)

Overall, 16.5 percent of PA residents tested have shown to be positive for the virus.

The health department also reported another 113 fatalities, meaning that 5,265 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: 7 deaths (yesterday, 7)
  • Cumberland County: 47 deaths (yesterday, 46)
  • Dauphin County: 66 deaths (yesterday, 63)
  • Franklin County: 30 deaths (yesterday, 29)
  • Lancaster County: 282 deaths (yesterday, 281)
  • Lebanon County: 31 deaths (yesterday, 27)
  • Perry County: 1 death (yesterday, 1)
  • York County: 22 deaths (yesterday, 22)

Statewide, Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 17,839 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 6,738 cases. The two counties also have reported the most deaths statewide from the disease: 1,262 and 644, respectively.

“As Pennsylvania continues to move forward in the process to reopen, we need to remember that the threat from COVID-19 has not gone away,” 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 current plans.

Nursing homes and personal care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the virus. Of total deaths, 3,469, or 65.9 percent, have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities, according to the health department.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 14,990 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,528 cases among employees, for a total of 17,518 at 596 distinct facilities in 44 counties, according to the health department.

In addition, 5,216 of total cases in PA are in health care workers.

Statewide, 419,407 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 349,990 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 408,472 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
  • 28 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.

“As counties move into the yellow and green phases, we must take personal responsibility to protect others,” Levine said. “Wearing a mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are all steps we can take to help protect others, including our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”

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

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