Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

New COVID cases dip below 1,000 again; fatalities revised sharply higher

An image from the PA Department of Health lab in Exton

For a third straight day, new COVID-19 cases remained below 1,000 in PA, the first time this has happened in more than a month.

The state Department of Health today reported 865 newly diagnosed cases, bringing the total to 50,957 since the pandemic began in early March. Yesterday, the state reported 825 new cases.

Tuesday’s new-case data may be significant, since case numbers have tended to dip on Mondays, but then re-surge for the Tuesday report, which did not happen this week.

Overall, about 20 percent of PA residents tested have shown to be positive for the virus.

At the same time, the state reported the largest daily increase in confirmed fatalities—554 for the period ending at midnight. This means that 3,012 Pennsylvanians now have died from the disease in less than two months.

While the one-day fatality increase is high, Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine has said repeatedly that her department is constantly adjusting its data based upon reports from counties and other sources.

And, in fact, Levine’s office today attributed the sharp increase to “our continued work to reconcile data from various sources” for fatalities that have occurred over the past two weeks.

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

  • Adams County: 5 deaths (yesterday, 4)
  • Cumberland County: 25 deaths (yesterday, 18)
  • Dauphin County: 29 deaths (yesterday, 28)
  • Franklin County: 9 deaths (yesterday, 8)
  • Lancaster County: 144 deaths (yesterday, 113)
  • Lebanon County: 15 deaths (yesterday, 10)
  • Perry County: 1 death (yesterday, 1)
  • York County: 11 deaths (yesterday, 11)

The Philadelphia area showed the greatest revision of its fatality data. Philadelphia County now has 627 fatalities compared to 424 yesterday, while Montgomery County has 443 deaths compared to 382 yesterday.

Locally, total newly diagnosed cases are as follows:

  • Adams County: 148 cases (yesterday, 148)
  • Cumberland County: 382 cases (yesterday, 375)
  • Dauphin County: 695 cases (yesterday, 652)
  • Franklin County: 396 cases (yesterday, 377)
  • Lancaster County: 2,018 cases (yesterday, 1,991)
  • Lebanon County: 766 cases (yesterday, 756)
  • Perry County: 34 cases (yesterday, 34)
  • York County: 716 cases (yesterday, 702)

Statewide, Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 13,563 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 4,687 cases.

“As we prepare to move a number of counties from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” Levine said.

On Friday, the state plans to move 24 counties in the northwest and north-central parts of the state from “red” to “yellow” categories, thereby loosening business restrictions and stay-at-home orders there.

Nursing homes and personal care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the virus. Out of total deaths, 2,029, or more than 67 percent, have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities, according to the health department.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 9,625 resident cases of COVID-19, and 1,284 cases among employees, for a total of 10,909 at 495 distinct facilities in 44 counties, according to the health department.

In addition, 3,012 of total cases in PA are in health care workers.

Statewide, 250,882 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 199,925 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 245,590 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
  • 1 percent are aged 13-18
  • Nearly 6 percent are aged 19-24
  • Nearly 38 percent are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 27 percent are aged 50-64
  • 27 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. There have been no pediatric deaths to date.

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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