Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

PA Health Department reports another jump in COVID-19 deaths; new case numbers remain stable

PA Secretary of Health Rachel Levine (right)

New COVID-19 cases remained restrained but fatalities increased substantially in Pennsylvania, as the state today reported an additional 360 deaths from the disease.

The fatalities, which now include both confirmed positive and probable COVID-19 cases, mean that 1,564 Pennsylvanians have died from the disease since the pandemic began in early March.

According to state health Secretary Rachel Levine, deaths include 1,264 confirmed cases and 300 probable cases. A probable case is defined as someone who has shown symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and who can be linked to a confirmed case, but who was not tested for the disease.

In central PA, reported deaths also increased substantially. The COVID-19 fatality data now is as follows:

  • Adams County: 2 deaths (1 more than yesterday)
  • Cumberland County: 6 deaths (2 more than yesterday)
  • Dauphin County: 11 deaths (2 more than yesterday)
  • Franklin County: 10 deaths (10 more than yesterday)
  • Lancaster County: 88 deaths (22 more than yesterday)
  • Lebanon County: 8 deaths (3 more than yesterday)
  • Perry County: 1 death (unchanged)
  • York County: 13 deaths (7 more than yesterday)

Nursing homes and personal care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the virus. Out of total deaths, 796, or about half, have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities, according to the health department.

Levine has said previously that some data reported on Tuesdays may be greater than expected on a day-to-day basis due to less reporting over weekends.

She has also stated that there is a lag between increases in newly reported cases and increases in death rates. Two weeks ago, the commonwealth showed a spike in new cases before that rate began to fall.

The health department today also reported 1,296 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases as of midnight, bringing total cases in the commonwealth to 34,528 since the pandemic began. This data is similar to the number of new cases reported over the past week.

Locally, total diagnosed cases are as follows:

  • Adams County: 91 cases (yesterday, 85)
  • Cumberland County: 194 cases (yesterday, 186)
  • Dauphin County: 400 cases (yesterday, 386)
  • Franklin County: 143 cases (yesterday, 115)
  • Lancaster County: 1,295 cases (yesterday, 1,236)
  • Lebanon County: 525 cases (yesterday, 502)
  • Perry County: 20 cases (yesterday, 20)
  • York County: 517 cases (yesterday, 493)

“As we start to see the number of new COVID-19 cases decrease across the state that does not mean we can stop practicing social distancing,” Levine said.

Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 9,391 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 3,154 cases. The two counties also have reported the most deaths from the disease: 363 and 223, respectively.

Statewide, 166,851 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 132,323 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 162,952 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 39 percent are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 28 percent are aged 50-64
  • 25 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.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 5,026 resident cases of COVID-19, and 572 cases among employees, for a total of 5,598 at 396 distinct facilities in 38 counties, according to the health department.

“We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families and our community,” Levine said. “If you must go out, please make as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but others. We need all Pennsylvanians to continue to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our health care workers and frontline responders.”

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.

Continue Reading