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PA health secretary warns against complacency as new COVID-19 cases, deaths fall from last week

PA Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine (right)

COVID-19 cases in PA now exceed 24,000, though new cases and deaths from the disease continued to be fewer than last week.

The state Department of Health today said that 1,366 new positive cases were reported for the 24-hour period ending at midnight. That’s down significantly from last week, when nearly 2,000 new cases were reported for several consecutive days.

Yesterday, the department reported 1,178 new positive cases.

In all, the state has confirmed 24,199 positive cases in PA since the pandemic hit in early March.

Tomorrow may better indicate whether the lower case and fatality data represent a trend, as Secretary of Health Rachel Levine has said previously that some daily counts on weekends may be lower due to less frequency of reporting to the department.

The department also reported 17 additional fatalities from COVID-19, meaning that 524 people in PA have died from the disease.

Locally, Lebanon County now has two fatalities, one more than yesterday. Deaths in other midstate counties were unchanged: 24 in Lancaster County, four in Dauphin County, three in Cumberland and York counties and one each in Perry and Adams counties.

“COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise in Pennsylvania, and even though the daily increases are not exponential, now is not the time to become complacent,” Levine said, in a statement.

The virus has spread to all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

Locally, Dauphin County now has 240 confirmed cases, 11 more than yesterday. Cumberland County has 122 cases, 12 more than yesterday. Lancaster County has 828 cases, York County has 331 cases, Lebanon County has 284 cases, Adams County has 56 cases and Perry County has 17 cases.

Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 6,810 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 2,285 cases. The two counties also have reported the most deaths from the disease: 127 and 65, respectively.

Statewide, 129,792 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 105,593 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 124,890 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:

  • Less than 1 percent are aged 0-4
  • Nearly 1 percent are aged 5-12
  • 1 percent are aged 13-18
  • 6 percent are aged 19-24
  • Nearly 41 percent are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 29 percent are aged 50-64
  • Nearly 21 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.

“We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families, 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 other people as well. 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.

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