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Positive COVID-19 cases top 3,000 in PA, as state sees highest daily total yet

PA Secretary of Health Rachel Levine (right) at the state’s daily press briefing today.

The COVID-19 pandemic now has exceeded 3,000 cases in Pennsylvania, as the state Department of Health today reported 649 new positive cases.

The new case total is the most yet for any single day since the first case was detected in Pennsylvania about three weeks ago.

The commonwealth now has 3,394 positive cases, up from 2,751 cases yesterday.

Moreover, the health department reported four additional deaths from the virus since yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 38 fatalities. In central PA, two people from Lancaster County and one from Cumberland County have died, according to the state.

“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

The virus has now spread to 58 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

Locally, Dauphin County now has 35 confirmed cases, Cumberland County has 22 cases, Lancaster County has 67 cases, York County has 43 cases, Lebanon County has 19 cases, Adams County has eight cases and Perry County has one case.

Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 865 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 488 cases.

Currently, 22 counties are under “stay at home” orders, including Lancaster and York counties locally.

Levine today could offer no timeline if or when other counties, such as Dauphin and Cumberland, would be put under stay-at-home orders. She said that the state makes the decision over whether to expand the order on a “day to day basis.”

“We are taking a very measured and sequential approach in regards to the governor’s order,” Levine said.

Statewide, 33,455 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 30,061 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 28,005 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
  • Less than 1 percent are aged 5-12
  • 1 percent are aged 13-18
  • 10 percent are aged 19-24
  • 41 percent are aged 25-49
  • 27 percent are aged 50-64
  • 19 percent are aged 65 or older

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 25 to 49, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date.

In addition, Gov. Tom Wolf today said that he has requested “a major disaster declaration” from the federal government. If granted, this would offer additional relief for state and local governments and some nonprofits, he said.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has taxed our commonwealth and our communities in ways that are almost incomprehensible,” Wolf said. “I am calling on the president and the federal government to make available to us the assistance that will make a tangible difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors, and the dedicated public servants who are working in overdrive to support them.”

Impacted programs could include Disaster Unemployment Assistance, crisis counseling, community disaster loans, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program and Statewide Hazard Mitigation, according to the governor’s office.

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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