Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

State reports fewest new COVID-19 infections in more than two months

An image from the PA Department of Health lab in Exton

New COVID-19 diagnoses sank to their lowest level since late March today, with the state health department reporting fewer than 400 cases.

The PA Department of Health reported 356 new positive cases for the period ending at midnight.

This marks 22 days straight with new case numbers below 1,000 in Pennsylvania. With the additional cases, 72,282 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.

New case and fatality data has tended to be lower on weekends due to less reporting to the state health department.

Of the new cases reported today, 59 are in residents of nursing and personal care homes.

Locally, total diagnosed cases are as follows:

  • Adams County: 250 cases (yesterday, 251)
  • Cumberland County: 635 cases (yesterday, 629)
  • Dauphin County: 1,303 cases (yesterday, 1,277)
  • Franklin County: 777 cases (yesterday, 774)
  • Lancaster County: 3,189 cases (yesterday, 3,161)
  • Lebanon County: 972 cases (yesterday, 969)
  • Perry County: 61 cases (yesterday, 59)
  • York County: 1,013 cases (yesterday, 1,007)

Overall, 15.6 percent of PA residents tested have shown to be positive for the virus.

The health department also reported another 12 fatalities, meaning that 5,567 Pennsylvanians have died from the disease since March. Not all of these deaths necessarily occurred in the past 24 hours, as the health department constantly updates its data.

Of the newly reported fatalities, most were residents of nursing or personal care homes.

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

  • Adams County: 8 deaths (yesterday, 8)
  • Cumberland County: 52 deaths (yesterday, 50)
  • Dauphin County: 74 deaths (yesterday, 73)
  • Franklin County: 35 deaths (yesterday, 35)
  • Lancaster County: 297 deaths (yesterday, 297)
  • Lebanon County: 33 deaths (yesterday, 33)
  • Perry County: 3 deaths (yesterday, 3)
  • York County: 26 deaths (yesterday, 26)

Statewide, Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 18,517 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 7,093 cases. The two counties also have reported the most deaths statewide from the disease: 1,320 and 686, 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 57 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties into the less restrictive yellow phase, including all of the Harrisburg area except Lancaster County. By June 5, the remainder of the state will exit from the red phase.

Nursing homes and personal care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the virus. Of total deaths, 3,557, or 63.9 percent, have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities, according to the health department.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 15,545 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,663 cases among employees, for a total of 18,208 at 608 distinct facilities in 44 counties, according to the health department.

In addition, about 5,463 of total cases in PA are in health care workers.

Statewide, 461,713 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 389,431 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 455,037 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
  • 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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