Cases go up over weekend, deaths stay steady

In a three-day period, Pennsylvania added more than 1,600 new cases of the Coronavirus as one county took a step back.

Over the weekend, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf praised Allegheny County officials for their mitigation efforts on their spike in cases and decision to shut down bars and restaurants for on-site alcohol sales. Allegheny County experienced 269 new cases over the past three days.

“I commend Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen for the decision to shut down bars and restaurants for on-premises alcohol sales in Allegheny County effective June 30,” Wolf said in a release. “This was the right move to work to stop the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in its tracks and to remind all residents and businesses that the best defense we have in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping Pennsylvanians safe is to continue to follow the mask-wearing requirement, practice social distancing, and follow safety guidelines even and especially during the green phase of reopening. We cannot become complacent in practicing the measures we know can protect everyone from the spread of this very contagious virus.

“It is my hope that swift action on the part of the county results in swift containment and the return to an increased commitment to protect all residents, especially those most vulnerable to COVID-19, and that this action sets an example for the rest of the state to continue to follow mitigation efforts put in place to protect lives and livelihoods.”

According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania added 492 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday. The state has 85,988 cases of the virus since the first case was discovered in March.

The death toll was increased by eight souls on Monday, putting the count at 6,614.

Dauphin County added 54 new cases and one death to their totals over the last three days, while Schuylkill County added five new cases and Northumberland County added 14 new cases. The current counts of cases in the three counties of the Citizen-Standard coverage area stands with Dauphin County at a total to 1,971 cases with 133 deaths, Schuylkill stands at 741 cases with 44 deaths, and Northumberland County is at 302 cases and five deaths.

In comparison, Philadelphia County, the hot spot of the state, added 309 cases and 12 deaths from Saturday to Monday, putting their totals at 21,512 positive cases and 1,595 deaths since the coronavirus first hit in March..

Officials say that the public’s effort to fight and prevent the spread of the disease must continue.

“As nearly the entire state is now in the green phase, we must remain committed to protecting against COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvania has been a model for the country on how to reopen effectively using a careful, measured approach. However, the virus has not gone away. Each of us has a responsibility to continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands frequently. Together we can protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”

As far as negative tests for each county, Dauphin is listed as having 17,327 negative tests while Schuylkill reported 7,717 negative tests and 3,320 in Northumberland County.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 17,697 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,224 cases among employees, for a total of 20,921 at 689 distinct facilities in 52 counties. Out of our total deaths, 4,531 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 6,508 of our total cases are in health care workers.

The counties affected and the number of confirmed cases, with the number of deaths in parentheses, are:

Adams-332 (12), Allegheny-2,651 (183), Armstrong-73 (6), Beaver-651 (78), Bedford-81 (3), Berks-4,521 (350), Blair-72 (1), Bradford-56 (3), Bucks-5,729 (563), Butler-302 (13), Cambria- 78 (3), Cameron-3, Carbon-278 (25), Centre-201 (7), Chester-3,677 (323), Clarion-34 (2), Clearfield-72, Clinton-77 (4), Columbia-400 (33), Crawford-53, Cumberland-847 (63), Dauphin-1,971 (133), Delaware-7,170 (653), Elk-13, Erie-595 (10), Fayette-112 (4), Forest-7, Franklin-915 (42), Fulton-18 (1), Greene-39, Huntingdon-251 (4), Indiana-104 (6), Jefferson-21 (1), Juniata-111 (5), Lackawanna-1,694 (202), Lancaster-4,414 (356), Lawrence-101 (9), Lebanon-1,331 (43), Lehigh-4,220 (294), Luzerne-2,906 (177), Lycoming-179 (19), McKean-15 (1), Mercer-136 (6), Mifflin-63 (1), Monroe-1,409 (108), Montgomery-8,413 (798), Montour-73, Northampton-3,407 (266), Northumberland-302 (5), Perry-86 (5), Philadelphia-21,512 (1,595), Pike-494 (20), Potter-15, Schuylkill-741 (44), Snyder-65 (2), Somerset-61 (1), Sullivan-5, Susquehanna-182 (22), Tioga-25 (2), Union-92 (2), Venango-18, Warren-5, Washington-216 (6), Wayne-139 (9), Westmoreland-640 (38), Wyoming-37 (7), York-1,477 (45).

As of midnight June 29, there have been 666,901 negative tests for the coronavirus. The state also said that 78 percent of the confirmed cases have recovered. If a case has not been reported as a death, and it is more than 30 days past the date of their first positive test (or onset of symptoms) then an individual is considered recovered.

With the new stay-at-home orders expiring, all counties in Pennsylvania, with the exception of Lebanon County, are now in the green phase of Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan. Wolf announced on Friday at Lebanon will turn green on July 3.

What is coronavirus?

According to the Pa. Department of Health, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses can live in animals and at times, evolve and infect people before spreading through human to human contact.

Human coronaviruses are spread just like the common cold or the flu either through the air through coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact like touching or shaking hands, or by touching an object or surface with the virus on it.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms can appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after a person is exposed to the illness. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to severe illness and death. As of June 28, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 2,504,175 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 125,484 deaths.

What can you do?

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.
If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.
The Pa. Department of Health offers these guidelines as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

Stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.