State COVID-19 numbers flatten, but nursing home numbers confuse officials and public

While the state saw its fourth day of new cases fall below average, the counts in county nursing homes continue to confuse officials.

While numbers rose in Dauphin and Schuylkill Counties, Northumberland County was eliminated from the list that was released Wednesday. On Tuesday, Northumberland County was listed as having six residents and two employees affected by the virus at one county facility.

In nursing home and long-term care facilities, the numbers of the local counties went up as Dauphin County added 13 residents and one employee, and Schuylkill County added a new facility, six residents, two employees and its first death. Dauphin County is listed in the table having three facilities affected, with 143 cases among residents, 30 cases among employees and 21 deaths. Schuylkill County has 37 residents, nine employees affected and one death in seven facilities.

All total, 502 facilities are reporting 10,010 cases among residents and 1,372 among employees, and have accounted for 2,108 of Pennsylvania’s 3,106 deaths attributed to the coronavirus.

Pennsylvania added 888 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the fourth straight day of adding 1,000 cases or less to the totals.. According to information released on Pa. Department of Health’s website, there are currently 51,845 confirmed cases.

Dauphin County reported 16 new positive cases, while 14 new positive tests and two deaths were added in Schuylkill County and four new cases were added in Northumberland County. This brings Dauphin’s total to 711 cases with 29 deaths, Schuylkill up to 419 cases with nine deaths, and Northumberland County at 111 confirmed cases.

In comparison, Philadelphia County, the hot spot of the state, added 179 cases in 24 hours,  putting their totals at 13,742 positive cases and 625 deaths.

The Pa. Department of Health reported 3,316 cases in the state are involving health care workers.

Officials say that the public’s effort on social distancing and wearing masks must continue to get things back to normal.

“As we prepare to move a number of counties from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, which includes our seniors, those with underlying health issues, our healthcare workers and our first responders. I am proud of the work that Pennsylvanians have done so far, but we cannot stop now, we must continue to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from COVID-19.”

As far as negative tests for each county, Dauphin is listed as having 4,217 negative tests while Schuylkill reported 2,339 negative tests and 711 in Northumberland County.

The state also updated numbers of age ranges of the positive cases and hospitalizations to date. Currently 2,553 Pennsylvania residents are hospitalized with the virus and its complications, down 27 patients from the day before

The breakdown is as follows:

Positive cases

Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12, <1%; 13-18, 1%; 19-24, 6%; 25-49, 37%; 50-64, 27%, 65+, 27%


Ages 0-29, 2%; 30-49, 5%; 50-64, 10%; 65-79, 20%; 80+, 19%

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

Adams-148 (5), Allegheny-1,394 (111), Armstrong-55 (3), Beaver-471 (76), Bedford-27 (1),  Berks-3,048 (148), Blair-25, Bradford-36 (2), Bucks-3,508 (304), Butler-185 (6), Cambria-35 (1), Cameron-2 Carbon-186 (16), Centre-113 (1), Chester-1,636 (156), Clarion-23 (1), Clearfield-21, Clinton-34, Columbia-302 (16), Crawford-20, Cumberland-386 (26), Dauphin-711 (29), Delaware-4,373 (326), Elk-4, Erie-95 (2), Fayette-84 (4), Forest-7, Franklin-406 (9), Fulton-7, Greene-27 (1), Huntingdon-60, Indiana-75 (5), Jefferson-7, Juniata-86 (1), Lackawanna-1,076 (106), Lancaster-2,041 (145), Lawrence-68 (7), Lebanon-774 (15), Lehigh-3,063 (102), Luzerne-2,306 (107), Lycoming-90 (4), McKean-6, Mercer-69 (1), Mifflin-45, Monroe-1,190 (60), Montgomery-4,827 (471), Montour-50, Northampton-2,313 (122), Northumberland-111, Perry-34 (1), Philadelphia-13,742 (625), Pike-415 (17), Potter-4, Schuylkill-419 (9), Snyder-33 (1), Somerset-32 (1), Sullivan-1, Susquehanna-87 (11), Tioga-16 (1), Union-39 (1), Venango-7, Warren-1, Washington-121 (2), Wayne-110 (5), Westmoreland-409 (29), Wyoming-27 (2), York-722 (11).

As of noon May 6, there have been 204,495 negative tests for the coronavirus, an increase of 4,570 over the day before.

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 May 5, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 1,171,510 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 68,279 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.