COVID-19 update for area — updated daily

More guidelines have been put in place as Pennsylvania continues to battle in efforts to flatten the curve against the COVID-19 coronavirus

Over the weekend, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that he recommends that if people must go out, please wear a mask to prevent the spread of the virus.

“While the mask does not prevent people from getting the virus, it does stop a potential carrier from spreading the virus. The Department of Health now offers tips on how the public can make their own cloth masks to save medical supplies for healthcare workers.

The state also announced Monday that they have signed a contract with

ECRI, an independent, nonprofit health services research organization based in suburban Philadelphia, to help with the COVID-19 response across the state, particularly in long-term care facilities, as the pandemic continues.

“It’s imperative that the state do all that we can to protect all Pennsylvanians, but especially those most vulnerable to COVID-19, and so the Department of Health made the right decision to enlist experts in the field of infection control to help protect those in the state’s long-term care facilities,” Governor Tom Wolf said.

With decades of experience in assisting during outbreaks, ECRI will provide individualized infection control and prevention assistance to long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania. Staffers will be available over the phone for 12 hours a day on weekdays and will coordinate with the Department Operations Center, currently providing support to those working in coronavirus response. ECRI will also help the department evaluate PPE and research different ways to maximize available resources.

According to information released on Pa. Department of Health’s website April 6, there have currently 12,980 confirmed cases, a jump of 1,470 cases in 24 hours.

Fourteen new cases were reported in Dauphin County while 13 were added in Schuylkill County and one more in Northumberland County, bringing Dauphin’s total to 132 cases, Schuylkill up to 103 cases, and Northumberland to 15.

The biggest jump, as usual, occurred in Philadelphia County, which reported 476 new cases, bringing their total to 3,611 in the county.

Twelve deaths were added to Pennsylvania’s death toll, bringing the total to 162. Bucks County added four more deaths, bringing their total to 17, while Lancaster County had three new deaths and deaths were reported in Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Northampton, and Pike Counties.

“Now more than ever, as we continue to see COVID-19 cases and deaths rise in Pennsylvania, we need Pennsylvanians to take action,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Those actions should be to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. If you must go out, please limit it to as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but other people as well. We need all Pennsylvanians to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and also our healthcare workers and front line responders.”

With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.

The state also updated numbers are age ranges of the positive cases and hospitalizations to date. Approximately 1,145 people that have tested positive in Pennsylvania have been hospitalized.

The breakdown is as follows:

Positive cases

Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12, <1%; 13-18, 1%; 19-24, 7%; 25-49, 42%; 50-64, 29%, 65+, 20%


Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12, 0%; 13-18, <1%; 19-24, 1%; 25-49, 19%; 50-64, 28%; 65+, 51%

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

Adams-25, Allegheny-642 (4), Armstrong-13, Beaver-96 (6), Bedford-4,  Berks-326 (3), Blair-5, Bradford-10, Bucks-619 (17), Butler-91 (2), Cambria-7, Cameron-1 Carbon-59 (1), Centre-44, Chester-307 (3), Clarion-6, Clearfield-7, Clinton-3, Columbia-26, Crawford-9, Cumberland-68 (2), Dauphin-132 (1), Delaware-822 (15), Erie-20, Fayette-29, Forest-4, Franklin-32, Fulton-1, Greene-12, Huntingdon-4, Indiana-17, Juniata-11, Lackawanna-190 (7), Lancaster-408 (11), Lawrence-24 (2), Lebanon-124, Lehigh-1,006 (8), Luzerne-849 (5), Lycoming-10, McKean-1, Mercer-18, Mifflin-5, Monroe-572 (11), Montgomery-1230 (18), Montour-33, Northampton-716 (12), Northumberland-15, Perry-5 (1), Philadelphia-3,611 (28), Pike-125 (2), Potter-3, Schuylkill-103, Snyder-8 (1), Somerset-6, Sullivan-1, Susquehanna-6, Tioga-8, Union-6, Venango-5, Warren-1, Washington-53, Wayne-35, Westmoreland-157, Wyoming-5, York-189 (1).

As of noon March 31, there have been 70,874 negative tests for the coronavirus, an increase of 4,613 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,, 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 April 6, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 330,891 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 8,910 deaths. Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reports on their Coronavirus Tracker website that 18,593` U.S. residents that have contracted the virus have recovered.

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 need to go out and will be around other people, 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.