Dauphin and Schuylkill now “green counties”

Dauphin and Schuylkill counties are the latest counties to go green in Gov. Tom Wolf’s phased reopening plan for Pennsylvania.

The order changing their designation went into effect at 12:01 a.m. as now 53 counties are in the green phase and 14 remain in the yellow.

Gov. Wolf announced Friday that all counties will move to green on June 26, except for Lebanon County, which has seen an uptick in cases after County commissioners voted in May to go green early against orders from Wolf and the Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

This comes as the amount of new cases rose for the second day in a row, adding 526 cases to the ranks. Northumberland County had a spike of 16 cases, which county officials attributed to “a single

In addition, Levine announced Thursday that the Department of Health has applied for a more than $301 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen state and local public health capacity in Pennsylvania.

“This funding is essential to our future response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “In our application, we earmarked about a third of that funding, more than $100 million, to bolster county and municipal public health departments’ response. We intend to use the balance of the grant funding to expand our testing efforts, case investigating and contact tracing and our data infrastructure to improve our response.”

The Department will also continue its close collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, who separately received more than $92 million to assist their work from CDC.

Throughout Pennsylvania, there are six county health departments and four municipal health departments, who have primary responsibility for public health efforts inside their jurisdiction.

The funding will support six primary strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include continuing work to develop a robust testing and contact tracing strategy, supporting local health departments and investing in public health surveillance and laboratory infrastructure. The grant submission focused on ensuring minority and underserved communities are targeted for testing, outreach and we have improved demographic data collection.

According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania added 526 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday. The state has 80,762 cases of the virus since the first case was discovered in March.

The death toll was increased by 38 souls, putting the count at 6,399

Dauphin County added 17 cases and two deaths to their county on Friday, as Northumberland County added two new cases and Schuylkill County added one. Dauphin County currently stands at a total to 1,725 cases with 118 deaths, Schuylkill stands at 703 cases with 43 deaths, and Northumberland County is at 254 cases and four deaths.

In comparison, Philadelphia County, the hot spot of the state, added 128 cases and 10 deaths on Tuesday, putting their totals at 20,404 positive cases and 1,550 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.

“With more than half of the state now in the green phase of the process to reopen, it is essential that we continue to take precautions to protect against COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said. “The commonwealth’s careful, measured approach to reopening is working as we see case counts continue to decline even as many other states see increases. But 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 14,789 negative tests while Schuylkill reported 6,768 negative tests and 2,447 in Northumberland County.

Currently 728 Pennsylvania residents are hospitalized with the virus and its complications, down 22 from the day before.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 16,895 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,012 cases among employees, for a total of 19,907 at 651 distinct facilities in 47 counties. Out of our total deaths, 4,345 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 6,141 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-309 (11), Allegheny-2,139 (178), Armstrong-69 (6), Beaver-619 (77), Bedford-63 (2), Berks-4,374 (343), Blair-56 (1), Bradford-49 (3), Bucks-5,510 (551), Butler-263 (13), Cambria- 62 (3), Cameron-2, Carbon-264 (24), Centre-176 (6), Chester-3,437 (313), Clarion-31 (2), Clearfield-63, Clinton-67 (3), Columbia-390 (33), Crawford-38, Cumberland-768 (61), Dauphin-1,725 (118), Delaware-7,003 (634), Elk-8, Erie-515 (9), Fayette-103 (4), Forest-7, Franklin-872 (42), Fulton-17 (1), Greene-30, Huntingdon-240 (4), Indiana-98 (5), Jefferson-20 (1), Juniata-109 (5), Lackawanna-1,617 (200), Lancaster-3,911 (344), Lawrence-90 (9), Lebanon-1,226 (40), Lehigh-4,024 (277), Luzerne-2,850 (170), Lycoming-172 (19), McKean-13 (1), Mercer-118 (6), Mifflin-61 (1), Monroe-1,366 (106), Montgomery-8,046 (780), Montour-68, Northampton-3,284 (250), Northumberland-254 (4), Perry-79 (5), Philadelphia-20,404 (1,550), Pike-487 (20), Potter-13, Schuylkill-703 (43), Snyder-61 (1), Somerset-46 (1), Sullivan-3, Susquehanna-178 (20), Tioga-20 (2), Union-84 (2), Venango-17, Warren-5, Washington-162 (6), Wayne-129 (9), Westmoreland-510 (38), Wyoming-36 (7), York-1,229 (35).

As of midnight June 19, there have been 556,456 negative tests for the coronavirus. The state also said that 77 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.

The two stages of reopening and the counties that are in them are:

Yellow counties — Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie,  Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Sullivan, and Susquehanna. (All but Lebanon moves to green on Friday, June 26).

Green counties — Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lawrence, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne,Westmoreland, Wyoming and York.

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 19, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 2,178,710 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 118,365 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.