The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed that as of Tuesday, there are 20 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth, bringing the statewide total to 96. Ten cases have now been confirmed in Cumberland County. All of the state’s patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
The additional cases are as follows: two in Allegheny County; one in Beaver County; three in Bucks County; two in Chester County; five in Cumberland County; two in Delaware County; two in Montgomery County; two in Philadelphia County; and one in Washington County.
“Our reporting has shifted to a daily update at noon based on results reported to the department by 12:00 AM, as the volume of test results continue to increase,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm; stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is stay home.”
Statewide, there are 96 cases of COVID-19 reported from commercial, hospital and state labs. There are 879 patients who have tested negative. With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.
Wolf strongly urged a two-week statewide shutdown Monday afternoon, and all restaurants and bars in the state were mandated to close to dine-in patrons to help prevent the spread of the virus. Take out orders and drive throughs would still be permitted. Residents are also strongly urged to practice social distancing, and remain at least 6 feet away from others when possible, and avoid gathering in groups larger than 50.
“We strongly urge non-essential businesses across the commonwealth to do their part by temporarily closing as we work to flatten the curve and protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin on Monday. “We understand that businesses are an economic driver throughout Pennsylvania, and a temporary closure will be a financial and community disruptor. DCED is committed to working with the business community to provide helpful resources for financial assistance.”
Non-essential businesses include public-facing industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities, including but not limited to community and recreation centers; gyms, including yoga, barre and spin facilities; hair salons and barber shops, nail salons and spas; casinos; concert venues; theaters; sporting event venues and golf courses; retail facilities, including shopping malls except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations, a news release from Wolf’s office reads.
All public schools, including the Big Spring School District, have been closed for at least the next two weeks to also prevent the spread of the virus. The State System universities, including Shippensburg, have extended spring breaks and suspended in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester to help prevent the spread of the virus. Courses will be offered online, beginning March 23, at Shippensburg. Students living on campus are asked to remove their belongings and check out of their residence halls by March 21.
“While we anticipate that there will be more Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks, it is important for residents to know the commonwealth is prepared and to be prepared themselves,” Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, said. “Right now, you have a higher chance of testing positive for COVID-19 if you have traveled to a country or state with known community outbreaks or have come in contact with someone who has the virus. We are working with the health care community across Pennsylvania to keep them informed, consult on patient testing and ensuring they have the resources they need to care for patients.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the following number of confirmed cases in Pennsylvania were broken down by county:
Allegheny, 7; Beaver, 1; Bucks, 8; Chester, 4; Cumberland, 10; Delaware, 9; Lehigh, 1; Luzerne, 1; Monroe, 8; Montgomery, 32; Northampton, 1; Philadelphia, 10; Pike, 1; Wayne, 1; Washington, 2.
The Wolf Administration has also:
-- In accordance with the CDC, for the next 8 weeks, called on organizers (whether groups or individuals) to cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
-- Encourages religious leaders to exercise discretion in order to mitigate the spread of illness.
-- Initiated a no-visitor policy at all State correctional facilities and nursing homes to ensure the safety of inmates, residents, staff and visitors.
-- Restricted visitors in state centers to ensure health and safety for individuals with an intellectual disability.
-- Restricted visitors in assisted living and personal care homes to minimize exposure to our seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
Fever; Cough; Shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
The World Health Organization last week indicated they believe the virus can remain airborne for a period of time in certain settings, noting the virus can also remain on various surfaces like copper and steel for up to two hours, and longer on surfaces made of plastic and cardboard.
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Note these have been updated as of March 15:
-- 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.
For the daily COVID-19 Report, visit: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
For all press releases regarding coronavirus, visit: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health.aspx.
Find the latest information on the coronavirus here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx.