103 New Pa COVID-19 Cases and 2nd Death, Stricter Shelter in Place Order for State Being Discussed
Updated: Mar 23, 2020
HARRISBURG (MAR 21 2020) -- At noon today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released its figures on the acknowledged novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, infections in the state as pf yesterday. Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said today that, as of yesterday, there were 371 cases in the state and announced a second death from the pandemic. The second individual was identified as an adult in Allegheny County, which had 31 cases as of yesterday, including the decedent. Monroe County has 25 acknowledged cases, up 6 from previous numbers. According to Levine, a total of 40 persons have been hospitalized in Pennsylvania due to the virus outbreak. Levine said that middle aged adults were the highest number of hospitalizations, followed by senior citizens, and that young people are a significant number of the cases as well. "We are certain there is community spread in Pennsylvania," Levine said today. Levine also said that the numbers released by her department are "an underestimate of the news cases." "The most important thing", Levine said today, "is to prevent the spread, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19." The increase of 103 news cases follows on yesterday's announcement of 81 new cases. Levine said the "exponential increase of cases in Pennsylvania" makes it more urgent that residents follow social distancing guidance, avoid gatherings of more than a handful of people, and self-isolate once they begin to show any symptoms, such as sore throat, cough, fever, shortness of breath, or gastrointestinal distress. Levine said that, "We are not seeing many cases of the flu right now, so we can assume that most people with those symptoms have been infected and should isolate at home."
Levine said that her department "are in discussions" with the governor's office about issuing a more strict so-called 'shelter in place' order for the Commonwealth. "We'll make that determination over the next number of days as the situation requires," Levine said, "But those decisions have not been made yet."
Levine reminded Pennsylvanians that there is no treatment for the virus. Therefore, she urged residents not to go to the hospital absent serious symptoms, and encouraged anyone with symptoms to call their doctor for advice. Pennsylvanians who do not have a doctor may call the Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH for guidance. In addition, the Centers for Disease control and Prevention ("CDC") has an online CDC CORONAVIRUS SELF CHECKER. Speaking about the safety of take-out or delivered food, Levine suggested the risk was the same as your dine-in risk before the outbreak in terms of the safety of the food. "We rely on the good judgment of the [restaurants] that if someone has active symptoms, they will not be preparing food for you," Levine said. "So, I can't take away any risk, but if you are in the food preparation industry, if you have any symptoms whatsoever, please stay home so you do not spread it to someone else," she advised.