HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine addressed the fall resurgence Monday and discussed possible reasons for the increase.
“The fall resurgence is here and now is really the time to double down,” Wolf said.
Pennsylvania has seen 14 days with 1,000 new cases or more, Levine said. The statewide percent-positivity went up to 4.3% from 3.9% last week.
“Our percent positivity and incidence rate for the Commonwealth both increased again this week in the midst of our fall resurgence of cases in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “Together, Pennsylvanians can work to prevent the spread of the virus.”
There are 11 counties in Pennsylvania where there is a substantial level of community transmission, including Westmoreland County. Greene County is in the low transmission level, and the remaining counties in western Pennsylvania are in the moderate transmission level.
There has also been an increase in cases from kids ages 5-18 years old, with nearly 2,000 new cases in the past two weeks. Pennsylvania is seeing the highest numbers of positive cases in kids ages 13-18 years old since the beginning of the pandemic.
Of the 8,580 confirmed cases reported last week, 33% provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment. Of those who answered, more than 17% said they went to a restaurant, bar or other business, and nearly 17% said they attended a mass gathering 14 days prior to developing symptoms.
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of Pennsylvanians being united in taking actions to protect ourselves and others, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing our hands and avoiding large gatherings,” Wolf said.
Pennsylvania updated its travel recommendations to remove Texas from the list of states recommended for domestic travelers returning from to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.
While cases are expected to rise in the weeks to come, Wolf and Levine said Pennsylvania is in a better position to fight the virus now than we were in the spring -- progress they do not want to lose.
One of the most effective ways of stopping the spread of COVID-19 is through contact tracing. However, Levine said that is not being done effectively in part because people are not being truthful.
The health secretary said two out of every three people who spoke with contact tracers between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10 refused to say whether they traveled to a business or attended a mass gathering in the prior two weeks.
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