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One year since first COVID-19 cases reported in Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH — It’s been one year since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Pennsylvania.

“In the last few hours we received confirmation of two presumed, and I emphasize presumed, positive cases of COVID-19 or coronavirus in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Tom Wolf said a year ago.

That announcement turned into a world-changing year seeing restrictions, hand washing, mask wearing and endless worries. Two people were quarantined in the eastern part of the state, one in Delaware County, the other in Wayne County. Wolf went on to sign a disaster declaration to provide more support.

Fast forward to Saturday, March 6, 2021. Those first cases grew rapidly day-to-day, reaching nearly 950,000 COVID-19 cases over the last year. More than 24,000 people died due the virus.

Health officials said there are roughly 1,500 patients hospitalized in the state with 325 of them in intensive care.

“Today, we commemorate the hardship of the past year but we also look forward to the future. There is a light at the end of the tunnel as vaccine production and distribution increase,” Wolf said Friday.

In just under a year, the first people in Pennsylvania started getting the vaccine. More than 900,000 people have now been fully vaccinated in the state with the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

“Don’t worry so much about the differences amongst the vaccines. At the end of the day, they’re all very good at preventing serious infection and helping to protect you,” said Dr. Don Yealy with UPMC.

“As you reflect on the past year, let yourself grieve but also let yourself hope. A brighter future is on the horizon,” Wolf said.

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