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Health Department Reports 1 New Case of COVID-19 in Centre County, 560 New Positives Statewide

by on March 26, 2020 2:06 PM

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported on Thursday one new confirmed case of COVID-19 in Centre County, bringing the county's total to nine.

Statewide there are 560 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five new deaths related to the illness as of Thursday morning. The increase in confirmed positives statewide is more than double the number of new cases reported a day earlier and brought the overall total in the commonwealth to 1,687 in 48 of 67 counties.

In central Pennsylvania, Blair and Lycoming counties saw their first confirmed cases, while Clearfield County remained at two and Cambria County at one.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon that about 46 percent of COVID-19 patients are age 50 or older, and that 39 percent are age 25-49.

"It’s very important that younger adults not be complacent about their susceptibility to COVID-19," Levine said.

More than 170 people have been hospitalized because of COVID-19, with 56 requiring ICU treatment and, of those, 32 needing ventilators. Levine said that among hospitalizations, 46 percent have been age 65 or older, many with chronic medical conditions.

Each of the 16 deaths from COVID-19 in Pennsylvania has been an adult, with about 68 percent age 65 or older.

The state is continuing to distribute supplies and personal protective equipment to hospitals, health systems, health care providers, emergency responders and counties. To date, the state has distributed 678,630 N-95 masks, 207,600 procedure masks, 380,000 gloves, 36,870 gowns and 44,000 goggles.

"We are continuing to get more of these supplies from the federal stockpile, but we’re also really scouring the state and the country to purchase whatever is available to make sure our response teams and our health care personnel have a sufficient supply of the resources they need to take care of patients with COVID-19," she said.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill authorizing up to $50 million in additional funding for medical supplies and equipment.

But, Wolf said, those efforts and support from the federal government won't be enough if Pennsylvanians don't abide by social distancing. The state has closed schools through at least April 6, ordered the temporary closure of non-life-sustaining businesses and issued a stay-at-home order in 10 counties.

Levine said she can't project when the rise in new cases is expected to reverse.

"We don’t know when it’s going to flatten and that’s the purpose of the mitigation efforts the governor has referenced… all of those are an effort to bend that curve of the number of new cases we are seeing," she said. "But they all take time in order to show progress. It is going to be a lag before we see evidence of the bending of that curve."

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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