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Department of Health says 649 new COVID-19 cases state-wide; total surpasses 3,000

It will take weeks to know whether social distancing efforts implemented across the Commonwealth and the nation have been successful.

That’s according to Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, who announced in Sunday’s press update an additional 649 cases of COVID-19 state-wide, bringing the total to 3,394.

38 people have died – all adults – that have tested positive for the virus and 30,061 tests state-wide have returned negative results.

The test results released each day, Levine said, are a “snapshot in time.

“Trends are more important than the exact numbers. We’re looking at trends over time. (The numbers are) always a snapshot but we realize that and figure that into our thinking.”

So when will be know if social distancing efforts are working?

“It takes weeks for social distancing to work,” Levine said. “(We are) going to be watching the data every day. It’s the change over time which is important.”

She said health officials would want to see a “sustained plateau” and then decreasing case numbers before making a determination on success.

“We’ll be watching all of that very carefully under the governor’s leadership,” Levine said.

She specifically addressed those who have loved ones in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

“Our nursing home patients are often the most vulnerable to viruses,” she said, noting that there are positive tests in approximately five percent of nursing homes across the state, mostly in the southeast.

She asked family members not to visit at this point “and I know this is hard.”

There are other ways we can be present in the lives of our loved ones,” she added – citing phone calls, cards and letters, video chatting and checking in with staff. “And I know personally how challenging it is not to visit your loved one,” citing her own inability to visit her mother. “(We) must ensure they stay protected and stay safe.”

Here’s Sunday’s county-by-county update: Philadelphia (865) and five fatalities, Montgomery (488) and five fatalities, Delaware (276) and four fatalities, Allegheny (265) and two fatalities, Bucks (203) and one fatality, Lehigh (151) and three fatalities, Chester (137), Monroe (135) and three fatalities, Northampton (126) and four fatalities, Luzerne (94) and two fatalities, Berks (68), Lancaster (67) and two fatalities, Lackawanna (56) and two fatalities, Butler (47) and two fatalities, Westmoreland (47), York (43), Dauphin (35), Pike (33) and one fatality, Beaver (28), Washington (24), Centre (22), Cumberland (22) and one fatality, Schuylkill (21), Lebanon (19), Franklin (11), Fayette (10), Carbon (9), Adams (8), Lawrence (8) and one fatality, Erie, Mercer, Wayne (7), Columbia, Greene (6), Montour (4), Armstrong, Blair, Bradford, Crawford, Lycoming (3) and Clearfield, Indiana, Mifflin, Potter, Snyder, Somerset (2).

There is one case in each Warren, Cambria, Cameron, Clarion, Huntingdon, Juniata, McKean, Northumberland, Perry, Susquehanna, Tioga, Venango

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