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Department of Health update: Case count climbs; none in Warren County

COVID-19 case counts continue to climb.

While there continue to be no positive test results in Warren County, there are now three cases in Erie County, according to Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper on Sunday, and one each in three counties in the region – Potter, Mercer and Butler.

State-wide, the case total jumped 108 in Sunday’s daily update, according to state Department of Health data.

In addition to two fatalities – one each in Allegheny and Northampton counties – the state-wide total of cases now sits at 479.

An additional 4,964 tests have come back negative.

“I know that this is a difficult and stressful time for everyone,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine acknowledged. “(It is) so important for everyone to follow the direction of Gov. Wolf to please stay home and for businesses to please close and for everyone to do their part.”

She reiterated that the state is prioritizing testing for clusters of cases and health care workers.

“We do not want to test individuals that have no symptoms,” she said. “It’s not necessary.”

Pennsylvania has yet to implement a “shelter in place” order that would further restrict the movement of people and Levine said those “discussions are being had” but had no further update on that issue.

She did emphasize, through, that there are “no plans to cancel” Wolf’s order to close non-life sustaining businesses. “This order is essential to mitigate the spread, to prevent the spread, of COVID-19.”

Levine addressed some practical issues during Sunday afternoon’s briefing.

“It’s fine to go outside,” she said, both in one’s backyard or taking a walk, though people should avoid crowded parks. “(We) do not want people to be clustered together. If practicing social distancing, being outside is very healthy.”

That doesn’t mean, though, that parents should be getting kids together for playdates.

“I’m sorry… but we do not want you to have playdates. That will expose the children and parents to others and could help spread the illness. We want family units to stay together… and not to have playdates even though I do understand how difficult that is.”

She also cautioned those living in rural areas – largely unaffected by the virus to date – to “not let their guard down.”

“Each day we are seeing more counties affected so it is important for everyone in Pennsylvania not to be complacent.”

Here’s the county-by-county

breakdown, according to DoH: Philadelphia (91), Montgomery (87), Delaware (43), Allegheny (40) and one death, Bucks (32), Monroe (31), Chester (23), Northampton (21) and one death, Lehigh (19), Berks (13), Cumberland (11), York (10), Luzerne, Washington (7), Lackawanna, Lancaster (6), Adams (5), Westmoreland (4), Beaver, Lebanon, Pike (3), Erie, Wayne (2). There is one case in each of the following counties: Butler, Centre, Columbia, Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin, Mercer, Montour, Potter and Schuylkill.

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