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PA COVID-19 cases up to 276 including Warren

Warren County’s COVID-19 case announced on Wednesday is one of 276 additional cases state-wide.

That brings the Commonwealth’s total, according to Department of Health data, to 1,127 cases and 11 fatalities.

An additional 11,193 tests have been negative.

As the case totals climb, “hospital beds are starting to fill up,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a Wednesday afternoon press event.

He announced that his stay-at-home order was to be expanded to include Northampton and Lehigh counties. Erie was added yesterday to the order which includes much of the southeast corner of the state as well as Allegheny County.

“Staying home is vital to saving lives in our Commonwealth,” Wolf said. “We need to buy time, time to allow hospitals to gather materials” and for patients to recover so there will be space for patients during a projected surge of patients in the near future.”

“Many of us have already cut back on social functions,” Wolf said. “I want to thank all of you for the sacrifices you’ve been making.”

He specifically acknowledged the effect his mitigation efforts have placed on the business community and said he “vowed to save Pennsylvanians lives and then their livelihoods.”

He announced a $60 million pot of funds – the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program – which will provide loans of up to $100,000 for businesses with less than 100 employees.

Wolf argued that the “best way we can preserve (our) economic future” is to mitigate the spread of the virus now.

“That means we must all act as if we have it,” he said. “Let’s do this together.”

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said that there are now cases in 44 counties and that 38 of the 1,127 patients have required treatment in an ICU space and 18 have needed ventilators. A total of 11 individuals have died as a result of the virus to date.

There are approximately 3,400 license intensive care beds in Pennsylvania and nearly 40 percent are still available.

Levine said the state has been distributing N95 masks to “hospitals and other health care personnel as needed,” have been acquiring more from federal supplies and “purchasing whatever is available.

“We are also looking to industries outside of the health care setting to see what could become available.”

She detailed that the state’s mitigation efforts are “critical to prevent a large surge of patients over the next month that could in theory overwhelm our health care system” and “emphasizes the need for my message – ‘Stay calm, stay home and stay safe.'”

Is there a projected timeline for that surge?

“(We) continue to see an exponential rise” in cases, Levine said. “(We are) seeing the new cases double every two or three days. We are preparing for that surge of patients.”

She also said that later this week the Department of Health will be able to offer data that breaks down the total number of cases by age range.

There are reports that people have been dropping animals at shelters out of a fear that they can transmit the virus and Levine shot that down.

“There is absolutely no evidence animals” transmit COVID-19. “(There is) no reason to drop animals off at rescue agencies.”

She also addressed the differences in symptoms between COVID-19 and allergies. While there “could be some overlap,” Levine said the “symptoms are quite different. COVID-19 should present differently,” specifically highlighting the “lower respiratory” symptoms – aka cough – and fever that come with the virus.

Here’s Thursday’s county-by-county breakdown: Philadelphia (257) and one fatality, Montgomery (172) and one fatality, Delaware (101), Allegheny (88) and two fatalities, Bucks (86), Chester (54), Monroe (51) and one fatality, Northampton (44) and three fatalities, Lehigh (38), Luzerne (27) and one fatality, Berks, York (20), Lackawanna (18) and two fatalities, Westmoreland (16), Cumberland (13), Butler, Lancaster (12), Dauphin, Washington (10), Pike (9), Centre (8), Beaver (7), Adams, Schuylkill (6), Franklin (5), Erie, Fayette, Montour, Wayne (4), Lebanon (3), Clearfield, Greene, Mercer, Somerset (2). The following counties have one case each: Warren, Armstrong, Bradford, Cambria, Carbon, Columbia, Juniata, Lawrence, Lycoming and Potter.

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