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Despite 5,000 New Coronavirus Cases in One Day, Levine Says No New Shutdown Coming

Dr. Rachel Levine

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine speaks during a news conference in October. (Flickr/Office of Gov. Tom Wolf)

By Patrick Abdalla

November 12, 2020

“We are better prepared than we were in the spring,“ Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

Pennsylvania has set a new record for coronavirus cases in the state—with 5,488 in one day.

Just 10 days ago, the state had never topped 3,000 cases in one day.

So far, 248,856 people in Pennsylvania have contracted the virus, and 9,194 people have died from COVID-19 or other coronavirus-related illness.

Despite these numbers, which are higher than they were at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has no plans for another state shutdown.

Levine said the state could combat the disease if everyone does their part—washing their hands, wearing masks, staying socially distant, and answering contact tracers’ calls.

“We are better prepared than we were in the spring,” Levine said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, medical professionals were just learning how to handle the disease, Levine said. Now they have tested procedures in place and more therapeutics are available.

“Far less people go on a ventilator,” she said. 

More than 2,000 people in Pennsylvania are currently hospitalized with the virus. That’s down from the spring high of more than 3,000 in a single day, but it’s still a striking increase since Sept. 22. Just 52 days ago, 422 Pennsylvanians were hospitalized. That number was still as low as 841 on Oct 19

According to Levine, 9% of those who are currently hospitalized with the virus are on ventilators. That’s below the national average of 12%. In the spring, it was 30%, she said. 

She repeated her requests that Pennsylvanians download the COVID Alert PA app and that those who catch the virus respond to contact tracers’ calls. 

The information they provide can help combat the disease, she said.

State Teachers Union Calls for Classes in Some Schools to Go Remote

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, is urging districts in counties with “substantial” community spread to follow the state’s guidelines and have “full remote learning models.” 

“It is absolutely unacceptable for any school district to disregard the advice of medical professionals and scientists during a pandemic and put the safety of students, staff, and their families at risk,” said PSEA president Rich Askey. 

The state considers a county having substantial spread when it has 100 new cases per 100,000 residents for 10 days in a row. 

Currently, 38 of the state’s 67 counties are in the substantial spread category. 

They are: Adams, Armstrong, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Center, Clarion, Crawford, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mercer, Mifflin, Montgomery, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Wyoming.

Several districts in those counties continue to have hybrid models in which students spend some time in the classroom together.

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