Two women walk past a sign on a parking garage in Mount Lebanon, Pa., reminding people to wear masks, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Missing Masks in Mount Lebanon
Two women walk past a sign on a parking garage in Mount Lebanon, Pa., reminding people to wear masks, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

“We’re doing everything we can in our power to avoid going back to where we were in March and April,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.

Gov. Tom Wolf issued a stern warning to Pennsylvanians Monday afternoon: If residents don’t start changing their behaviors and flattening the pandemic curve, he’ll take action.

“Over the course of the past two weeks, unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s situation has become even more dire,” Wolf said. “And I find myself saying things I really, really wish I didn’t have to say.”

Wolf didn’t say specifically what new mitigation measures he would implement. However, he said it would be more targeted than the school closure and regional business closure orders in the spring.

“We’re doing everything we can in our power to avoid going back to where we were in March and April,” he said.

The governor repeatedly referenced the new mitigation efforts his administration attempted just before Thanksgiving, as coronavirus cases were surging. 

It’s becoming more clear by the day—as we see rising cases and rates—that not enough Pennsylvanians followed those recommendations.

RELATED: Only One Pennsylvania County Doesn’t Have Substantial Spread of Coronavirus

“I hoped that those actions would keep the numbers from reaching this level,” Wolf said.

As of noon on Monday, 5,421 people were hospitalized in Pennsylvania, 1,115 of whom are in intensive care units. More than 600 of the patients in ICUs are on a ventilator or breathing machine. 

“This is a significant challenge for our health-care system in Pennsylvania, and one that actually our health-care system has never faced before,” said state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.

Since the pandemic started, 426,444 total coronavirus cases have been reported in Pennsylvania and at least 11,373 people have died from COVID-19 or coronavirus-related illness.

“In the last week alone, we have reported close to 1,000 new deaths across Pennsylvania,” Levine said.

RELATED: The Number of Available ICU Beds in Pennsylvania Is Dwindling Fast

Wolf said he understands the economic concerns associated with stricter coronavirus mitigation measures.

He addressed the many issues facing the restaurant industry, which has struggled greatly throughout the pandemic.

“It is hardest on them and it is not the fault of the owners of the businesses,” he said.

“I would like to find other means to help and support financially the businesses that have been hit hardest by this virus.”

However, Wolf made it clear he doesn’t want to see any more strain on the state’s healthcare systems.

“If we don’t slow the spread of this dangerous virus right now, if we don’t do this, the reality is that COVID-19 will overwhelm our hospitals,” Wolf said. “That is dangerous for everyone who needs medical care in a hospital for any reason.”