COVID-19 hospitalizations rise; 24 long-term-care facilities report their first cases

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — COVID-19 hospitalizations are at their highest level in months but remain well below their April peak, State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in a news conference Monday. She also implored Pennsylvanians to take measures to not only avoid contracting the virus but also to help identify whom they might have unknowingly infected if they test positive for the virus.

Levine provided underlying figures driving and resulting from the daily case counts that now routinely exceed 1,000 in Pennsylvania. Among them:

  • 1,104 people are currently hospitalized in Pennsylvania with COVID-19, up from 841 a week earlier. Still, that is well below hospitalization counts that peaked above 3,000 in April.
  • New daily cases have topped 1,000 for 21 days in a row. New cases have topped 2,000 three times during the past week.
  • 24 long-term-care facilities reported their first-ever COVID-19 cases during the past week, accounting for some of the state’s 800 new cases in long-term-care facilities during that period.
  • 5 percent of COVID-19 tests in Pennsylvania are now positive, a level Levine called “a crossroads.” The rate a week earlier was 4.2 percent.

To prevent themselves from contracting COVID-19, Levine repeated a plea for Pennsylvanians to wear masks, maintain social distance, wash their hands, and download the COVID Alert PA app, which helps automate contact tracing.

Regarding contact tracing, Levine implored residents who have tested positive to provide information to contact tracers about where they’ve been and whom they’ve been around. She said seven in 10 COVID-positive people contacted have not fully answered those questions. “We cannot improve the health of Pennsylvanians if we don’t know what puts them at risk,” she said.

Among those who have provided the information requested of them, 55 percent had been to a restaurant during the 14 days before their diagnosis, the period during which they could have unknowingly exposed someone else; 13 percent had been to a bar; and 11 percent had been to a fitness center, such as a gym.

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