Pa. Health Secretary warns of potential holiday surge as new wave of vaccinations begin

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania is making progress in the fight against the coronavirus, with a new wave of vaccinations starting Monday. However, health leaders are warning that our fight is far from over.

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said the state’s coronavirus numbers are trending in the right direction.

“We have seen a plateau and then even a slight decrease in terms of the number of new cases,” Levine said.

Dr. Levine says it’s partly because of new statewide restrictions put in place two weeks ago.

“I think it is a combination of the national trends and the mitigation orders that were put in place. And I think that they are working and our numbers have decreased,” Levine said.

Monday marks the start of a new wave of vaccinations as CVS and Walgreens start giving shots to seniors and workers at more than 120 nursing homes around the state.

There’s still a long way to go.

“It is going to take months to roll out this,” Levine said. “If you take a look at the number of patients, the number of individuals that are part of 1A in Pennsylvania, it’s probably a million or more people.”

Most Pennsylvanians won’t even have a shot at getting a vaccine for months.

“I can’t exactly say when we’ll be getting to the general public. But we’ve said before that we’re hopeful for late spring, certainly by early summer that the general public will be able to receive vaccinations,” Levine said.

With that countdown comes a warning.

“It’s critically important during the holiday weeks, as we approach new years for people to continue as I’ve said to continue their mitigation efforts, to continue to avoid large and small gatherings,” Levine said.

Dr. Levine said they are monitoring the numbers closely this week and plan to use that data to make a recommendation to the Governor’s office about whether or not they should lift the restrictions next Monday.

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