The latest on the coronavirus outbreak: Monday

Coronavirus

The latest in Pennsylvania:

According to the State Department of Health, yesterday brought the highest single-day jump in cases here in Pennsylvania since testing began earlier this month. There are 3,465 confirmed cases of coronavirus here in Pennsylvania including 43 deaths.

Three of those deaths were in the Midstate with two in Lancaster County and one in Cumberland.

There are now 208 total coronavirus cases in the Midstate:

  • 8 in Adams County
  • 22 in Cumberland County
  • 35 in Dauphin County
  • 11 in Franklin County
  • 1 in Juniata County
  • 67 in Lancaster County
  • 19 in Lebanon County
  • 1 in Mifflin County
  • 1 in Perry County
  • 43 in York County

Penn State says someone at its Harrisburg campus has tested positive for coronavirus. They say that person got sick during the week of March 16. No classes were being held on campus at that time.

Governor Tom Wolf is trying to get more support for the state to help deal with its response to COVID-19 by asking for a major disaster declaration from the President through FEMA. The state has already received an emergency declaration under a nationwide proclamation but this declaration would provide even more help for things like disaster unemployment assistance and crisis counseling. It is not clear if President Trump will make a decision.

The Pennsylvania National Guard is helping with FEMA’s response to the coronavirus. Over the weekend 25 members of the 103rd engineer battalion helped unload federal equipment at the Glen Mills School in Delaware County where a federal medical station is being established. Once everything is set up, the facility will be able to house patients if regional hospitals are full as long as they do not have COVID-19 and have less severe conditions.

An important reminder this morning about the dangers of the virus and its effects on senior citizens. At yesterday’s press briefing, State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says she knows people are concerned about loved ones but says they should not visit them at nursing homes or other long term care facilities. Because of other health issues, they are more vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19. Right now the state is seeing cases at 5% of the nursing homes in the state. The majority are in Southeast Pennsylvania. Levine says her own mother is in a personal care home and she can’t see her so she calls her twice a day instead. Levine said special arrangements can be made with a provider if the family is dealing with an end-of-life situation.

Middletown’s volunteer fire company has created a system to quickly and easily disinfect the station and its equipment. The disinfectant is sprayed through an automotive paint gun. Not only does it benefit the fire department, but it’s also helping the borough police and south-central EMS stay safe, too. The fire department posted a video and instruction on their website for other first responders to check out.

Nationwide impact:

The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is now 143,025 with 2,514 deaths.

Prepare for at least another month of avoiding get-togethers. President Trump has extended the nation’s social distancing guidelines to April 30 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Confirmed cases keep climbing and health officials say people still need to maintain a safe distance from one another. The U.S. has the most confirmed cases worldwide. Doctor Fauci told CNN this weekend that projections he has examined show the disease would kill between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans and infect possibly millions.

New accusations from President Trump about the lack of medical supplies. He is now claiming some hospitals are “hoarding ventilators” and he’s asking reporters to investigate. The President made the claim without providing evidence or naming facilities after meeting with several companies to discuss how they’re ramping up the production of medical supplies. Later, he doubled down, questioning the true reason behind the surge in demand for masks especially in New York. Overnight, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office called the claim “ludicrous” adding “There is no hoarding or conspiracy going on here. Just a simple fact: our doctors and nurses need masks. That’s the sad, unchanging truth unless the federal government steps up and protects our frontline workers.” In Louisiana, another hot zone, the governor says the state’s health care system could become overwhelmed by early April because of a lack of supplies. Doctors and nurses across the country say they’re now seeing the critical shortages, which they’ve feared for weeks. For some, the risk has grown to be too much including a nurse, who said she didn’t feel properly protected by her hospital so she quit.

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