As virus ebbs, Wolf touts increased testing, contact tracing

Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 19: Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf speaks on stage during Pennsylvania Conference For Women at Pennsylvania Convention Center on November 19, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Pennsylvania Conference for Women)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — With 18 counties preparing to move to the least restrictive phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan, the number of new virus infections continues to fall throughout Pennsylvania and officials say they’re making strides in their ability to manage flareups.

Virus testing has increased from 50,000 in the last week of April to nearly 80,000 last week, Wolf said Tuesday. And a new contact tracing program — in which infected people are swiftly isolated and people they came into contact with are quarantined — has ramped up as well, he said.

Wolf is moving 18 counties from the “yellow” phase of his reopening plan to the “green” phase, meaning most restrictions are lifted.

After initially asking the state to remaining in yellow, commissioners in Centre County, home to Penn State University, opted Tuesday to go along with Wolf and move to green on Friday. The commissioners had cited concern about protecting poll workers during the June 2 primary.

In the green phase, restaurants and bars, salons and barber shops, gyms, theaters, malls and casinos can all open at reduced capacity, according to Wolf’s reopening plan. People will still be asked to wear masks in public and observe social distancing.

Additional details on the green phase are expected to be released this week.

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