HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — All of Pennsylvania is now united by staying apart.
On Wednesday, Gov. Wolf placed all of Pennsylvania under a stay at home order. Hours earlier, the state health department announced a new one-day spike in numbers with nearly 1,000 additional COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania and 74 deaths.
This puts Pennsylvania at 5,805 confirmed cases for COVID-19. Now that we know what we’re dealing with — how did we get here?
“Some of you might think that a month is too long to go without seeing your friends and family, but if we don’t do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19, there are some people you may never see again,” said Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Pennsylvania.
It began on March 6 with two presumed positives in Delaware and Wayne counties. The patient in Wayne County had traveled globally to a place where the virus was present, while the Delaware patient contracted it from domestic travel.
“Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health.
It spread, fast. On March 13, a week after the first cases were reported in Pennsylvania, Gov. Wolf ordered the closure of schools for two weeks, and the Midstate saw it’s first cases in Cumberland County.
“We have two adults and one child in Cumberland County,” Dr. Levine said.
At that time, we had 41 COVID-19 cases.
March 16 was a busy day for the governor. He declared a state of emergency, urged non-essential businesses to close and increased mitigation efforts in counties surrounding Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. That day brought the statewide total to 76 cases.
Two days later, the first Pennsylvanian in Northampton County died and the amount of cases increased to 154 statewide.
“Today is the first death of what will likely become many,” Wolf said.
On March 23, the first round of stay at home orders were issued in those same counties near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. That day Pennsylvania saw 644 cases and 6 deaths.
Four days later, on March 27, cases skyrocketed to 2,218 positives and 22 deaths, while Gov. Wolf signed four bills into law to fight the virus.
“We know our hospitals will face capacity issues,” Wolf said.
On March 28, the Midstate saw its first deaths in Cumberland and Lancaster counties, and the statewide total increased to 2,751 cases and 34 deaths.
Finally, on March 31, half of Pennsylvania’s counties were ordered to stay home as 4,853 cases and 63 deaths were announced.
“If we don’t stop the spread of this disease, we could easily have a death toll in the thousands,” Wolf said.