HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine continued their ‘thank you tour’ Monday at UPMC Pinnacle Osteopathic Hospital.
The two offered their gratitude to the medical professionals who have been on the front line during the coronavirus pandemic. They also stressed how everyone can thank health care professionals — by wearing a mask.
Meanwhile, a look at the Pennsylvania map shows lots of green. The commonwealth is just about completely re-opened, although there are still red alerts. The coronavirus curve shows peaks and valleys. A few weeks ago, the case count was down in the 300s per day, but recently those numbers crept back into the 500s.
Is the state considering pushing some counties back to the yellow phase of re-opening?
“We have no plans to do that at this time,” Levine said.
Allegheny County has spiked in recent days and local officials think that young people socializing in bars and restaurants is the culprit. They’ve decided to ban alcohol consumption inside eateries and bars.
It’s a targeted response to a specific threat and the governor supports it.
“We know more now,” Wolf said. “We have more resources now. We’re not where we need to be, but in a better position so we don’t need to do the broad, Draconian thing that we did three months ago.”
But we still need to wear masks, according to every speaker at Monday’s press briefing in a hospital parking lot. If you don’t believe the politicians, how about the physicians?
“Studies point to their ability to slow the spread of the disease and actually reduce the number of deaths caused by Covid-19,” said Dr. John Goldman, UPMC Pinnacle. “So please, for your own health, and the health of those around you, wear a mask in public.”
Regardless of the recommendation, state officials have noticed a large number of Pennsylvanians flouting the order and refusing to cover up. They say enforcement is up to each of us.
“We’re not looking to put people in jail for not wearing a mask,” Levine explained. “But it really needs to become socially unacceptable to not wear a mask in public. Just like it’s not acceptable to smoke in stores. Because you’re putting everyone else at risk.”
Neighboring states New York and New Jersey have announced a ban on visitors from hot-spot states like Arizona, Florida, or Texas. Wolf was asked if he’d consider such a move for PA.
He shrugged and asked how exactly would that be enforced.
Dr. Goldman said while the number of Covid-19 patients in the hospital has remained steady, the illness seems to be less severe.
He speculated that could be because more widespread testing means the infections are being caught sooner and treated before they become more severe. He also thinks it possible that more younger people are now getting it and they are better able to withstand it and avoid deadly outcomes.
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