Pennsylvania tops 50K with virus; rate of new cases declines

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania passed 50,000 reported coronavirus infections on Monday, but the rate of spread has slowed and health officials say the state should be in a better position by fall to respond to and contain fresh outbreaks.

More than a month after Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all residents to stay at home and schools and nonessential businesses to close, parts of the state are getting ready to reopen this week.

“We were able to bend and straighten the curve so that we did not have the size of the peak, the surge, that we we were talking about, and it didn’t overwhelm health care systems. I think that is a success,” Wolf’s health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, said during a video news conference Monday.

While warning of a “significant potential increase of cases” in the fall, Levine predicted that greatly expanded testing and a new contact tracing program — in which infected people are swiftly isolated and people they came into contact with are quarantined — should help Pennsylvania keep a lid on the virus.

“I think we’ll be in a much better position in the fall to be able to try to prevent any significant outbreaks and as much community spread of COVID-19,” Levine said.

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