On Thursday, Pa. reported most daily COVID-19 cases since April

The Associated Press
In this photo made on Monday, July 20, 2020, Kiva A. Fisher-Green, center, watches as nurse Ruth John, right, takes a sample from Walter Lewis for a COVID-19 test in the driveway of the Alma Illery Medical Center in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In March and April when Philadelphia and its surroundings became one of the nation's hot-spots for COVID-19 cases, Pittsburgh seemed at the time, to be under more control: the city racked up a fraction of the coronavirus cases as the other side of Pennsylvania.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pennsylvania reported its highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in more than five months on Thursday, with the governor expressing concern but contending the state is in a much better position now to handle the influx than it was at the beginning of the pandemic.

The Department of Health said another 1,376 people tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, the second consecutive day that new infections rose above 1,300. Thursday’s statewide case count was the highest since April 30, when Pennsylvania recorded 1,397 new infections.

The average daily number of new confirmed cases is up by more than 36% over the past two weeks, according to The COVID Tracking Project. And a greater percentage of tests are coming back positive.

Health officials cite increased spread among college and university students. Penn State University alone has reported nearly 3,000 positive virus tests at its main campus in State College, and surrounding Centre County currently leads Pennsylvania in the number of infected people per capita.

“I am very concerned” about the spike in infections, Gov. Tom Wolf said at a news conference Thursday, but “we’re at a different place in terms of how we can address it.”

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He said hospitals have plenty of capacity, the state has large stockpiles of personal protective equipment, and testing and tracing has been expanded. He also asserted that more people are complying with a statewide mask mandate.

“More and more Pennsylvanians are making up their minds to wear a mask,” Wolf said. “We’ve become pretty good at it in Pennsylvania, and that’s making a difference, I think. A big difference.”

Pennsylvania reported 27 more deaths, raising the statewide toll to 8,299. The average daily number of deaths has been relatively stable for months after peaking in May.