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Pennsylvania Capitol closing to public amid virus surge

The Associated Press
FILE- In this file photo from Nov. 19, 2019, the dome of the Pennsylvania Capitol is visible through the trees in Harrisburg, Pa. There are 203 House seats and 25 of 50 Senate seats up for election on Nov. 3, when voters will decide whether to extend gains Democrats made two years ago or tighten the majority hold Republicans have long held over both chambers of the Pennsylvania Legislature. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HARRISBURG — The Capitol complex in Harrisburg will close to the public until further notice because of a statewide surge in coronavirus infections, officials said Thursday.

The closure order takes effect Monday and will apply to all interior venues in the Capitol. Rallies, tours, choir performances, receptions and other public gatherings will be canceled, the Department of General Services said. 

The governor's office and General Assembly will continue to operate, with access limited to employees and others with credentials, the agency said.

The Capitol is closing amid sharp increases in infections, hospitalizations and deaths statewide and across the nation.

Pennsylvania is averaging 6,800 new virus cases per day, up 23% in two weeks, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project. 

Hospitals are coping with a surge in COVID-19 patients, with more than 80% of the state's ICU beds now occupied. Deaths in Pennsylvania have more than doubled since Nov. 18 to an average of 94 per day. 

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