York County up to 43 cases of COVID-19, Pa. has almost 3,400 with 38 deaths

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

York County has six new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 43 since the outbreak began, the state Department of Health reported Sunday.

Statewide, the number of positive cases is up to 3,394 with 38 deaths. No deaths have been reported in York County.

The majority of cases, 41%, are in people from ages 25 to 49, the report said, while the majority of hospitalizations, 49%, are in the 65+ age group.

In preparation for any potential surge in COVID-19 cases, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the Department of Health has a supply of ventilators, with new ones arriving this month that were recently purchased. Ventilators, which are used to assist in breathing, have become essential to some patients with COVID-19 for respiratory support, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.    

"The key to the integrity of our health care system is going to be to limit the size of that surge," Levine said during a news conference Sunday. "And that is why the early implementation of the stay-at-home order and the business order ... is critical to Pennsylvania's response."

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Gov. Tom Wolf put another 2.5 million Pennsylvanians, including York County residents, under an order that restricts people from leaving home. The order began Friday, the same day his administration enlisted major facilities to help with hospital overflows, according to The Associated Press.

On Saturday, there were 2,751 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.

There are 30,061 people in the state who have tested negative as of Sunday.

Levine said that in practicing healthy habits to limit the spread of coronavirus, it's essential to limit contact with elderly loved ones, especially those living in nursing homes. 

"We need to make sure our loved ones in nursing homes stay safe," Levine said. "It's very important to stay in touch, and I know how challenging it is to not visit a loved one." Levine said her mother is in a nursing home, and she hasn't been able to visit her since the outbreak began.

As of Sunday, there were 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes, which make up 0.1% of the nursing-home population, Levine said.

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 Along with daily reminders that include thorough hand-washing, cleaning of surfaces and covering coughs, Levine said the state will continue monitoring counties on a day-by-day basis to determine stay-at-home orders. 

On Sunday, Wolf requested a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide additional support for state, county and municipal governments.

This support would also help certain nonprofits and individuals who are struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak, a news release states.

If Wolf's request is approved, the federal program will provide assistance programs including disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, community disaster loans, a disaster supplemental nutrition program and statewide hazard mitigation.

"It is not known how quickly the President will decide to grant or deny Governor Wolf’s major disaster request for additional federal assistance," the release reads. 

Wolf signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for the COVID-19 outbreak, a required step to request a federal major disaster declaration, on March 6.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.

WellSpan's second drive-thru coronavirus testing site in York County is open at the York Expo Center, Friday, March 20, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo