PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The number of coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania jumped up yet again. On Sunday, health officials announced an additional 643 cases, bringing the statewide total to 3,394.
Four deaths related to COVID-19 were also reported, raising the total to 38. Four more people have died from the virus in Philadelphia, bringing the citywide total to eight.
According to health officials, five of the eight fatalities were nursing home residents.
“In other cities in the U.S., we have seen that nursing homes are particularly susceptible to outbreaks of COVID-19,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “and we’re starting to see that here in Philadelphia. This is why it is of critical importance that nursing homes across the city and region immediately take action to protect their residents and staff by banning all visitors, requiring all staff to wear masks, and regularly screening staff for symptoms. These efforts can save lives and should be implemented immediately.”
Locally, there are 68 coronavirus cases in Berks County; 203 in Bucks County; 137 in Chester County; 276 in Delaware County; 151 in Lehigh County; 431 in Montgomery County; 126 in Northampton County; and 890 in Philadelphia.
“Our notable increase in cases over the past week indicates we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Pennsylvania Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”
Levine also says over 30,000 patients in Pennsylvania have tested negative for the coronavirus.
Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date.
On Sunday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf requested a major disaster declaration from President Trump through FEMA to provide additional support for state, county and municipal governments and certain nonprofits.
That request comes one day after he called on retired health professionals to join the fight against the coronavirus.
All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide at least through April 6. Currently, 22 counties are under stay-at-home orders.