PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania has surpassed 43,000. The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced an additional 885 cases on Monday, bringing the statewide total to 43,255.
The death toll is now at 1,795.READ MORE: Damian Lillard Wants To Play With Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons: Report
Gov. Tom Wolf is requiring health care providers and medical facilities conducting COVID-19 tests to follow the Department of Health’s mandate to include race and ethnicity data in demographics provided to the department with test results.
He’s also asking for more free and accessible testing for minority and vulnerable populations.
“All Pennsylvanians deserve the same access to testing and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wolf said. “That’s regardless of race, income, location, and every other factor. The goal for this task force is to help communicate issues with how the pandemic is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations.”
Wolf acknowledged information that COVID-19 is impacting minority populations, especially African Americans, the hardest across the country, but Pennsylvania is lacking the statistics needed to see the severity of the issue.READ MORE: Biden Administration Enacts New Travel Rules Due To Spread Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant
On Saturday, Dr. Levine said people shouldn’t be expecting a quick return to their regular way of life even after pandemic restrictions begin to ease in some counties next month. She asked how crowds and social distancing might mix in the months ahead in places such as restaurants, playgrounds and carnivals, forecast no quick end to “the new normal.”
“I think that the idea — and the governor has spoken on this — that we’re going to go back exactly to how we were before, at least for the foreseeable future, is unlikely,” Levine said. “I think there will be a new normal. But as the governor often says, Pennsylvanians are strong and resilient and we will get through this.”
Asked earlier whether social distancing measures would continue during the summer, Levine said it was too soon to tell, citing the progressive easing of business closure and stay-at-home orders to begin May 8 in some counties.
“It’s too early to decide what things will look like in the middle of the summer,” Levine said.MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: District Attorney Larry Krasner, Gun Violence Task Force To Announce Arrest, Charges Of Gun Trafficking Suspect
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.