PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The number of coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania has topped 69,000 as the death toll surpassed 5,200. On Wednesday, health officials reported 780 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 69,417.
Another 113 people died from the virus, raising the commonwealth’s death toll to 5,265.
“As Pennsylvania continues to move forward in the process to reopen, we need to remember that the threat from COVID-19 has not gone away,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. “As counties move into the yellow and green phases, we must take personal responsibility to protect others. Wearing a mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are all steps we can take to help protect others, including our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”
Nearly 350,000 patients have tested negative for the virus.
Meanwhile, as the number of new virus infections continues to fall throughout Pennsylvania, officials say they’re making strides in their ability to manage flareups.
Virus testing increased from 50,000 in the last week of April to nearly 80,000 last week, Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday. And a new contact tracing program — in which infected people are swiftly isolated and people they came into contact with are quarantined — has ramped up as well, he said.
Wolf is moving 18 counties from the “yellow” phase of his reopening plan to the “green” phase, meaning most restrictions are lifted.
After initially asking the state to remain in yellow, commissioners in Centre County, home to Penn State University, opted Tuesday to go along with Wolf and move to green on Friday. The commissioners had cited concern about protecting poll workers during the June 2 primary.
In the green phase, restaurants and bars, salons and barber shops, gyms, theaters, malls and casinos can all open at reduced capacity, according to Wolf’s reopening plan. People will still be asked to wear masks in public and observe social distancing.
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