HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania reported its highest one-day total of confirmed coronavirus cases since May, while Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh and 1.2 million residents, reported its highest one-day total of positive tests Thursday that officials called a larger increase than expected. The rising figures, and rising rate of positive tests, come as health officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny County point to people socializing in bars and returning from beach vacations and travel to coronavirus hot spots in other parts of the U.S.
Officials said there were more than 830 people who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to above 88,000. The state last recorded more than 800 new positive tests in May. It also reported another 25 coronavirus-related deaths for a statewide total of 6,712 since early March.
While the state’s hospitalizations for the virus have continued to fall, officials said the percentage of people testing positive has been rising the last two weeks.
Allegheny County reported more than 230 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, a day after it reported a single-day high of 110.
“While an increase in the number of cases was expected — this is larger than expected,” county officials said in a statement. “The expectation is that the numbers will also significantly increase again tomorrow.”
On Twitter, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who lives in Allegheny County, called Thursday’s figure “truly alarming.” The county’s percentage of positive tests and hospitalizations are also on the rise.
The forthcoming numbers out of Allegheny are truly alarming. Well beyond any spread we saw in March and April.
👉 Masking has ZERO to do with politics or who you’re voting for. 🔴🔵
Increasingly, masking may be the best tool -until a vaccine- to keep us open + safe.
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) July 2, 2020
County health authorities say the median age of the people testing positive is 29. They are asking residents to consider postponing plans to travel to a coronavirus hot spot, and to self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested when returning.
The county, Pennsylvania’s second-most populous after Philadelphia, had avoided the higher case counts that hit Philadelphia and much of eastern Pennsylvania in the spring. But over the weekend, Allegheny County officials ordered a halt to drinking alcohol in bars and restaurants in response to a spike in positive tests.
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