Pennsylvanians don’t have any new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 just yet, but state leaders say new recommendations will come soon if transmission doesn’t slow.
Gov. Tom Wolf doubled down on his pleas to Pennsylvanians to wear a mask and stay home on Monday, and said that if the number of new cases doesn’t slow, new restrictions will be on their way.
“We have been surprised as to the rate of increase we’ve seen,” Wolf said. “If this continues, that’s going to call for one set of actions, if that changes in the next couple of days we might have a different set of decisions to make.”
Pennsylvania announced a two-day total of 14,960 new cases statewide from the weekend, with 8,630 new cases reported Sunday and 6,330 cases reported Monday. In total, 5,300 patients are hospitalized with the virus, including 1,107 receiving care in intensive care units. Last week, 14.4% of COVID tests came back positive, officials said.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine noted that there is moderate or substantial community spread in every county in Pennsylvania. She again urged Pennsylvanians to consider the potential impact of what they do outside their homes.
“We need to take a look and to analyze what we are doing and how our actions impact the entire community,” Levine said. “What the virus has taught us is that we are all interconnected and there are some activities that are just not safe.”
Officials said any additional restrictions wouldn’t be a blanket shutdown, as Pennsylvania saw in the spring, but would be more targeted. While calling the spike in hospitalizations “dire,” Wolf added that hospitals and medical professionals are in a better place than in the spring and know how to treat the virus better.
Wolf indicated that any restrictions put in place wont work if Pennsylvanians don’t listen and work together to slow the spread of the virus.
“I don’t think that it’s banging our heads against a wall,” Wolf said. “I think it’s saying let’s recognize, maybe in a way that we didn’t, that we are all in this together and we are all sharing in the responsibility. We have to keep preaching this gospel but I think it’s important that whatever solution we come p with, whatever we do here at the state, it has to accompanied by recognition that we all share responsibility for making this work.”
Wolf said that decisions can’t be based on one or two days of test results, and that officials will continue to review seven-day and 14-day testing trends.
“As to whether we need to do more, we’ll be making that decision in the next few days so I think we are trying things all the time,” Wolf said. “If we can’t change the curve fairly quickly, then our healthcare system is going to be overwhelmed and that’s gonna be bad for everyone.”