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Pa. health secretary: Hospitals are OK for now

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed that there are 20 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth, bringing the statewide total to 96. All are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.

Additional cases are as follows: two in Allegheny County; one in Beaver County; three in Bucks County; two in Chester County; five in Cumberland County; two in Delaware County; two in Montgomery County; two in Philadelphia County; and one in Washington County.

Monroe County still has eight cases. Lehigh and Northampton each have one and Carbon and Schuylkill have no reported cases.

“Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm; stay home and stay safe,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, state secretary of health. “We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is stay home.”

There are 879 patients who have tested negative. With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Levine said hospitals are not overtaxed yet, but with the amount of cases on the rise, it could be a different picture in the next few weeks.

“We’re working closely with hospitals to make sure they have the equipment and supplies they need to deal with ill patients,” Levine said. “Hospitals are still OK right now, but we’re preparing for any eventuality.”

Updates on the amount of cases in the state will only come once a day, Levine said, due to an increase in the volume of those cases. While she said, there is no sustained community spread of the virus yet, cases are getting harder to track back to the patient’s likely point of exposure.

“For a majority of the cases, we’ve been able to track it back to where they were exposed, but with so many positives we can now assume there are cases where we can’t track it back to the source,” Levine said.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, flanked by Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, provides an update on the coronavirus known as COVID-19 on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP)