No new Pennsylvania lockdowns during fall surge in COVID cases

Associated Press

Pa. won’t bring back the yellow and red shutdown phases yet, but warns against holiday gatherings

HARRISBURG – The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting… Pennsylvania officials are not currently considering returning to the color-coded shutdown phases used earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Thursday, despite an unprecedented number of new infections reported this week as the fall case surge continues.

However, Pennsylvanians should not hold holiday gatherings with anyone outside their household for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, Levine said. She and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy both asked residents to avoid all social gatherings, parties, or dinners, which are spreading the virus.   “That’s a tremendous sacrifice that we’re asking people to make, but it is absolutely necessary,” Levine said.

The numbers of people hospitalized and dying each day in Pennsylvania — though rising — remain much lower than in the first peak of the pandemic, even though daily new infection numbers are now higher. Officials are monitoring those rates, which generally lag case numbers in climbing, Levine said.

The increasing infection numbers caused the Philadelphia School District on Thursday to say it may have to delay its plan to bring some students back to classrooms on Nov. 30, while Murphy declared New Jersey is confronting a “second wave” as the rate of people testing positive — 6.5% — exceeded epidemiologists’ 5% caution threshold.

Hospitals are under stress in the Midwest, parts of Europe are going under new lockdown or watching hospital beds fill, and India, Brazil, and Russia have logged the world’s highest total case counts behind the United States, which is close to reaching nine million cases.

“The second wave of the coronavirus is no longer something that is off in the future,” Murphy said. “It is coming, and it is coming now.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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