Officials encourage personal responsibility
State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine in a press event Monday announced “a concerning milestone,” in Pennsylvania having reached 4,405 people hospitalized by COVID-19, with 914 of those undergoing intensive care.
She said the state surpassed 360,000 positives to-date, about 60 percent of whom are considered recovered (being 30-plus days without symptoms).
Officials are imploring residents to download the exposure-tracking COVID Alert PA application to help them avoid spreader events and increase self-monitoring. More than 623,000 residents have do so thus far and the age for downloading and use has been lowered to 13 with parental consent.
State Director of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff asked recently that residents be mindful and supportive of guidelines even as they cope with changes. “One thing has not changed; citizens have an individual responsibility to contribute to proper behavior and to adhere to public health guidance to protect themselves and others.
“Public health controls are only as effective as the willingness of individuals to carry them out.”
The testing results following the Thanksgiving holiday may soon show whether that call was heeded, even as guidelines are again updated, much to the frustration of local businesses.
Huff said the state now has more than 1,600 contact tracers who are coordinating with local groups supporting the initiatives, and that tracing efforts are not to be feared. A rumored shortfall of tests before the holiday was also denied by administration officials, who likened the long waits people were seeing for their tests to the sheer volume of those suddenly asking for one.
As of Monday, the state has 361,464 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10,383 deaths; the city of Bethlehem has 2,648 confirmed and 84 deaths.