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Coronavirus Latest: Pennsylvania Joins Regional Purchasing Consortium As COVID-19 Cases Climb Above 49,000; Philadelphia Cases Rise To 15,854

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- On Sunday, Pennsylvania joined forces with New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island to launch a regional purchasing consortium to procure personal protection equipment, coronavirus tests, ventilators and other medical equipment. This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania climbed to 49,267.

New York Gov. Andrew Como announced the regional purchasing consortium during a joint press conference with the regional governors.

Como says working together will increase the market power and help prevent price-gouging.

The states will be looking for suppliers from within the United States capable of supplying the regional group of items needed for the next three months, instead of purchasing mass quantities of items outside of the country.

"By working together we can combine our strengths to build the capacities we all need. We can exploit our market size to encourage producers to make what we need, we can exploit our financial strength to give that encouragement added weight, and we can exploit the great research institutions and the brainpower in our region to increase our chances of success. I look forward to working with my fellow governors—and my neighbors-to build a strong regional supply chain," Gov. Tom Wolf said.

State health officials reported 962 more COVID-19 cases along with 26 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 2,444.

In Philadelphia, there are now 15,854 in the city after health officials announced an additional 327 COVID-19 cases. Twenty-two more people have died due to coronavirus complications in the city, bringing the death toll to 727.

Over 191,000 patients statewide have tested negative for the virus.

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On Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf lifted some pandemic restrictions on 24 largely rural counties in the northwest and north-central regions of Pennsylvania, moving them from red to yellow in the state's color-coded reopening plan. The most heavily populated areas, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, will remain locked down, Wolf said.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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