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COVID In Pennsylvania: Commonwealth Surpasses 20,000 Deaths From Coronavirus

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) -- Pennsylvania has surpassed 20,000 deaths from the coronavirus, the state Department of Health reported Thursday. The department said another 260 people died from the virus, pushing the total past 20,120.

Pennsylvania's seven-day average of deaths reported hit its highest point in the pandemic earlier this month, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

However, the numbers of new infections reported and coronavirus patients in hospitals and intensive care units have continued to drop throughout January, according to state figures.

Another approximately 5,660 people tested positive, bring the state's total to almost 790,000 during the pandemic, the department said.

The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has dropped below 4,900, while the number of patients in the intensive care unit with Covid-19 has dropped below 900.

Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older, according to the department.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is ready to tackle what has become his first priority -- the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden will now have to tackle vaccine shortages and funding debates.

Biden signed Thursday afternoon 10 executive orders which provide guidance to safely reopen schools, provide up to 100 million vaccine doses by the end of April, and invoke the Defense Production Act to enable that goal.

"A big issue here, which may seem obvious to many, is supply. We need more supplies of not just the vaccines, but materials to get them into the arms of Americans to effectively get this done," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

CBS News correspondent Sklyer Henry contributed to this report.

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


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