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COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Coronavirus Numbers Appear To Be Plateauing, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine Says

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — Pennsylvania's coronavirus numbers appear to be plateauing, and January looks "much more hopeful" if people follow mitigation measures over the holidays, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday.

"Right now, we are seeing certainly a plateau, maybe even a slight decrease in our numbers," said Dr. Levine, noting that it's "always" lower on Sundays and Mondays.

The percent-positivity rate for the week of Dec. 11 to 17 dropped to 15.8%, down from 16.2% the week before.

"If everybody does the right thing, if everybody stands united and continues those mitigation measures, pretty much stays home during the holidays, then things look much more hopeful for January," said Dr. Levine. "If people travel, if they have large and small gatherings, then we'll be more challenged."

Gov. Tom Wolf has imposed a series of shutdowns through Jan. 4, including youth sports and other extracurricular activities, gyms, theaters and casinos, and indoor dining at restaurants amid rising infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths. The shutdown orders have drawn lawsuits, and a growing list of businesses vowing to defy the orders and stay open.

The daily load of positive cases has dropped since Wolf imposed the restrictions on Dec. 12, although hospitalizations have continued to rise.


Meanwhile, more than 17,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to health care workers at Pennsylvania hospitals, said Dr. Levine, as hospitals remain stressed by coronavirus patient loads and a second vaccine from Moderna is expected to arrive this week.

Dr. Levine said 87 hospitals have thus far received doses of the first vaccine, from Pfizer, with another 30,000 doses due to arrive this week. In addition, hospitals in the state are slated to start receiving 198,000 doses of the newly approved Moderna vaccine this week, Levine said.

As part of a federal partnership, CVS and Walgreen's next week will start on-site vaccination services for residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities across the state, Levine said. Those facilities will receive the Pfizer vaccine, she said.

In the meantime, Levine said even people who are receiving the vaccine should continue to observe efforts to stem the spread of the virus, including wearing a mask and social-distancing protocols.

(TM and © Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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