Watch CBS News

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine Calls Increase In Coronavirus Cases 'Sobering'

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) - Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says we all have to do our part if we want things to get better.

"This is a sobering look at reality. COVID-19 continues to impact our state and our country," Dr. Levine said during a press conference Monday.

Secretary of Health to Provide Update on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

Posted by Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday, November 9, 2020

This after the state reported its highest-ever number of new coronavirus cases at 4,035 on Saturday. Dr. Levine said the cases aren't just rising because they're doing more testing, and pointed to the state's rising percent-positivity, which sits at 7% statewide compared to 6% last week.

"We all need to take steps to prevent the spread of this virus and if we don't, we put ourselves, our families and our communities and our health systems at risk," Dr. Levine said.

The state reported over 6,000 new cases in the last 48 hours, and 530 of those cases are from Allegheny County.

"It's unnerving," said Wes Wise.

"I think it's really concerning. I'm glad that I only work downtown two days a week," said John Tribley.

The rising numbers begs the question of what is causing the increase in community spread.

"I don't know if we are getting burnt out on the social distancing and masks and all that," Wise said.

Wise isn't far off. According to Dr. Levine, the mitigation efforts are still in play, but people aren't being as honest about what they're doing.

"Only 21 percent of people that were asked answered the question whether or not they frequented a business or large gathering. This percentage unfortunately continues to decrease," Dr. Levine said.

She urged Pennsylvanians to answer the calls of contact tracers, who she said will leave a voicemail if people don't answer their phone.

"More and more people are not providing the information we need as part of our case investigations," Dr. Levine said.

She went on to say, "I cannot stress enough how absolutely critical this information is and how important it is to answer the call and participate fully in the case investigation and contact tracing process."

Without that information and cooperation, Dr. Levine said there is not a clear picture.

"We might see an increase at a correction prison or a long-term care facility, but what we are mostly seeing is that there is just community spread. We can't pinpoint it to one activity or one location. It's prevalent in the community and it's spreading," Dr. Levine said.

There are now 47 counties on the state's watch list and 52 have a percent-positivity rate higher than 5%. Levine is again calling on the public to be aware and mask up.

"The only way we are going to get this all under control is if we all get on the same page. We have to know what's going on, who's sick who isn't, and where you've been," Tribley said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.