New COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania soared past 10,000 on April 4, with 1,597 new positive cases. Deaths also climbed by 34, including one in Allegheny County, marking a statewide 33% increase in new deaths since Friday.
This follows Friday’s request from Gov. Tom Wolf asking all Pennsylvanians to wear face masks when leaving home.
Later on Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump shared new CDC guidance recommending cloth masks in public for everyone.
The state and the CDC say surgical masks and N95 respirator masks should still be reserved for healthcare workers or patients in healthcare settings. Homemade masks, paper masks or even bandanas and scarves can be used by the general public in addition to social distancing. Cloth masks should be washed after each use. Wolf’s office has released resources instructing Pennsylvanians on how to make homemade masks.
Until recently, the public has generally been advised against wearing face masks by all authorities, particularly because of reported shortages for healthcare workers. Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine addressed this shift: “What’s changed is the views of the public health community, nationally and internationally, on the utility of the whole community using masks.”
Saturday’s reported spike marks yet another record single-day increase of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania. There are now 10,017 confirmed cases spanning 64 of the 67 counties. Elk, Jefferson and Fulton counties currently have no positive COVID-19 cases.
In total, 136 Pennsylvanians are reported to have died of COVID-19.
A man wearing a face mask waits for the bus along Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill on March 27. (Photo by Kimberly Rowen/PublicSource)