COVID-19 cases are present in 65 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Allegheny County reported one new death Sunday, bringing the total to four
New COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania continue to increase by more than 1,000 a day, but the rate of growth has slowed somewhat.
Over the past week, the state reported record increases each day but just 1,493 new cases Sunday — 104 fewer new cases than Saturday. The state also reported 14 new deaths Sunday, which is less than half the number of new reported deaths on Saturday.
This follows Friday’s request from Gov. Tom Wolf asking all Pennsylvanians to wear face masks when leaving home. Later on Friday, 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.”
On Saturday, the governor’s office updated the state’s stay-at-home guidelines to encourage religious institutions to avoid in-person gatherings in favor of alternatives that keep residents at home, according to a press release. Several religious leaders of different faiths across the state have voiced support for this move, including Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Council of Churches Director of Advocacy and Ecumenical Outreach Rev. Sandra L. Strauss.
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