COVID-19 Update, April 2: Cases spike statewide, locally; two deaths reported in Chesco

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

The official map of COVID-19 cases in Chester County as provided by the Chester County Health Department on April 2.

Case numbers of COVID-19 spiked sharply both statewide and in Chester County yesterday — with the report of two more deaths in the county on Wednesday.

Statewide, the state Department of Health jumped by 1,211 to a total of 7,016 with 16 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 90 from COVID-19. 47,698 patients have tested negative so far statewide.

“The continued rise in cases combined with our increasing deaths from COVID-19 reflects the seriousness of this situation,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We need everyone to listen to the orders in place and to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We know that these prolonged mitigation effects have been difficult for everyone, but it is essential that everyone follows these orders and does not go out unless they absolutely must.”

The entire state is now under a Stay At Home order – with non “life-sustaining” businesses and all schools ordered closed.

In Chester County, of the two death recorded in county, one was an 87-year-old man, a resident of Montgomery County, who died at a county hospital. A 79-year-old man from Honey Brook was yesterday’s other victim to the virus.

Overall, the Chester County Department of Health reports 207 positive tests, up 25 in a day, with 1,763 negative tests.

Responding to these additional deaths, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline said,  “On behalf of the whole Chester County community, we express our deepest sympathies to families of these two individuals.

“The death of both of these men reinforces the fact that older people with chronic health issues are the most susceptible to this virus.  Right now, social distancing is the most practical ‘cure’ that we have to beat COVID-19, so we implore everyone to stay at home – for the sake of the elderly and for the sake of everyone.”

County officials talked about how difficult the pandemic is for county residents — but also how important it is for residents to honor the Stay At Home orders.

“This is a very stressful situation for everyone, but especially the families who lose someone to this dreadful disease,” Chester County Coroner Dr. Christina VandePol said. “We are in close communication with Chester County hospital staff and funeral homes as COVID-19 deaths are reported.  As the Commissioners said, everyone must continue to stay home. It IS making a difference and will prevent deaths.”

For more information, Chester County has a source for all information relating to coronavirus, including a dashboard that provides geographic and demographic information on all reported cases in the county, can be found at

Meanwhile, state officials continue to make moves and rules adjustments in light of the pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for human healthcare workers, the Pennsylvania Dog Law that requires shelters and rescues to spay/neuter dogs and cats prior to adoption would be waived for pets adopted during active COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Pennsylvania.

“This waiver is not something we take lightly; but it’s a matter of weighing the costs,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Waiving the requirement to spay or neuter prior to adoption allows us to conserve critical PPE supplies and also limit the risk of exposure for veterinarians.”

The waiver comes with a contingency: shelters must keep a list of adopters to follow up with post-pandemic and provide a copy of all contracts to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Once the pandemic is in the past, shelters would be required to follow up on all pets adopted during COVID-19 mitigation. Adoptive pet owners will have up to 120 days from the time of adoption – timeframe to be re-evaluated as necessary – to have the procedure completed and come into compliance.

State Police continues enforcement of business closure orders, with 13 warnings issued statewide yesterday.

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