COVID-19 Update, April 6: Cases, deaths continue to rise

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

A map of the cases — by percentage of population — as of April 6 in Chester County. Courtesy, Chester County Health Department.

The rate of COVID-19 infections continue to grow in the state and in Chester County, based on new numbers released Monday.

The State Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,470 new positive tests and 12 fatalities in 65 of the state’s 67 counties, through 12 a.m. Monday.

“Now more than ever, as we continue to see COVID-19 cases and deaths rise in Pennsylvania, we need Pennsylvanians to take action,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. “Those actions should be to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. If you must go out, please limit it to as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but other people as well. We need all Pennsylvanians to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and also our healthcare workers and frontline responders.”

DOH reports a total of 70,874 negative tests to date, meaning less than 75,000 test results have been received among the state’s approximately 12.8 million residents (note: some patients have been tested more than once). It is unclear how many tests have been done without results — there are varying accounts of continued delays in getting results, as long as 10 days from the samples being taken.

The numbers are growing here in Chester County, with 304 positive tests, according the Chester County Health Department, up 38 from the previous day, with one new death reported, bringing the county’s total to three. There are 2,238 reported negative tests. To date, of roughly 550,000 county residents, there are test results for less than 3,000 residents. Again, because of the possible delay in getting results from labs, it is impossible to know the number of tests — and the number people who have been tested.

As hospitals and other crucial facilities still lack enough personal protective equipment (PPE), Gov. Tom Wolf, Monday, is asking all Pennsylvania manufacturers to submit their information to the newly developed Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal — an effort to help companies willing to manufacture the items during this time of crisis.

“We’re asking everyone to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared to care for patients and that there is access to critical personal protective equipment and products as more individuals and businesses take preventive measures,” Wolf said in a statement. “Throughout our commonwealth’s history, our manufacturing sector has answered the call to move us forward and contributed tremendously in times of turbulence. I call upon our private sector to be a part of the solution to this crisis.”

The portal will identify businesses’ critical supply chain capabilities, needs, workforce gaps and innovative opportunities, officials said. Reporting this important information and identifying both abilities and needs will help facilitate the connections businesses need to get critical COVID-19-related products to market or retrofit their operations to begin production of those products. 

Meanwhile, the State Police continue their enforcement efforts of Gov. Wolf’s order that all non “life-sustaining” businesses in the commonwealth close. State Police issued 28 warnings over the weekend, for a total of 191 statewide since the order went into effect. No summons have been issued so far.

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