COVID 19 Update, Nov. 18: State sets records for cases, hospitalizations, state tightens some rules, no changes for Chesco as yet

Editor’s Note: After nearly daily updates from late March through June, the pandemic eased enough for use to reduce coverage. The recent explosion of cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationally and in state have prompted a return to semi-regular reports again.

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

The Wolf Administration moved to boost COVID-19 mitigation efforts, as case numbers and hospitalizations continue to spiral well beyond the peaks seen in the spring, including testing or quarantines for those coming into the the state from elsewhere and a strengthened mask mandate — but as of now, Chester County anticipates no new rules or changes to the current situation. The US passed a grim milestone, Wednesday, recording it’s 250,000th death from the virus.

“It is our collective responsibility to protect our communities and our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians from COVID-19 and to continue to work together to get through this pandemic. These targeted mitigation efforts, combined with existing ones, are paramount to saving lives and protecting our economy,” Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday. “The administration will continue to monitor the risks posed by COVID-19 across the commonwealth and will reinstate or institute new targeted mitigation tactics as necessary.”

While the state made some adjustments, as did neighboring Philadelphia — on a day the state saw 6,339 new COVID cases, with 2,737 people hospitalized with the virus statewide, and 579 patients in intensive care (ICU) — Chester County officials said no new rules were in the works at this time.

According to a statement issued Tuesday: “The Chester County Health Department continues to watch data closely regarding COVID-19 and consider additional mitigation measures that may be needed, but County health officials are not announcing any new restrictions at the moment. For now, County officials are asking residents – individually and collectively – to please adhere to wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands.  This remains paramount in Chester County, especially in the run up to Thanksgiving and as we enter the full holiday season.”

State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth. If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. This order, which takes effect on Friday, November 20, does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.

Levine also boosted the rules for masks — including some instances where residents are expected to wear them in their homes.

  • Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
  • When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.
  • When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.
  • This order applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.

Additionally, the state is pushing colleges and universities to come up with a testing plan for when students return to campus.

The departments of Health and Education issued recommendations for colleges and universities to implement a testing plan for when students return to campus following the holidays.

These recommendations include establishing routine protocols for testing.

Colleges and universities should have adequate capacity for isolation and quarantine and should be prepared to enforce violations of established policies such as mask wearing and physical distancing.

Every college and university should test all students at the beginning of each term, when returning to campus after a break and to have regular screening testing throughout the semester/term.

“We must remain united in stopping COVID-19,” Levine said. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay apart and download the COVID Alert PA app. If you test positive, please answer the call of the case reviewer and provide information that can help protect others. It’s the selfless, right thing to do.”

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment