The Morning Call

Hospi­tal­iza­tions climb to record 3,162

Le­high County new cases reach high­est level yet as virus surges

- By Ford Turner Health · U.S. News · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Lehigh County · Northampton Town F.C. · Lehigh Valley · United States of America · U.S. Centers for Disease Control · Pennsylvania · Doyle · Berks County · Pfizer · Harrisburg · Northampton County · Northhampton, MA · Phillips, ME · York County · Harrisburg · Carbon County · Pennsylvania House of Representatives · Cutler

HAR­RIS­BURG — The state re­ported 6,808 more cases of the coro­n­avirus on Fri­day as the num­ber of peo­ple hos­pi­tal­ized with the dis­eases urges to its high­est point ever, with 3,162 in the hos­pi­tal.

The newly re­ported cases bring the statewide to­tal to 295,786 and in­clude 270 from Le­high County and 161 from Northamp­ton County.

The Le­high County fig­ure was the high­est of the pan­demic.

The state also re­ported more than 100 deaths from COVID-19 for the third straight day, with 108 on Fri­day. The state has now recorded a to­tal of 9,689 deaths from the virus. Two ad­di­tional deaths were re­ported in Northamp­ton County, bring­ing the over­all Le­high Val­ley to­tal to 702.

The seven-day moving av­er­age of newly re­ported cases was 5,914 on Fri­day, up 36% from 4,348 a week ago.

The re­port came one day af­ter the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion is­sued sweep­ing guid­ance with sug­gested lim­its on Thanks­giv­ing travel, gath­er­ings, meal han­dling and per­sonal spac­ing.

Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can state Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County, wear­ing a mask Fri­day morn­ing out­side the state Capi­tol

in Har­ris­burg, said this would be the first Thanks­giv­ing in decades where she was not per­son­ally with her 81-year-old fa­ther, who has a se­ri­ous health is­sue.

“I love him and I want to keep him safe ,” she said .“I am en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to be as re­spon­si­ble as they can.”

Repub­li­can Rep. Doyle Hef­fley of Car­bon County said a key is to keep the economy open while act­ing with per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“Don’ t let the virus con­trol every as­pect of your life,” he­said. “Bu­tat the same time, respect it.”

Gov­ern­ment virus guid­ance and re­stric­tions and espe­cially mask-wear­ing con­tin­ued to be a ma­jor topic of con­ver­sa­tion in many places. On the floor of the Penn­syl­va­nia House late Thurs­day, as law­mak­ers de­bated an un­re­lated, press­ing is­sue, some chas­tised oth­ers for not wear­ing masks.

Then, late Fri­day, as the House and Se­nate were pre­par­ing for fi­nal votes on the state bud­get, the House floor was closed. Berks County Repub­li­can state Rep. Mark Gillen said most law­mak­ers as­sumed it was “COVID-re­lated.”

Demo­cratic state Rep. Mike Schlossber­g said those who don’t wear masks are jeop­ar­diz­ing the health of col­leagues in the Capi­tol and manyothers.

“These peo­ple have got to re­al­ize that this isn’t go­ing away,” Schlossber­g said.

House Speaker Bryan Cut­ler on Thurs­day in­ter­vened in a ver­bal back-and-forth on the House floor over mem­bers who were not wear­ing masks. Cut­ler said law­mak­ers with is­sues should go to an al­ready-es­tab­lished bipartisan man­age­ment coun­cil that sets mask poli­cies that per­tain to House mem­bers.

Also on Fri­day, Health Sec­re­tary Dr. Rachel Levine said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would dis­trib­ute mon­o­clonal an­ti­bod­ies which are pro­teins built in a lab­o­ra­tory that mimic the im­mune sys­tem’s abil­ity to fight in­fec­tions like the COVID-19 virus to health care sys­tems in Penn­syl­va­nia.

“The depart­ment will de­ter­mine which health care sys­tems re­ceive al­lo­ca­tions based upon county case counts,” Levine said.

The state Health Depart­ment ear­lier this week an­nounced new mea­sures to slow the spread of the coro­n­avirus.

Pfizer said Fri­day it is ask­ing U.S. reg­u­la­tors to al­low emer­gency use of its COVID-19 vac­cine, start­ing the clock on a process that could bring lim­ited first shots as early as next month.

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 ?? MONICACABR­ERA/THE MORN­ING CALL ?? Cars line up for COVID-19 drive-thru test­ing out­side the St. Luke’s Anderson Cam­pus — Spe­cialty Pavil­ion. A screen­ing is re­quired in ad­vance to get tested.
MONICACABR­ERA/THE MORN­ING CALL Cars line up for COVID-19 drive-thru test­ing out­side the St. Luke’s Anderson Cam­pus — Spe­cialty Pavil­ion. A screen­ing is re­quired in ad­vance to get tested.

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