Bucks County confirms 1st cases of coronavirus, bumping Pennsylvania total to 16

Cases of the new coronavirus crept into a new county in Pennsylvania as Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania and at least a dozen other schools are moving classes online and St. Patrick’s Day parades in Philadelphia, Scranton and Pittsburgh were canceled.

Bucks County, in suburban Philadelphia, confirmed its first two cases late Tuesday. Along with additional cases confirmed Wednesday in Montgomery and Monroe counties, that boosted the statewide total to at least 16 confirmed cases, according to the state Department of Health, which also said 57 tests were pending.

Penn State encouraged its 76,000 students at its main campus and 21 satellite campuses to stay home and away from campus the next three weeks, while the University of Pennsylvania told students to go home by Sunday or not return from spring break.

A look at the latest developments in Pennsylvania:

What we know

All the people who have tested positive in the state live in eastern Pennsylvania, authorities say. Most people are believed to have contracted the virus while traveling outside the state or country, but some new cases are people who got sick while inside Pennsylvania.

Late Tuesday, Bucks County’s health department said it had discovered the county’s first cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in two adults who live together and had attended an out-of-state gathering recently. They are in isolation at home.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health began sharing more information about testing Wednesday, saying there were 57 tests pending and 100 negative tests, while an out-of-state resident hospitalized in Montgomery County.

Overall, nine people who tested positive, including a Lower Providence police officer, are residents of Montgomery County, officials there said Wednesday. Philadelphia officials confirmed the city’s first case Tuesday.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said a cardiologist who tested positive for the virus treated about two dozen patients and came into contact with 17 staff members at a King of Prussia facility. The physician returned to work after overseas travel and saw patients over four days last week. The hospital said it disinfected and reopened the facility.

At least three people were hospitalized — including the cardiologist — and the rest were at home, officials said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

Warnings

State Health Secretary Rachel Levine isn’t recommending that large gatherings be canceled, although Montgomery County officials urged the cancellation of all public events and even large private gatherings.

Philadelphia officials are not encouraging school closures, but they are urging people not to attend events of more than 5,000 attendees, including professional sporting events.

What we don’t know

Officials are giving few details about patients.

The state Department of Health is not saying how many people it is monitoring under quarantine, where precisely someone traveled when they were exposed or which hospitals are treating patients. Some counties, institutions and states are giving more details.

Cancellations

Philadelphia canceled its St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Tuesday night, and Pittsburgh and Scranton followed suit Wednesday.

As Pittsburgh and Allegheny County released details of their preparedness, the U.S. State Department said foreign ministers from leading industrial nations who had planned to meet in Pittsburgh this month will instead hold a video teleconference because of coronavirus concerns.

Penn State, Penn and at least a dozen other colleges and universities, almost all in eastern Pennsylvania, are ending in-person instruction and moving classes online, either temporarily or for the semester.

Penn State, whose students return Monday from spring break, said it is moving to remote learning for all classes through April 3, at least. It also strongly encouraged students during the three-week period to stay home and not return to campus, off-campus locations or group dwellings.

Several schools are extending spring break, including Penn, which said students should go home by Sunday for the rest of the semester, or not return from spring break. Penn, along with other Ivy League schools, also canceled all spring athletics practice and competition for the rest of the academic year.

Northampton County Prison banned visitors and volunteers from entering as of Tuesday while at least six Delaware County school districts are planning to close for a day to test their preparedness.

Published at Wed, 11 Mar 2020 15:20:31 +0000

Source: Bucks County confirms 1st cases of coronavirus, bumping Pennsylvania total to 16.

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