PA experiences a rise in virus-related cases

Novalea Verno, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Graph representing cases in Pennsylvania showing rise during the month of October.
Photo by Pennlive.

It seems like the people of Pennsylvania can’t catch a break. With race riots, protest and heightened political tension citizens haven’t had a chance to relax since the beginning of quarantine. Now, Pennsylvania is faced with a new challenge- a new wave of the COVID-19 virus.

The news of this “resurge” of cases came from Health Secretary, Rachel Levine, at a news conference on Wednesday. The conference addressed health official’s concerns about the increasing trend in cases.

The state has reported 27 new COVID-19 virus-related deaths. The daily case count has surpassed 1,000 for nine consecutive days. Both of these things sparked immediate concern among those regulating incoming patients. The most recent cases have been commonly found in people ages 20 to 40. The rise in cases has been credited to the reopening of college campuses and an increase in small group gatherings.  Pennsylvania health officials assure the public that they are much better prepared for the “fall resurgence”. 

“It’s impossible for me to predict the future, but again, we’re in a much better place than we were in the spring,” said Levine.

Officials have a much better understanding of the virus and how to prevent spreading due to copious amounts of research done over the past few months. An increase in protective equipment has also helped solidified confidence. Pennsylvania began to ship antigen tests on Wednesday. The shipments will be delivered to specific counties with high infection rates (Bradford, Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Snyder). Tests will be given to colleges, prisons, nursing homes and other health care organizations.

Currently, Pennsylvania’s governor has made no comment about issuing another stay-at-home order. This has been met with equal amounts of concern and satisfaction. Those who find themselves high-risk aren’t willing to risk another surge in cases. The action of staying at home seems like a no-brainer to them. On the other hand, business owners and those who have already lost their jobs to the first outbreak are holding out on another quarantine order. The idea of having to shut-down again and risk losing more money and employees is almost unbearable for businesses.

“Speaking as a small business owner for 15 years, the threat of another shutdown is our greatest fear. With the counts rising, the looming shutdown is very real to us… . We are currently struggling to keep our businesses afloat with the mandates and regulations imposed on us. We are relying on our communities to support us along with government grants to get us through this difficult time…. Not only would [another shutdown] be impacting the owners, but the snowball effect it creates of unemployment to our staff, our food and beverage suppliers, delivery workers, the list is endless. While some unfortunately have already closed, my hope holds strong that I along with family members and friends with businesses can survive and once again thrive after fully opening,” said Annette Thoman, owner of the Tourist Inn- a self-proclaimed “biker bar” located in Hellam.

While only time will tell what happens next, health officials urge the people of Pennsylvania to do their part in preventing spreading. Continue to practice social distancing guidelines and wear your mask in public.