New COVID-19 infections in PA dropped to their lowest level in two months today, with reported fatalities also trending lower.

The state Department of Health today reported 473 newly positive cases for the period ending at midnight.

This marks 15 days straight with new case numbers below 1,000 in Pennsylvania. With the additional cases, 68,186 Pennsylvanians have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

It’s been exactly two months since the state reported a lower number of daily new cases—276 cases on March 25.

An image from the PA Department of Health lab in Exton.

Cases then quickly surged, peaking in early April at nearly 2,000 daily new cases. Since then, cases have shown a gradual, relatively steady decline since, despite greater levels of testing for the virus over that time period.

The lower case data today, in part, may be attributable to less reporting to the state Department of Health over the holiday weekend.

Of the new cases today, 83 are in residents of nursing and personal care homes.

Locally, total diagnosed cases are as follows:

  • Adams County: 227 cases (yesterday, 226)
  • Cumberland County: 598 cases (yesterday, 592)
  • Dauphin County: 1,123 cases (yesterday, 1,099)
  • Franklin County: 740 cases (yesterday, 734)
  • Lancaster County: 2,896 cases (yesterday, 2,854)
  • Lebanon County: 912 cases (yesterday, 909)
  • Perry County: 47 cases (yesterday, 47)
  • York County: 930 cases (yesterday, 924)

Overall, 16.9 percent of PA residents tested have shown to be positive for the virus.

The health department also reported another 15 fatalities, meaning that 5,139 Pennsylvanians have died from the disease since March. This represents a fall from the 100-plus COVID-19-related deaths reported last week in PA.

Of the newly reported fatalities, most were residents of nursing or personal care homes.

Around central PA, the COVID-19 fatality data now stands as follows:

  • Adams County: 7 deaths (yesterday, 7)
  • Cumberland County: 46 deaths (yesterday, 46)
  • Dauphin County: 63 deaths (yesterday, 63)
  • Franklin County: 29 deaths (yesterday, 29)
  • Lancaster County: 280 deaths (yesterday, 279)
  • Lebanon County: 27 deaths (yesterday, 27)
  • Perry County: 1 death (yesterday, 1)
  • York County: 22 deaths (yesterday, 22)

Statewide, Philadelphia County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 17,495 cases, followed by Montgomery County with 6,576 cases. The two counties also have reported the most deaths statewide from the disease: 1,226 and 633, respectively.

“As counties move from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” health Secretary Rachel Levine said.

So far, the state has moved 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties into the less restrictive yellow phase. On Friday, eight more counties are slated to enter the yellow phase, including Dauphin and Lebanon counties. By June 5, the entire state will exit from the red phase to either yellow or green, according to current plans.

Nursing homes and personal care facilities have been particularly hard hit by the virus. Of total deaths, 3,379, or 65.7 percent, have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities, according to the health department.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 14,690 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,471 cases among employees, for a total of 17,161 at 594 distinct facilities in 44 counties, according to the health department.

In addition, 5,140 of total cases in PA are in health care workers.

Statewide, 403,114 coronavirus tests have been performed, with 334,928 people testing negative, according to the state health department. Yesterday, the state reported that 396,095 people had been tested for the virus.

Of the patients who have tested positive to date, the age breakdown is as follows, according to the health department:

  • Nearly 1 percent are aged 0-4
  • Nearly 1 percent are aged 5-12
  • Nearly 2 percent are aged 13-18
  • Nearly 6 percent are aged 19-24
  • Nearly 37 percent are aged 25-49
  • 25 percent are aged 50-64
  • Nearly 29 percent are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are 65 or older, as are most of the reported deaths, according to the state.

Levine continued to emphasize that Pennsylvanians should do the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.

“We must continue to protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, which includes our seniors, those with underlying health issues, our healthcare workers and our first responders,” Levine said. “I am proud of the work that Pennsylvanians have done so far, but we cannot stop now, we must continue to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from COVID-19.”

For more information, visit the PA Department of Health’s COVID-19 website.