COVID-19 Update, April 8: Cases, deaths continue to rise in Pennsylvania

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

A map of Chester County showing the percent of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 8. Courtesy Chester County Health Department.

Pennsylvania continues to add positive COVID-19 test results and had another difficult day in terms of fatalities, according to the state Department of Health (DOH).

DOH said there were 1,680 new positive tests, bringing the statewide total to 16,239, and 70 new deaths, bringing the total so far to 310 in the state.

“Now more than ever, as we continue to see COVID-19 cases and deaths rise in Pennsylvania, we need Pennsylvanians to take action,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Those actions should be to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. If you must go out, please limit it to as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but other people as well. We need all Pennsylvanians to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and our healthcare workers and frontline responders.”

82,299 negative tests have been recorded to date in the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered flags to fly at half staff in mourning of all of the victims, statewide.

In Chester County, positive cases jump from 331 to 369 in one day, according to the Chester County Health Department. Deaths, according to county health, hold at six county wide.

Elsewhere, Wolf moved Wednesday to regulate distribution of personal protective equipment to provide critical aid to hospitals around the state.

“Combatting a pandemic means we all have to work together and that means we need to make the best use of our medical assets to ensure the places that need them most have them,” Gov. Wolf said in a statement. “Today, I am signing an order that will allow us to transfer supplies and information between medical facilities to both high-population, high-impact areas and lower population areas that might not have as many existing medical resources.

“This will also prevent sick Pennsylvanians from having to choose which hospital to go to for fear that some have less access to equipment than others and it will help us make use of every ventilator, every piece of PPE, and every medical worker.”

Officials said that the order will ensure the efficient allocation and effective use of critical medical resources, such as N95 face masks, ventilators, respirators, face shields, safety goggles, disinfectants and other sanitizing solutions by hospitals in the state.

The order reads, that “despite the voluntary efforts of health care providers and despite the exhaustive work of commonwealth agencies to procure PPE and other medical resources from private industry to support Pennsylvania’s health care workers, facilities and emergency responders, a critical shortage of PPE, pharmaceuticals and other medical resources remains.”

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