Pennsylvania reported 693 new coronavirus cases on Friday, raising the statewide total to 70,735, as 17 counties moved into the green phase of reopening.
The following counties made the transition, easing many restrictions: Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
Also on Friday, eight more counties — Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike and Schuylkill — entered the yellow phase, joining York and Adams, among others.
The green phase allows more businesses to open — including restaurant dine-in service — with some restrictions, plus larger gatherings.
Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday that 16 more counties will move to green on June 5: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.
The remaining counties in red will make the move to the yellow phase by June 5.
To date, 366,970 people have tested negative for the virus. Statewide, 5,464 have died after contracting the virus, according to the state Department of Health.
Back to school?
Wolf had some good news at Friday’s briefing, saying he expected schools to reopen this fall — barring any problems.
He said the state Department of Education is working on guidelines.
State parks: pools, beaches to open
A phased reopening is planned for state park swimming beaches and some pools.
Starting June 6, all 58 state park beaches will be open to swimming. Pools will remain closed through at least June 12. Most in yellow phase or green phase counties will reopen June 13.
“Water-based activity is an integral part of the state park experience in Pennsylvania and, with appropriate protocols in place to ensure safety and as staffing permits, this department continues to reopen its state parks and forests so that Pennsylvanians can realize all the benefits of being outdoors,” state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said in a news release.
Capacity will be limited to 50 percent. “Mitigation measures will be in place, including restricting visitor parking, controlling facility access, social distancing and the wearing of face masks when not in the water. All CDC guidance remains in effect,” the release states.
Swimming pools at Codorus State Park, York County, and Ryerson Station State Park, Greene County, will not be opening for the 2020 season because of maintenance work needed.
And for the latest counties moved into the “yellow” phase Friday, family campground sites and park offices have been opened.
County breakdown of cases, testing
Here’s a breakdown of the positive and negative tests of the coronavirus in southcentral Pennsylvania as well as the deaths reported in those counties as of May 29:
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How many cases of coronavirus does Pa. have?
Here’s a look at the numbers in Pennsylvania:
New cases: 693 new cases as of May 29
Patients who tested negative: 366,970
Coronavirus symptoms, testing
According to the CDC, reported illnesses from COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.
Fever, cough and shortness of breath might appear 2 to 14 days after you’ve been exposed to the virus.
If you think you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your primary healthcare provider immediately for guidance, including whether you should be tested.
Testing overall is still about 10 to 14 days behind, meaning the data today shows the rate of infection two weeks ago.
The CDC is now shifting its testing efforts to include new antibody tests that will help determine who was infected and asymptomatic, and may now be immune to the virus.
Preventing the spread
There is currently neither a vaccine nor an approved treatment for the new, or novel, coronavirus. While many people might only get mild symptoms, older adults and those who already have medical issues can end up with more serious complications. There’s concern that a fast spread of the virus could overwhelm the health system to provide care, including the need for respirators in serious cases.
With further spread of the virus and disruptions to everyday life expected, officials remind residents to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
You should also cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow (not your hands), clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as countertops, light switches and phones), and stay home if you are sick.
People are also asked not to attend large gatherings and to practice “social distancing.” It’s best to keep six feet apart from other people you don’t live with.