HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Pennsylvania governor says the state has confirmed its first 2 coronavirus cases.
Wolf says the state’s first two cases of coronavirus have been identified, one in Delaware County and one in Wayne County.
Today we have our first two confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Pennsylvania.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) March 6, 2020
“We anticipated this very scenario and have been preparing for Pennsylvanians to become impacted by this virus,” Governor Wolf said. “This is not the first rapidly-spreading virus we have faced in our commonwealth and it will not be the last. We are prepared to mitigate the spread of this virus.”
The two people are quarantined in their homes, Wolf said.
One of the individuals is an adult from Wayne County who traveled to a country where the virus was present.
The other is an adult from Delaware County that recently traveled to an area of the U.S. where the virus was present.
Highmark has announced that they will cover the cost of coronavirus testing. In a statement, Highmark says:
With COVID-19 (or the coronavirus) commanding the news, Highmark understands that this issue is of great concern for our health plan members. In an effort to address the spread of the coronavirus and bring peace of mind to our members, Highmark will cover coronavirus testing, when recommended by a medical professional, for members of our fully-insured group customers, as well as members of our Medicare Advantage and ACA plans.
No other information on the people affected has been released. Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says the cases are not related to a case that closed schools in Bucks County.
“Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur,” Dr. Levine said. “We encourage people to prepare for potential life disruptions. The same family emergency plans and kits that we use to prepare for flu or norovirus, and even snowstorms and floods, are important now. Pennsylvanians should continue to help stop the spread of viruses by washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are sick.”
Classes were canceled Friday at five schools because some members of its school community were exposed to a separate confirmed case of COVID-19.
To date, there are nearly 100,000 cases worldwide and over 3,000 deaths. This includes 233 cases and 12 deaths in the U.S.
The CDC is expecting cases to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
They are urging individuals planning to travel outside of the country to check the CDC’s travel guidance before leaving the country.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those symptoms may appear anywhere between two days and 14 days after exposure. Individuals at most risk are the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
Health officials are reminding individuals that may not feel well to take the following steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Cover coughs and sneezes with elbow, not hands
- Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas
- Contain – if someone is not feeling well or is sick, stay home until they are better.
“As this situation evolves, we will continually update Pennsylvanians through our website, health.pa.gov, our Facebook page and our Twitter account,” Dr. Levine said. “It’s important to remember that the most accurate and timely information regarding this outbreak is available through the Department of Health.”
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, they can currently perform 125 tests per day at its state lab but they are bringing commercial labs on board, upping the ability to do 125-150 tests per day by the weekend.
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