HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — State leaders are worried a resurgence of coronavirus cases may be beginning for the fall and winter months, and say they are taking a number of steps to head it off.
Today marks the ninth straight day with more than 1,000 new cases statewide.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and other state health leaders held a briefing Wednesday morning about efforts to prevent a surge.
They say they are working on plans to distribute a vaccine for coronavirus when it’s available and urged everyone to get a flu shot, especially as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.
In addition, the Wolf administration is beginning the distribution of 250,000 COVID-19 antigen test kits. This is the first allotment of them to the state provided by the federal government.
Antigen test cards are a timely, quick + easy-to-use tool for communities to receive rapid COVID-19 testing. These test kits, provided by federal gov’t + being distributed to areas in need by @GovernorTomWolf Admin, will further help communities struggling with spread of COVID-19 https://t.co/zuPFlhGrz2
— Dr. Rachel Levine (@SecretaryLevine) October 14, 2020
This allotment will not be coming to Western Pennsylvania; instead, it’s going to Bradford, Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Snyder counties due to “recent high disease incidence rate in these areas,” says the state.
In a news release, Dr. Levine said, “Antigen test cards are a timely, quick and easy-to-use tool for communities to receive rapid COVID-19 testing. These test kits, provided by the federal government and being distributed to areas in need by the Wolf Administration, will further help communities struggling with the spread of COVID-19. Antigen tests look for pieces of proteins that make up the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are another tool in our testing toolkit to help quickly identify cases.”
The Health Department says they anticipate getting more test kits soon and will provide them to counties in need.
The federal government is also providing testing kits to nursing facilities, personal care homes and historically black colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, the Health Department also says they are working with the CDC on a distribution plan for when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
They say, “Early on there may be limited supply of vaccine distributed in a phased approach. The department plans to ensure the limited vaccine is distributed to the highest priority populations in a timely manner.”