This week has been particularly grim for the state of Pennsylvania. Not only did the state report a record breaking number of deaths on Thursday, reporting 248 fatalities, but many of the state’s hospitals are at or near capacity. On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf, who revealed he had tested positive for the virus the previous day, unleashed a new set of restrictions upon the state, in hopes of slowing the spread and saving lives. “The situation we are in right now is dire,” Wolf said. “It’s become clear that we need to take further mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.” Read on to hear his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
The Situation is “Dire”
“Today I am announcing additional, temporary COVID-19 protective mitigation measures in the commonwealth,” Gov. Wolf said while at home quarantining. “With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals: First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Second, keep our hospitals and health care workers from becoming overwhelmed. And third, help Pennsylvanians get through the holiday season – and closer to a widely available vaccine – as safely as possible. This is a bridge to a better future in Pennsylvania.”
“Each of the last two days we have reported the highest number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic,” added Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “In the past week, we have reported close to 1,100 new deaths from COVID-19 across Pennsylvania. The virus continues to strain our health care systems and the dramatic rise in cases among all age groups, including among school-age children, is alarming. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 37,500 cases among children age 5 to 18, yet 9,500 of those cases occurred in the past two weeks.”
The new restrictions begin this Saturday at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in place through Jan. 4 at 8 a.m.
“We know that COVID-19 thrives in places where people gather together,” Gov. Wolf said. “Therefore, these mitigation measures target high-risk environments and activities and aim to reduce the spread of this devastating virus.”
The following new restrictions were announced Thursday:
All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and club, travel, recreational, intramural, and intramural sports are paused. School-sponsored extracurricular activities are also suspended.
Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people. However, “Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations set forth above during religious services, these institutions are strongly encouraged to find alternative methods for worship, as in person gatherings pose a significant risk to participants at this time.”
Indoor dining is suspended, including bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events. Takeout and outdoor dining remain in place.
Theaters, entertainment venues, movie theaters, arcades, bowling alleys and private clubs must suspend indoor operations.
Indoor operations at gyms are also suspended. Outdoor facilities and classes can continue, but all participants must wear face coverings.
Retail businesses must operate at 50 percent occupancy.
Professional or collegiate sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health. Spectators may not attend games.
“The work we do now to slow the spread of COVID-19 is not only crucial to keeping our fellow Pennsylvanians safe and healthy,” Gov. Wolf said. “It will help all of us get back to normal, and back to all of the things we’ve missed, faster. And it means more Pennsylvanians will be alive to celebrate that brighter future. This year, we show our love for our families and friends by celebrating safely and protecting one another.”
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How to Survive the Pandemic
As for yourself, follow his fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.