June 30 Pennsylvania COVID-19 Update


  • Daily DOH Health Data Report
  • Governor Wolf, Secretary Levine Praise UPMC health system heroes, answer questions

Daily Department of Health Data Reports
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., June 29, there were 492 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 85,988. Approximately 6,508 of those total cases are in health care workers.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 17,697 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,224 cases among employees, for a total of 20,921 at 689 distinct facilities in 52 counties. A county breakdown can be found here.

There are 6,614 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 8 new deaths. Out of our total deaths, 4,531 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here. 

There are 666,901 patients who have tested negative to date. More than 78% of all positive cases have now recovered.

There are 633 patients who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure, which are considered probable cases and not confirmed cases. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Nearly 1% are ages 0-4;
  • 1% are ages 5-12;
  • 2% are ages 13-18;
  • Nearly 7% are ages 19-24;
  • Nearly 37% are ages 25-49;
  • 24% are ages 50-64; and
  • Nearly 28% are ages 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, June 28:

Governor Wolf, Secretary Levine Praise UPMC health system heroes, answer questions
Joined by medical professionals from the UPMC Pinnacle Osteopathic Hospital, Governor Wolf this afternoon thanked health care workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic this afternoon, and doubled down on the importance of wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.  Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine also praised the work of the physicians, nurses and staff of the health system.

In his remarks, the Governor talked about the steps taken by Allegheny County in response to an uptick in positive test results for the county.  He said, “Allegheny County is closing down service of alcohol in restaurants, looking at the same kind of thing in other places.  He added that he does not plan on instituting any similar policies at the state level.

He said, “We are not looking at a big spike.  And we have capacity” – UPMC has been at the forefront to be sure we don’t have that problem. Other states, like New York, had Governor Cuomo looking for 10,000 ventilators.  We have 5,300 ventilators in the state, and less than 200 are being used for COVID-19 patients, partly because we have been treating patients differently than we had before.  In the end we rely on you when we fail.

He repeated what he has said before.  “This is a war that we’re all in.  In the end it comes down to each and every one of us doing what we need to do.  The enemy is the virus.” He compared public reactions again to stopping at stop signs, not looking at the sun, and other things people do to reduce the risk of everyday life. It’s not a matter of enforcement.

Dr. Levine also mentioned Allegheny County and said the County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen talked to county commissioners who decided to do targeted mitigation, rather than taking the entire county back to yellow, by deciding that no alcohol would be served in bars and taverns.  They thought that’s where the problem is.  She said the move by Allegheny County officials representation a “surgical, targeted mitigation” effort to try and better control the disease.

The Governor mentioned other places considering similar actions.  Are you concerned about Philadelphia?  LEVINE:  We have daily phone calls with Dr. Farley at 4 every day.  He will make the decisions on Philadelphia.

Governor Wolf mentioned there are other places considering actions like what Allegheny County did.  If they don’t have health departments, what would be necessary?  Can you mandate these things? WOLF: First of all, I don’t think there is any certainty of other actions.  “We’re trying our best to navigate our way through.  We’re doing the best we can.  We know more about what we can do to treat people now.  We actually are seeing improvement in many places.  Some say that enforcement of closing bars is more important at the county level.  But we are putting much too great a focus on what’s the enforcement mechanism  rather than what’s the right thing to do.  We don’t question that with seat belts.  It’s inconvenient, but not wearing a mask puts other people at risk.  At risk.”

What’s happening, though?  Your office keeps putting out guidance telling businesses they should keep kicking people out?  WOLF: “Businesses should do it because it’s in their customers’ best interests.  We could have enforcement and we do.  But as a customer, or as a business, in the end, you’re gonna have to make that decision.”  He again used the stop sign analogy.

Would you consider a quarantine for people coming from hotspots?  Each governor is asked and none of the governors are clear.  NY, I’m not sure.  It’s probably helpful.  “When Pennsylvanians get into Florida – it’s easier to get into there – there are reasons for doing that, but it comes to enforcement.  I would have to do two weeks by myself if I did.  In the end, enforcement is up to you.”

Are we required by law to wear a mask?  Is there a penalty from the legal perspective?  WOLF: “With enforcement, police would recommend you go home, and give you a warning.  I  would love if stores have masks to give them to customers.  We’re not looking to put people in jail – but it needs to become publicly unacceptable to not wear a mask.”

In a supermarket, if one in a hundred people go in without masks, and the same people are working in there all day – how much of a risk does that create for those working there all day?  WOLF: I can’t tell you how much of a risk that creates – I don’t think anyone can.  It would depend on social distancing.  Given variety of circumstances, why are we taking that chance?  It’s a pain in the neck, but…

How much responsibility is on business owner as a result?  Why should they deal with confrontations?  WOLF: They should not.  Businesses can post it – if they have some masks available, to give to those who don’t have them, that would be great too.  We don’t want physical confrontations.  It’s gotta be like  “No shirt no shoes no service.”  If you smoke in the store you won’t get served.  We’re trying to get to a new normal.

The US House Select committee on coronavirus – Steve Scalise sent you as one of five governors who got a letter last week about 70% of deaths  being in nursing homes.  What have you learned, what should we have done differently and what do you have to say?  WOLF: We didn’t have the capacity to test, didn’t know what we know now.  Have a system in place or will by July 24.  Test at least once, then individually We acknowledge that these facilities have been a hot spot, but we are in a much much better place now – and have published protocols for visitation.  Maybe there’s more we can do.   LEVINE: We are right there with many other states with serious problem in small congregate settings  Prevalence of COVID 19 in nursing home is directly related to prevalence in the county where it’s located.

What was the logic behind telling nursing homes to keep COVID-19 patients on March 18?  LEVINE: CMS guidance in March was to transfer them to the hospital, and then when discharged, to take them home and work with the nursing homes in terms of cohorting.  We followed CMS guidance like all the other states. All of the states were together in the challenge to this. And it will remain a challenge.  There is no evidence that the policy contributed to that many deaths.  Higher than many states, but less high than other states.

Last week, the House passed legislation to prevent you from restricting guns during emergency.  Do you have a comment?  WOLF:  It doesn’t matter because I don’t want to do anything with guns.  I want to target declarations to the specific problem to attack and address the challenges we have with this disease.  I want a bill that would give me the power to declare a medical emergency. It passed the Senate unanimously.