Fourth COVID-19 death reported in Luzerne

Last updated: March 31, 2020 - 4:52pm

HARRISBURG — Luzerne County reported a fourth COVID-19-related death in numbers released by the Department of Health on Tuesday, as the number of positive tests in the county increased to more than 200.

In Columbia County, cases increased from six to seven. In Montour County, the number of reported cases actually decreased from 10 to nine.

The Department of Health said it identifies cases by the patient's county of residence. If an individual is tested in another county, "the physician may put their own address or the address where the specimen was collected as the address of record for the specimen to be sent to the lab."

When the department confirms that the person actually lives at a different address, the count can change for a county, department officials said in a release.

Statewide, there have been 4,843 positive cases of coronavirus through Monday, 756 more than the day before. Of those, 514 have required hospitalization, about 10 percent. Of those 514, 159 treated in an intensive care unit and 94 have needed a ventilator. A total of 63 people have died, said Secretary of Health Rachel Levine in a press conference.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

Gov. Tom Wolf added seven more counties Tuesday to his order to stay at home as the new virus expanded its reach and Pennsylvania reported another big jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Wolf told residents of Lebanon, Franklin, Somerset, Lawrence, Cameron, Crawford and Forest counties to stay home at least through April 30, bringing to 33 the number of counties under the governor's order.

Nearly 11 million Pennsylvania residents, or 85% of the state's population, have now been instructed to remain in their homes, with exceptions that include working at a business that’s still open, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, visiting a doctor, caring for a relative or heading outside to exercise.

One day after President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Pennsylvania, the state's emergency management agency said it would begin contacting potential applicants, which include state, county and municipal governments and eligible nonprofits.

Trump's order allows for federal assistance to supplement state and local pandemic recovery efforts.

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