Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today outlined the Wolf Administration’s steps to prepare for community spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19, as well as what Pennsylvanians can do now. To date, no one in Pennsylvania has tested positive for COVID-19.
“Since the start of this outbreak, we’ve taken a proactive approach to prepare and carefully monitor potential cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania,” Dr. Levine said. “As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised today, we need to be prepared for community spread of COVID-19. We are working to make sure our health systems, first responders and county and municipal health departments have the resources they need to respond.”
As of February 25, there are more than 80,000 cases worldwide, including more than 2,700 deaths. There are 57 cases and no deaths to date in the United States. The CDC expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. CDC also said due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19 around the world, it is important for families to be prepared.
“We know through our work with CDC in planning for disease outbreaks that it is best to prepare now.” Dr. Levine said. “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.”
To date, the Wolf Administration has:
- Activated the Department of Health’s Emergency Operations Center to allow for enhanced response coordination;
- Maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
- Provided symptom monitoring for residents returning to Pennsylvania from China;
- Provided information to health care professionals, businesses and educational settings; and
- Reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans for COVID-19.
“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, as well as the CDC’s website and social media channels.”
Symptoms of the COVID-19 in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.