Pennsylvania health officials are looking closely at areas where COVID-19 infection rates and deaths are ticking back up, threatening to turn back progress against the pandemic, the state's health secretary said Friday.
“We are doing quote-unquote a deep dive into all of the counties that have had increases,” Dr. Rachel Levine said, warning that “community spread” is occurring in some parts of the state.
The rise may be attributable to the gradual reopening that has been taking place in Pennsylvania, as well as more extensive testing, Levine said.
Cases are on the rise in Allegheny County, which reported 61 new confirmed infections Friday, its second-highest total.
Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf's administration will allow Lebanon County, the 67th and final county, to move from the yellow phase to the less-restrictive green phase in one week, Levine said.
In Lebanon County, the commissioners voted 2-1 to reopen without the governor's OK, and the heavily agricultural area in south-central Pennsylvania was held back when other hard-hit areas were allowed this week to move to green, the least restrictive phase in Wolf's three-phase reopening plan.
The Health Department also announced Friday there are 600 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state, the highest total since June 13. Pennsylvania has now seen more than 84,000 confirmed cases.
There were also 22 additional deaths reported Friday, for a statewide total of 6,579 since March.