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Pennsylvania Reports 781 New Cases As Restrictions Take Hold

coronavirus_south_side_restaurant.jpg
Keith Srakocic
/
AP
People take advantage of newly lowered COVID-19 protective restrictions in most of southwest Pennsylvania and have lunch outside on the re-opening day for seated patrons at a diner on Pittsburgh's Southside, Friday, June 5, 2020.

Pennsylvania reported 781 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the statewide total to more than 98,000 as new, statewide pandemic restrictions took effect.

The state Department of Health said there were 16 additional deaths for a new statewide toll of 6,973.

Allegheny County, which has figured in a recent surge in virus cases, reported 140 new cases from tests conducted between June 30 and July 14. Philadelphia reported 132 new infections.

Gov. Tom Wolf reimposed restrictions Thursday on bars, restaurants, and larger indoor gatherings — now limited to 25 people, down from 250 — in response to what he called an “unsettling climb” in infections.

Critics questioned the need for statewide restrictions when only a few areas of the state have been seeing rising case numbers. Wolf warned that a “new surge is in the offing” that could eclipse what happened in the spring, when the virus killed thousands and sickened tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Disease modeling from PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows infections rising sharply in Philadelphia and the suburbs in coming weeks.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than the state’s confirmed case count because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

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.