HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – With the fall season well underway, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said the state is preparing for a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
It was one of the key topics that Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine touched on during a press briefing Wednesday, as well as how to stay safe from both the coronavirus and influenza.
“We have seen more than 1,000 cases a day for the past nine days, which shows that we are at the start of a fall resurgence of COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said. “While we are working to expand testing, prepare for a vaccine and prevent outbreaks, Pennsylvanians have an important role to play. We must be united by wearing a mask, washing our hands, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, downloading the COVID Alert PA mobile app and getting a flu vaccine.”
The health department announced Wednesday that the first allotment of rapid antigen test cards is being distributed to Pennsylvania counties with increased COVID-19 cases.
The test cards will go to certified institutions, intermediate care facilities, high education institutions, drug and alcohol treatment centers, correctional facilities and health care providers to help with rapid testing.
“With the increase in testing and cases, the department is continuing efforts to conduct case investigations and contact tracing,” Dr. Levine said. “However, for these efforts to be successful, it is important for Pennsylvanians to participate in the process. If you are contacted by a case investigator or contact tracer, it is essential that you answer the phone and participate in the interview.”
Department staff has been closely monitoring long-term care facilities, college campuses and prisons. They are working to make sure areas with outbreaks get the resources they need.
The health department is also working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preparing to distribute a safe and effective vaccine when one is available. The department plans to ensure a vaccine is distributed to the highest priority populations first.
They urge Pennsylvanians to get a flu vaccine. This ensures the health care system isn’t overwhelmed by both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.