COVID-19 in Pa.: Health Department announces 8,291 new cases, 194 new fatalities

    (Image via The Pittsburgh Current)

    (*This story was updated at 2:39 p.m. on Wednesday, 12/2/20 with additional comment from Gov. Tom Wolf)

    More than 4,700 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 967 are patients in intensive care wards, the state Health Department said Wednesday.

    The department confirmed 8,291 new cases as of midday Wednesday and 194 new fatalities. That brings the total number of cases statewide to 375,431 since the start of the pandemic. Thus far, a total of 10,757 people have lost their lives to the illness, the agency said in a statement.

    With Pennsylvania facing rising case counts and with thousands hospitalized, the Wolf administration says it’s deploying new COVID-19 testing “strike teams” around the state to offer testing to further contain its spread.

    The teams were to start work in Bedford, Mifflin, Northampton and Tioga counties on Wednesday, expanding to Butler County on Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf and state Health Department testing head Michael Huff said in a joint news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

    According to the Health Department, the 14-day moving average of number of hospitalized patients per day has increased by nearly 3,300 since the end of September. The statewide positivity rate for the week of Nov. 20 to Nov. 26 stood at 11.7 percent.

    The Health Department said 371,101 tests were administered between Nov. 25 and Tuesday, resulting in 46,070 positive cases. There were 52,244 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m. on Tuesday, the agency said.

    *Speaking to journalists during an unrelated news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Tom Wolf said the administration has no plans to move toward a statewide shutdown or to change its current mitigation strategies. Late last month, the administration issued a “stay at home advisory,” urging Pennsylvanians not to leave their homes unless it was absolutely necessary and to tele-work when possible.

    “It comes to a responsibility that all Pennsylvanians share: Wear a mask, practice social distancing,” Wolf said. ” … The real solution is for Pennsylvanians to work together to keep people safe.”

    John L. Micek
    A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press