COVID cases rise across Pa. as potential vaccines shows promise

    (Getty Images via The Beacon)

    The Department of State confirmed 6,311 new cases of COVID-19 and four new deaths Monday morning, bringing the statewide total to 234,296 cases and 9,024 deaths.

    The rise in cases continues, as news broke that Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine was nearly 90 percent effective in trials. 

    The good news of a  potential vaccine caused stocks to rally early Monday morning NPR reported. 

    Should the vaccine get approval for emergency usage, “We stand ready to distribute,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

    Additionally, President-elect Joe Biden named 13 physicians and health experts to his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board on Monday. 

    Levine said Pennsylvania state officials have not heard from the Biden transition team on plans to combat the virus as of yet. 

    While Levine noted that she doesn’t know how long the fall resurgence of the virus will last, she doesn’t think cases in Pennsylvania have peaked quite yet. 

    “I don’t think we have reached the peak,” Levine told reporters Monday, adding that most cases in the state have been caused by community spread. 

     With cases now higher than they were in the spring, Levine said discussions with state education officials are ongoing, but that there were no plans to shutdown schools again.

    “We do not plan to have a school closure as we did in the spring,” Levine said, “but we might make a change to our guidance to schools.” 

    Following the recommendations of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the department is encouraging Pennsylvanians not to gather for the upcoming holidays, instead asking that people stay in their households for the holidays and visit other friends and family remotely.

    Cassie Miller
    A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.