The Lead

Pa. health officials confirm 165 new COVID-19 cases, bringing statewide total to 644

By: - March 23, 2020 12:27 pm

(Updated: During a midday briefing, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine confirmed six COVID-19 deaths)

Officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Health have confirmed 165 cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, bringing the statewide total to 644 cases. The illness is now present in 34 of 67 counties.

During a mid-afternoon briefing, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine confirmed six deaths as a result of COVID0-19: One each in one each in Allegheny, Lackawanna, Monroe, and Montgomery counties, and two deaths in Northampton County.

“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Levine said in a statement. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

Statewide, the Health Department said there were 644 cases of COVID-19 reported from commercial, hospital and state labs. So far, 6,595 patients who have tested negative. Because commercial labs are the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending, the agency said in a statement.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.