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State sees biggest increase over 24 hours since April

County sees 24 new cases

The state is seeing its largest one-day increase of positive COVID-19 tests since April, including 24 new cases in Lycoming County, according to the state Department of Health.

“We know that 15 cases (of the 24 in Lycoming County) are from longterm care facilities,” reported Maggi Mumma, state DOH deputy press secretary.

The Sun-Gazette reported Thursday that, as of 2 a.m., there were 1,376

additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 167,928.

The numbers of cases from county longterm-care facilities were last updated on the DOH website on Tuesday, Sept. 29, so it is unknown which facilities these increased cases originated from.

“In our own region, there are three patients in the hospital,” says Dr. Rutul Dalal, medical director of infectious diseases and chairman of infection prevention control at UPMC in the Susquehanna region. “This was expected.”

He added that the colder weather, increased social activity and having schools and universities open all contribute to the increase in COVID-19 cases.

“The virus has developed mutations, making it more easily transmissible,” he added. “We are seeing more increases in the 19 to 24 age group across the state.”

The “relaxed attitude amongst people” could be a part of the increased caseload in the county, Dalal said.

“The severity of the disease has definitely gone down,” he added. “The numbers are going up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the death numbers are going up.”

The mutation is the six-one-four mutation, which is increasing “viral load” and allowing the virus to easily attach itself in the body.

“The virus is going to stay for longer periods,” Dalal said. “There are studies proving airborne transmission…it can also stay on the human skin for up to nine hours. If people do not adhere to the customs, hand washing, social distancing and masking, the numbers will definitely rise, especially with the cold weather coming in.”

“You will have to mask,” he added. “Please limit gatherings and take the basic precautions. Everyone should get their flu shots. If we do have a duel attack, at least this will not overload our health systems and people can be protected against one virus as we wait for the COVID vaccine.”

“As we report a large increase of cases, it is a reminder to all Pennsylvanians that COVID-19 remains a threat in our communities,” Mumma said. “Together we can unite against COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, downloading COVID Alert PA and washing hands frequently.”

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