Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine visit the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to thank health care workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, June 24, 2020.
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Gov. Wolf predicts COVID-19 resurgence in fall, offers hope it won’t force new round of school and business closings
The state Health secretary said wearing masks is essential to getting through a second wave with minimal harm.
By David Wenner/PennLive
Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday he expects COVID-19 to surge again in Pennsylvania this fall. But he said preparations and lessons learned during months when the state was shut down may enable us to weather it without a repeat of the shut down.
The advantages if faced with a second wave include increased hospital preparedness and capacity, expanded testing and expanding contact tracing to find and isolate people who have been exposed. Wolf said Pennsylvania now has capacity for 16,000 tests per day — more than the total tested in March — and has nearly 600 contact tracers, with plans to add more.
“I think we are in a much better place,” he said. Still, he noted he can’t predict the future.
Wolf also said people and businesses now fully understand how to social distance and the need for it, as well as the need for things including staying home and getting tested if sick, frequent hand-washing and wearing a mask in public.
Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine spoke during a visit to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Both repeatedly stressed the need to wear face masks in public, and said it makes no sense that it has become a political issue of Democrats largely complying with the recommendation and many supporters of President Donald Trump dismissing the need.
Levine said “study after study” prove that wearing a mask can block some of the droplets from people who are carrying COVID-19 but feeling no symptoms, or who are in the early stage and not yet feeling sick. Scientists believe both groups can spread the disease through droplets released during coughing, sneezing, talking and breathing.
She said wearing masks is essential to getting through a second wave with minimal harm.
Wolf likened wearing a mask in public to obeying stop signs.
“Imagine if only liberals or only conservatives stopped at stop signs,” he said.
Wolf and Levine visited the medical center to stress the COVID-19 preparations that are in place against a resurgence and to thank the medical center staff for their work in caring for the sick and preventing spread.
Wolf said that based on a seven day rolling average Pennsylvania has the longest streak of declining cases in the country.
“All of you are on the front lines and all of you are responsible for that statistic I talked about,” he said, referring to the streak.
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