The state health secretary Tuesday strengthen her mask mandate and took other measures to address the surge in COVID-19 cases following dire warnings from the federal government about the spread of the virus.
State Health Sec. Dr. Rachel Levine called on hospitals to prepare for predictions that intensive care unit beds may be at capacity by December.
“Hospitals need to be working now to review and prepare...,” Levine said during a media call Tuesday afternoon.
She took other measures that require people traveling into Pennsylvania to have a negative test result for the virus within 72 hours of arriving, and recommend colleges test all students before they return to campus from a break. Those traveling for medical appointments or work are exempt.
Pennsylvania experienced another record-setting number of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday when 5,900 new cases were reported.
Washington County reported 117 new cases, the largest one-day increase, taking its total to 3,223. Fayette County added 34 new cases to its total that climbed to 1,428. Greene County’s case-count increased by seven bringing its total to 473. There were no new deaths reported in the three counties.
Levine said she tightened her masking order to address those who refuse to wear them in businesses.
“In the end the people will see the consequences of their actions,” Levine said.
She said the White House coronavirus task force warned Tuesday the virus has become “aggressive and unrelenting,” and that the situation will deteriorate further. It also warned current mitigation to slow the spread of the virus is inadequate.
Masking is now required indoors and outdoors when people leave their homes.
Levine said any future orders will depend on the public following the existing orders.
“We don’t want people to travel. We want people to stay home,” she said.