First COVID-19 related death reported in Luzerne County

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Luzerne County reports its first confirmed fatal case of COVID-19.

Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri made the announcement Wednesday. A 70 year-old man from Hanover Township died Tuesday in a local hospital.

The Luzerne County coroner will not release the name of the man at this time.

Officials say the 70 year-old recently traveled outside the U.S. and had pre-existing health problems. They also confirmed the man was in self-quarantine prior to taking himself to the hospital.

Pedri held a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon to address the first COVID-19 related death within the county.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man’s family, our condolences go out to the entire community of Luzerne County,” says Pedri. “Every single citizen of Luzerne County should act under the assumption that the coronavirus is within their municipality and take special care in order to make sure that you are safe and your family is secure.”

State senator John Yudichak responded to the announcement saying “My thoughts and prayers are with the family of a member of our community who has succumbed to the COVID-19 virus.”

The Hanover Township Board of Commissioners also extending prayers to the victim’s family— stating “Losing a member of our close-knit community under these extraordinary and uncertain times brings this pandemic to all of our front doors.”

“Every single citizen of Luzerne County should act under the assumption that the coronavirus is within their municipality and take special care in order to make sure that you are safe and your family is secure,” Pedri said.

In addition to the first COVID-19 related death in Luzerne County, the state health department reports 27 positive COVID-19 cases in the county.

“Looking at our numbers here in Luzerne County,our numbers are growing quickly,” Pedri said.

Pedri says Luzerne County’s numbers are catching up to “hot spot” counties in Pennsylvania that have been given a stay-at-home order by Governor Wolf.

At this time, a Declaration of Emergency has been extended for Luzerne County.

The county is also working to form a crisis management team and has also enacted a hiring freeze for non-essential departments.

Many people wish to know where these positive cases are in Luzerne County. Pedri says the state health department is not releasing those locations.

The county is also working to form a crisis management team.

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