HARRSISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The coronavirus continues to spread around the world.
There are more than 80,000 cases worldwide including almost 3,000 deaths. Now officials here in Pennsylvania are preparing for a potential spread. The secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, stressed Wednesday that nobody in Pennsylvania has tested positive so far for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. But if the virus does spread to the commonwealth, she says officials are prepared.
“No one in Pennsylvania has tested positive for COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said.
But while that’s good news in the present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does expect more cases to be confirmed and Pennsylvania officials are preparing for the future.
“The CDC wants everyone to take action to prevent the spread of this virus, COVID-19,” Dr. Levine said.
The state Department of Health’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated to allow for enhanced response coordination between federal, state, and local partners. The state has also provided symptom monitoring for residents returning to Pennsylvania from China and have adapted their current pandemic flu plans to deal with the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
“There are similarities, but some differences between COVID-19 and influenza,” Dr. Levine said.
Dr. Levine says the coronavirus is somewhat more contagious than influenza and can lead to more deaths, but by taking action now, she’s confident the state will be able to deal with the virus if it makes its way here.
“If we see community spread in the United States and in Pennsylvania, it will be a challenge for all of us, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Wolf administration is up to that task,” Dr. Levine said.