State health officials confirmed 17 new virus infections in the Valley on Tuesday, the largest day-over-day increase in the region since April 12 and 13.
There were nine new cases in Northumberland County, four in Union, three in Snyder and one in Montour.
Also on Monday, Philadelphia public schools switched gears and decided to keep all students in online classes through at least the first marking period in mid-November.
The statewide surge of new cases continued Tuesday with 1,120 new COVID-19 infections, the state Department of Health announced. Most of the cases — 412 of 1,120 — came from three counties on Tuesday: Philadelphia (175), Allegheny (119) and Delaware (118).
State health officials announced another 24 deaths statewide.
Since the state began tracking data in March, there have now been 700 cases in the Valley, including 390 in Northumberland County, 128 in Union, 92 in Montour and 90 in Snyder.
Eighteen Valley residents have died from the novel coronavirus: 11 in Northumberland, 3 in Montour and 2 each in Snyder and Union counties. The last Valley death confirmed by the state was July 21.
There are 7,146 total Pennsylvania deaths attributed to COVID-19. Of the total deaths, 4,857 have been attributed to long-term care facilities, including eight in Northumberland County.
The department is seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19- to 24-year-olds from April to now.
According to the state Department of Health data, 716 residents are hospitalized with the virus, well below the peak of 2,800 in April. There are 93 patients being treated for COVID-19 on a ventilator.
Nursing home cases
In nursing and personal care homes, there are 19,225 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,868 cases among employees, for a total of 23,093 at 835 distinct facilities in 61 counties. Approximately 8,045 of the state's total cases are in health care workers.
There have been 69 confirmed cases of the virus reported from residents of Valley nursing homes, including one new resident case in Northumberland County.
In Northumberland County long-term care facilities, 62 residents and 10 workers have been infected and eight deaths have been recorded in three facilities. Three workers and one resident at three Union County facilities have been infected and one worker and no residents have been infected in one Montour County facility. In Snyder County, four residents and two workers have been infected in one facility.
There have been no deaths reported from nursing homes in Snyder, Union or Montour counties.
The School District of Philadelphia is switching gears to keep all public school students in online classes after a previous plan to return students to class two days a week drew fears and criticism from parents, teachers and administrators.
The district announced its revised plan for students Tuesday, which calls for online-only instruction at least through the first marking period that ends in mid-November. The district will hold a public forum on the revised plan Thursday when the school board is expected to vote.
The new plan would switch to a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning after Nov. 17, officials said.
The Wolf administration on Tuesday announced that the availability of 24/7 call centers to provide clinical and operational support to long-term care facilities as they protect residents and staff from COVID-19. The call centers are run and staffed by health systems participating in the Regional Response Health Collaboration Program (RRHCP), the education and clinical support network launched for long-term care providers earlier this month.
“We are pleased to offer this service to assist long-term care facilities who are in need of assistance as they protect their residents and staff,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The support from the RRHCPs are essential as we see cases start to increase across the state, and prepare for a potential second wave in the fall. We are committed to ensuring that long-term care facilities are safe and protecting the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians.”
Regional call centers will be available to provide direct support and assistance 24/7. Facilities can contact their RRHCP by calling the telephone number below for the health system covering the county. Geisinger is the call center for 17 counties, including all four in the Valley. The number is 570-271-6009.