Gov. Tom Wolf said Saturday there are no plans to wholly restrict travel between Pennsylvania and New York City where the novel coronavirus spread rapidly and is exhausting the city’s health care system.
Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on Saturday attributed the continued spread of the virus within Pennsylvania to “community spread” rather than it coming from outbreak hotspots out-of-state.
“It’s hard to determine whether we have seen any cases that have spread from New York,” Levine said.
“At this point, we don’t think this is a big problem,” Wolf said of the risk of the coronavirus spreading into Pennsylvania’s borders from New York City.
The Department of Health updated the positive case count for Pennsylvania: 2,751 as of midnight Saturday. There has been an average of 541 new cases in each of the past three days. Thirty-four people died of the coronavirus’s resulting disease, COVID-19, state officials said. The state expanded stay-at-home orders to 22 counties, adding Beaver, Centre and Washington counties to the list. No Valley counties are presently under a stay-at-home order.
Travelers entering Pennsylvania from New York City are asked by Wolf and President Donald Trump to self-quarantine a minimum of 14 days. Wolf said a ban remains in place on regularly scheduled busses from New York to Pennsylvania.
Beyond that, no other changes are imminent, according to Wolf.
New York State reported 52,318 cases as of Saturday afternoon. More than half are in New York City where, as of Saturday morning, there were 29,158 cases and 517 deaths alone.
President Donald Trump floated the idea of a quarantine as early as Saturday affecting residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for a short time to stop the spread of coronavirus from reaching states with fewer infections, according to The Associated Press.
The Associated Press reported that a news conference was held Saturday morning outside city-run Jacobi Hospital, where nurses called for more masks and other gear to safeguard themselves against the virus. Jacobi nurses said managers at the Bronx hospital have been rationing protective equipment. City officials have insisted there’s enough protective equipment for roughly the next week, though they’re worried for the weeks after, the AP reported.