The number of new COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania dropped for the second day in a row on Monday when the state Department of Health announced 492 additional cases statewide.
There were five new local cases announced Monday: 3 in Northumberland County and two in Union County.
The number of statewide cases were down from Sunday’s total of 505. There have now been 85,988 cases. State health officials estimate 78 percent of those who have tested positive have already recovered.
State health officials announced another eight COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, pushing the total to 6,614 deaths.
Of the state’s total number of deaths, 4,531 have been tied to long-term care facilities.
The number of hospitalizations and COVID-19 patients on ventilators continues to decline. There were 634 patients hospitalized statewide on Saturday, a drop of 17 from Sunday, while 104 patients are on ventilators.
There have now been 532 local cases since the state began tracking data in March: 302 in Northumberland County, 92 in Union, 73 in Montour and 65 in Snyder.
State health officials also said there are no new cases at a long-term care facility in Northumberland County, according to the state. There have now been 46 confirmed cases among residents and six among workers at 2 facilities. Two workers also previously tested positive at separate Union County facilities.
In nursing and personal care homes, there are 17,697 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,224 cases among employees, for a total of 20,921 at 689 distinct facilities in 52 counties.
Approximately 6,508 of Pennsylvania’s total cases are in health care workers.
delay pay increases
Evangelical Community Hospital will delay pay increases for employees until January as part of its financial recovery plan of unexpected costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hospital made the announcement Monday as a way to “maintain its historically strong financial position.”
“During the COVID-19 response and at present, the Hospital has prudently managed expenses and remains stable and solid,” Kendra Aucker, President and CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital, said. “By taking decisive action with the workforce, seeking out federal and state grants, and matching the recall of furloughed employees with patient volumes, the Hospital has mitigated some of the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on operations.”
The hospital’s new fiscal year is set to begin Wednesday. Among the steps being taken to reduce expenditures, the hospital will: Delay market adjustment and merit increases until January 2021; Reduce hourly staffing incentives; reduce training hours; reduce the discretionary 401K employer contribution; Reduce salaries and benefits by not filling 15.7 open fulltime positions.
Pennsylvania government agencies are laying out guidelines that will make it easier for people to visit relatives and others inside nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
The Human Services and Health departments announced procedures over the weekend that apply to nursing homes, personal care homes, assisted living residences and private intermediate care facilities.
The homes must first have a publicly available plan, be able to do testing within a day of any resident showing symptoms, implement scheduling, be prepared to isolate residents with a COVID-19 diagnosis and meet standards for staffing, protective equipment and screening.
To reopen for visitors, facilities must have had no new outbreaks among residents or staff and no spread over a two-week period. Nursing homes and personal care facilities have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in Pennsylvania, accounting for nearly 70% of the state’s roughly 6,600 fatalities.