Levine: Southeastern Pa. still on track to enter ‘yellow’ phase on Friday

Hadas Kuznits
June 03, 2020 - 6:10 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Additional efforts are being made in Pennsylvania to contain the coronavirus as Philadelphia prepares to move to the “yellow” phase of the reopening process this Friday.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said new partnerships are being formed with business, health and educational organizations to help with COVID-19 contact tracing, including a partnership with Temple University College of Public Health.

"During the month of June, we will be training 200 students from Temple to help with contact tracing,” Levine said. 

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Officials have also been working with the Penn State College of Medicine to recruit medical students to help with contact tracing.

Meanwhile, additional testing sites are being established in north, central, and northwest Pennsylvania, and anybody who needs a test can get one. 

Testing and contact tracing, she emphasized, are crucial elements in containing the virus. 

She also stressed the importance of rigorous hand washing, wearing masks and taking the precautions needed to prevent people from picking up the virus in the first place, especially as stay-at-home measures are relaxed.

"COVID-19 is not gone and we do not have anywhere near herd immunity, really, anywhere in the world,” she added. 

And despite the large gatherings and protests that have been happening in Philadelphia, Levine said southeastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, “are still on track to go to 'yellow' on Friday."

She explained here are a number of parameters that are considered when preparing to loosen guidelines on counties from the “red” to the “yellow” phase, including the number of cases in the past two weeks, the number of cases per capita, and percentage of positive tests, which has been going down throughout the commonwealth. 

She said they're also looking at hospital bed availability and the ability to do testing.

Health officials reported 511 new cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to more than 73,000 cases. To date, there have been more than 5,700 coronavirus-related fatalities.