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Huntingdon County reports its second death

Mifflin and Juniata counties report no new changes in local COVID-19 cases

Huntingdon County reported its second COVID-19 death while Mifflin and Juniata counties’ case totals remained unchanged, according to data released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Despite adding a death to its total, Huntingdon County did not report any new cases Wednesday.

According to the latest data, Mifflin County has had 58 total cases and one death, Juniata County has had 95 total cases and four deaths and Huntingdon County has had 228 cases with now two deaths. Most cases in the county are tied to the outbreak at State Correctional Institution Huntingdon, whose inmates are considered by the state to be residents of Huntingdon County.

Perry County saw its total rise by five new cases to 53 to date. There has been one virus-related death in Perry County.

Snyder County added one new case for a new total of 39 with one death. Snyder County is slated on Friday morning to move to the “green” phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s gradual reopening plan as part of the first group of 18 counties to enter the least-restrictive status.

Mifflin, Juniata and Perry counties moved to the “yellow” phase this past Friday while Huntingdon County is slated to move to yellow this Friday.

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine established the timeline for counties in yellow to be considered for a move to green.

“A county would have to spend a minimum of 14 days in yellow,” she said. “That’s the end of the incubation period (for the virus).”

She said a county would need to maintain a “low level” of incidence for the period of time spent in the yellow phase, although she did not provide a specific benchmark for a county to meet for its incidence level to be considered “low.”

Levine also said that while 14 days was the minimum time a county would have to spend in the yellow phase before moving to green, it could and likely would be longer.

“Fourteen days is necessary, but not sufficient,” she said.

This would mean the earliest Mifflin, Juniata and Perry counties could be eligible to move to green is June 5. Huntingdon County won’t be eligible until June 12.

The group of counties moving to the green phase Friday — Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren — all went from red to yellow on May 8. This Friday comes exactly three weeks — or 21 days — later.

In the green phase, all types of businesses can be open, restaurants and bars can accept dine-in customers to 50% capacity, indoor recreation and entertainment businesses such as theaters, shopping malls, gyms and spas can be open to a 50% occupancy and personal care businesses such as hair salons and barber shops can be open by appointment only. Large recreational gatherings such as major sporting events or concerts remain restricted and residents are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks while in public and around others.

In other nearby counties, Centre County added one new case for a total of 149 with six deaths, Dauphin County reported 37 new cases and three new deaths for a total of 1,174 cases and 66 deaths, Franklin County saw 10 new cases and one death added to its totals, which now stand at 456 cases and 30 deaths, and Union County’s total remained at 56 cases and one death.

No COVID-19 patients seeking treatment locally are currently on ventilators. Across Pennsylvania, 1,493 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, 334 of which are on ventilators.

Statewide, there have been 69,417 cases of COVID-19 with 5,265 deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 349,990 negative tests have been conducted in Pennsylvania.

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