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Pennsylvania reports 23 new virus deaths, 854 infections

HARRISBURG (AP) — Twenty-three new deaths were attributed to COVID-19 by Pennsylvania health officials on Tuesday, a day after the state reported no new pandemic deaths for the first time in several months.

Total deaths, now at 7,232 in Pennsylvania, have been dropping for more than two months, but infections have risen since mid-June.

The Health Department said the state has 854 new positive cases of COVID-19, for a running statewide pandemic total of just over 115,000.

Health officials say infections are up significantly among younger people, particularly those 19 to 24 years old. They have alerted medical professionals about the trend, in which cases are up among that younger cohort in every region of the state.

Philadelphia reported 106 new cases Tuesday, continuing a decreasing trend in cases. The city clocked a 123-case daily average for the week ending Saturday, Aug. 1, compared to an average of 166 new cases a day during the previous week.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley characterized the numbers as a decrease rather than a plateau, noting that he wasn’t sure if the decrease was temporary or would continue.

“Any decrease is good news,” he said.

Allegheny County reported 132 new cases Tuesday, from tests taken mostly between July 14 and Aug. 3. Allegheny County’s numbers have fluctuated greatly over the last week, dropping to a low of 66 over the weekend from more than 200 cases Friday.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than Pennsylvania’s confirmed case count because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

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