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Pittsburgh virus hotspot; reports 218 new cases

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG (AP) — An additional 450 people in Pennsylvania have tested positive for the coronavirus, with nearly half the new cases coming from the Pittsburgh area, state health officials reported Monday.

There were 218 new confirmed infections in Allegheny County, a virus hotspot that is home to Pittsburgh and 1.2 million people. Last week, county health officials announced a one-week ban on table service at bars and restaurants. Health officials have said that many of those testing positive lately are younger people who frequented bars and restaurants or who traveled out of state to beach towns and other locales.

Allegheny County also ordered the casino there to close and banned gatherings of more than 25 people for a week in an attempt to reduce the surge in new infections.

County officials confirmed Monday that at least 10 cases among courthouse employees and others are among recent cases. Court administrator Christopher Connors said six employees had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the district attorney’s office said in a social media post that three staff members had contracted the virus. The county deputy sheriff said a civilian employee believed to have been exposed at another job also tested positive.

Statewide, a single new COVID-19 death was reported Monday, raising Pennsylvania’s toll to 7,754 since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 90,000 people statewide have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than the state’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.

In other coronavirus-related developments Monday:

HELP FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS, ARTS ORGS

The Wolf administration announced additional federal money for child care providers and arts organizations that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Child care providers are getting an additional $53 million from Pennsylvania’s share of the federal coronavirus relief package. The money will be distributed this month. Providers are getting a total of $220 million to help them stay afloat and pay for enhanced cleaning and sanitation, according to the Wolf administration.

Pennsylvania had more than 7,000 licensed child care providers at the end of June. The state says more than 150 have closed.

The Wolf administration also said that more than 300 nonprofit arts organizations in Pennsylvania will get a total of $2.3 million in grant money from the federal coronavirus relief package. The National Endowment for the Arts sent $1.8 million to 36 arts organizations, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts distributed the remaining $527,000 to 273 organizations.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

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