Levine: No future shutdowns planned

October 15, 2020 Cranberry Local News

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Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine discussed a new shift in COVID-19 cases while responding to media inquiries at a Wednesday news conference.

Levine was asked whether she or Gov. Tom Wolf considered reapplying business restrictions and stay-at-home orders if a large resurgence in the number of cases came in the fall.

Levine said the state and country are better equipped now than they were in the spring, although she said she could not predict the future.

“We have no plans at this time to change the mitigation orders currently in place,” she said.

Levine said her department is keeping a close eye on the state as its numbers and percent positivity have increased in recent weeks. She said the state's hospitalization rates have also doubled during that time.

“We're certainly seeing a change (in the number of COVID-19 case numbers) in the last couple weeks from what we were seeing before,” she said.

Butler County has not had a similar problem. In the most recent report on the state's COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard, the county showed no change in its hospitalization numbers.

In a Butler Health System report Wednesday, both Butler Memorial and Clarion Hospital remain in the single digits of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Specifically, Butler Memorial has two inpatients, one confirmed to have COVID-19 and one suspected of having the virus. Neither is being treated in the intensive care unit.

Levine also said the state has no plans to change the guidance for K-12 school districts, “but I want to emphasize that there is local control. This is really up to the school boards and the superintendents to decide.”

Butler County has had a wave of local districts reporting their first or new cases of the virus.

On Tuesday, Karns City Area and South Butler County school districts reported new cases of COVID-19.

Karns City reported one case in a high school employee, who was last in the building on Oct. 9.

“At this point, it is not believed that this employee was in close contact with any students,” said the district in a message to the community.

South Butler is also performing contact tracing as a family self-reported with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, according to a letter sent to parents by superintendent Dave Foley.

The family includes children, who attend Knoch High School, the middle school and South Butler Intermediate Elementary School. The children are considered “symptomatic probable cases.”

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Nathan Bottiger

Nathan Bottiger

Nathan Bottiger graduated with a degree in journalism in 2015 from Pitt-Johnstown. A business reporter, he also covers Slippery Rock borough, township and school district.