One year later: How COVID-19 has hit our state

Coronavirus

A 3-D rendering of the coronavirus (Getty Images).

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — On March 6, 2020, Governor Wolf took the podium to announce the first two positive COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania.

At that point, the virus was confirmed in other states: Washington, California and New York to name a few. Five days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) would declare the coronavirus a global pandemic.

One year later, Pennsylvania and the entire world witnessed many changes: restrictions, quarantine, face masks and the race to an effective vaccine. As of March 6, 2021, there are 946,985 total cases in Pennsylvania, 28,714,163 in the United States and 115,653,459 across the globe.

PENNSYLVANIA CASES

  • March 6, 2020: First two cases were reported.
  • March 252020: Over 1,000 cases (1,127)
  • April 14, 2020: Over 25,000 cases (25,345)
  • May 42020: Over 50,000 cases (50,092)
  • July 18, 2020: Over 100,000 cases (100,241)
  • Oct. 28, 2020: Over 200,000 cases (200,674)
  • Nov. 21, 2020: Over 300,000 cases (302,564)
  • Dec. 5, 2020: Over 400,000 cases (411,484)
  • Dec. 15, 2020: Over 500,000 cases (509,320)
  • Dec. 26, 2020: Over 600,000 cases (605,141)
  • Jan. 8, 2021: Over 700,000 cases (703,265)
  • Jan. 24, 2021: Over 800,000 cases (803,933)
  • Feb. 17, 2021: Over 900,000 cases (902,650)
  • March 6, 2021: 946,985

TOTAL CASES: THE BREAKDOWN

March 6, 2020: The first two positive cases emerge in PA. The first two cases of COVID-19 were identified in Delaware County and Wayne County.

March 18, 2020: First COVID-19 death in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported the first COVID-19 death from an adult in Northampton County.

Oct. 14, 2020: Pennsylvania confirms a fall resurgence of COVID-19. Oct. 14 was the ninth consecutive day that the daily case count surpassed 1,000 cases. Dr. Rachel Levine said that Pennsylvania is more prepared to handle the influx than they were in the spring and that state officials had no plans to impose another statewide stay-at-home order or broad-based business shut down at that time.

FILE – In this May 29, 2020, file photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf meets with the media at The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa. On Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, the Justice Department sent letters to the governors of Pennsylvania and three other Democratic-led states, seeking data on whether they violated federal law by ordering public nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals, actions that have been criticized for potentially fueling the spread of the virus. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP, File)

Nov. 30, 2020: Pennsylvania sees over 41k cases over the course of seven days. The DOH reported a seven-day increase of 41,424 cases as of Nov. 26, with a statewide percent positivity rate of 11.7%. At this time, every county in Pennsylvania was listed at a concerning percent positivity (above 5%). Sixty-six counties out of the 67 total were placed in the substantial category for community transmission.

Dec. 9, 2020: Governor Wolf tests positive for COVID-19. The governor tested positive during a routine test. He reportedly had no symptoms and isolated at home. His wife, First Lady Frances Wolf, tested negative. Gov. Wolf would go on to test negative a few days later.

March 5, 2021: Gov. Wolf cites a light at the end of the tunnel. Wolf cited 2020 as being a tough year, citing that what Pennsylvania has this year that they didn’t have last year: hope.

VACCINATIONS IN PA

Nov. 9, 2020: The United States allows the first emergency use of COVID-19 antibody drug. The experimental drug was approved for people ages 12 and older that have mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms that do not require hospitalization. It is still undergoing additional testing and the FDA said it is similar to the treatment that President Donald Trump received when he had COVID-19.

Dec. 11, 2020: The Pfizer vaccine is approved. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by the FDA. It is also the fastest-developed vaccine in history.

Dec. 13, 2020: Pfizer starts shipments to the United States. Participants must receive two doses of the vaccine within three weeks of each other. The general public is not expected to receive the vaccine until 2021.

Dec. 18, 2020: The Moderna vaccine is approved. The FDA found no severe allergic reactions in Moderna but there was a slightly higher rate of certain side effects: rash, hives, and itching.

Dec. 30, 2020: The DOH launches a COVID-19 vaccine dashboard. The dashboard is launched to give updates on the number of vaccinations administered by the county, along with demographic information. The site also defines the multiple phases of the vaccination process, and where certain occupations and conditions are in line.

Jan. 20, 2021: More Pennsylvanians are eligible for the vaccine. Phase 1A initially included healthcare workers, but it has been expanded to include people who are pregnant, obese, have certain heart conditions, and those with cancer or type two diabetes.

Jan. 22, 2021: Alison Beam is nominated as the new Secretary of Health. Beam was nominated by Governor Wolf after former Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine was nominated by President Biden to serve as the national Assistant Secretary of Health. Beam was previously Gov. Wolf’s Chief of Staff. Dr. Levine was also the interim acting physician general at the time, and she has been replaced by Dr. Wendy Braund.

Jan. 25, 2021: Over 111,000 Pennsylvanians have been fully vaccinated. However, in phase 1A, 3.5 million people are eligible to receive the vaccine, causing confusion and frustration with the slow rollout as the supply dwindles.

Feb. 4, 2021: PA ranks among the worst states for COVID-19 vaccinations. At the time, USA facts reported that only 1.9% of the Pennsylvania population received both doses of the vaccine. The Pennsylvania Senate met to discuss their rankings, while Senator Yudichak noted that neighboring states like New York and Ohio had vaccinated 20,000 more nursing homes than Pennsylvania.

Feb. 17, 2021: The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports a mix-up in vaccine distribution. According to the DOH, 200,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine that were meant to be given as second doses were instead administered as first doses to new patients. Due to this mix-up, 30,000 to 60,000 patients that have already received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine will now have to wait longer to receive their second dose, while those scheduled to receive their first dose will be pushed back in the schedule as well.

Feb. 19, 2021: Severe winter storms delay about 6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As winter weather left states like Texas without power, water or heat, COVID-19 vaccines were backlogged due to unsafe driving conditions. Pfizer said it will provide the United States with 100 million doses by the end of March, followed by another 100 million by the end of May.

LATEST IN COVID-19 NEWS

Feb. 24, 2021: Geisinger allowed employees’ kin to skip the vaccine line. The Associated Press reported the health network allowed special access to relatives of Geisinger employees as the state is still in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution. The DOH said they were not aware of the situation until they were contacted by the Associated Press.

March 1, 2021: Nearly 4 million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses head out across the US. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine that only requires one dose.

March 2, 2021: Pennsylvania teachers get bumped up in the COVID-19 vaccine line. Teachers have moved into Phase 1A for vaccine distribution. President Biden said he wants every educator, school staff member and child care worker to receive at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of the month.

RESTRICTIONS

March 19, 2020: Wolf orders all non-life-sustaining businesses to close at 8 p.m. The previous businesses that were suggested to close are now forced to shut their doors at 8 p.m. Enforcement set to begin on March 21 for businesses that don’t close and could result in fines, citations, or license suspensions. Private businesses or local organizations that didn’t comply could forfeit the ability to receive applicable disaster relief.

April 1, 2020: All of Pennsylvania is under the stay-at-home order. Gov. Wolf provided a detailed list of what is considered essential travel and individual activities that could still be performed. Healthcare, news media, law enforcement, the federal government, religious institutions and other life-sustaining businesses were exempt.

April 3, 2020: Pennsylvania residents advised to wear masks when leaving the house. The use of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 begins in Pennsylvania. Gov. Wolf asked residents not to wear N95 and paper masks in order to reserve them for healthcare workers.

April 22, 2020: State reopening plan announced. Gov. Wolf announces the introduction of his three-phase plan: red, yellow and green. Some counties in the northwestern and north-central areas of the state are projected to be released from stay-at-home order May 8. A region must average fewer than 50 new positive cases per 100,000 residents to move out from under the statewide lockdown.

July 1, 2020: Facemasks must be used in all public places. An order signed by Dr. Rachel Levine made masks a requirement whenever anyone leaves their home. This includes when individuals are outdoors and cannot maintain a six-foot distance from others.

Wearing double masks, Mark Holton, a Lock Haven student home on break, walks his puppy Bella during a winter storm in Monroe Township, Wyoming County, Pa., Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Mark Moran /The Citizens’ Voice via AP)

July 15, 2020: Wolf imposes restrictions on bars and restaurants. Bars will close unless they offer dine-in meals and restaurants will be at a 25% capacity. Alcohol may only be served on-site with a meal. Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited, with the exception of places of worship.

Sept. 11, 2020: Bars and restaurants are allowed to reopen to 50% capacity on Sept. 21. Businesses need to go through an online self-certification to upgrade their capacity to 50%.

Nov. 17, 2020: Travelers need to test negative for COVID-19 to enter the state. These targeted restrictions were announced by Dr. Levine, who said travelers either need to test negative for the virus within the last 72 hours or quarantine for 14 days/until they receive a negative test result. She also announced that masks are required inside even if you are socially distanced when you are with people from outside of your household.

Dec. 10, 2020: The second round of COVID-19 restrictions is announced in PA. Scheduled until Jan. 4, indoor dining is prohibited and indoor gatherings are capped at 10 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people and businesses may operate at up to 50% capacity. Places of congregate worship were excluded from these restrictions.

March 1, 2021: Gov. Wolf revises some COVID-19 restrictions for crowd sizes. Revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 15% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Outdoor events allow for 20% of maximum occupancy.

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