Hospitalizations, new COVID-19 cases dropping; state prison to allow visitors

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May 19—New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to drop statewide and across the local region. There were 1,353 inpatients being treated for COVID-19 in Pennsylvania hospitals, Wednesday's update by the Department of Health showed.

That includes 316 patients under intensive care and 212 on ventilators or breathing machines.

Last week, there were 1,712 hospitalizations and four weeks ago, there were 2,842 inpatients statewide.

Locally, there were 50 patients in Cambria, Blair, Somerset and Bedford county hospitals, with six in ICUs and eight on ventilators.

That's down from 60 patients last week and from 78 hospitalized four weeks ago.

Wednesday's update included 1,257 additional positives and 54 new deaths, bringing the statewide totals to 1,190,102 cases 26,925 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Cambria County recorded 22 new cases and one death for totals of 14,378 cases and 430 deaths since the pandemic struck in March 2020.

Somerset County added 10 cases with no deaths to reach 7,852 cases and 208 deaths.

Bedford County added three cases with no deaths to reach 4,529 cases and 138 deaths.

Blair County added 19 cases and one death to reach 13,174 cases and 334 deaths.

Indiana County added 18 cases and one death to reach 6,232 cases and 175 deaths.

Clearfield County added seven cases and one death to reach 8,487 cases and 146 deaths.

Centre County added four cases with no deaths to reach 16,730 cases and 222 deaths.

Westmoreland County added 19 cases and two deaths to reach 33,774 cases and 760 deaths.

Vaccine providers have administered 9,876,905 doses and 4,294,480 people are fully vaccinated, the health department reports. Another 1,643,875 are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine.

A Somerset County facility will be the first state prison to allow in-person visits since March 2020.

SCI-Laurel Highlands is among five state correctional institutions that will reopen to visitors in the coming weeks, Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said.

Visiting resumes at Laurel Highlands on Saturday. Also schedule to reopen to visitors are SCI Waymart on May 27, SCI Muncy on May 30, SCI Cambridge Springs on May 31 and the Quehanna Boot Camp on June 3.

The remaining facilities will reopen over the coming weeks.

"Our mission is to reinstate in-person visits while not significantly increasing the number of infections within our facilities," Wetzel said in a press release. "Reintegrating visitation in a methodical, staggered manner — along with enhanced safety measures — allows the DOC to monitor wastewater testing results and use objective data to ensure facilities have continued success managing COVID-19."