COVID-19 DOH Testing Lab

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on March 6.

Gov. Tom Wolf lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions Monday in response to declining virus cases.

Wolf also revised occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor events as COVID-19 vaccines roll out and show success in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

“The reason we are seeing cases drop can be attributed, in part, to people following the mitigation efforts we have in place,” Wolf stated in a news release. “Mask-wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene are making a difference and need to continue even as we see more and more people fully vaccinated.”

Indoor events are now limited to 15% occupancy as long as social distancing can be maintained. The outdoor limit is 20% occupancy. The downward trend in cases related to travel are attributed to the federal mask mandate on airplanes and other forms of transportation, Wolf said.

His COVID-19 task force is expected to announce later this week its plan for the distribution of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Wolf’s spokeswoman said. She gave the reply to a question about a plan to move public schoolteachers into the priority category for those eligible to be vaccinated.

The plan to vaccinate teachers under the 1A category leaked from an email state Rep. Tim O’Neal, R-South Strabane, sent to colleagues, his office said.

The state announced five new virus deaths Monday, the lowest number in months. There were no new deaths from the disease in Washington, Allegheny, Fayette or Greene counties.

There were 1,945 new virus cases announced statewide, bringing the total to 933,270.

Washington County reported 26 new cases, taking its total to 13,727 since March. Fayette had 22 new cases added to its total of 10,478. Greene’s case-count rose by three to 2,674.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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