Gov. Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf takes off his mask during a news conference earlier this year in Harrisburg.

Gov. Tom Wolf made a plea to the public Monday to wear masks and practice social distancing during a statewide resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Wolf said nearly 50% of Pennsylvanians wear masks in public, which means 50% are not, putting the public at risk of getting the virus.

“The truth is wearing a mask works,” Wolf said. “We’ve seen what happens when people don’t wear masks. People just get sick.”

His plea came on the same day the state Health Department announced 1,103 new cases of the virus, marking the 14th straight day of single-day cases being in four digits.

“We expect these numbers to increase,” state Health Secretary Rachel Levine said.

The state also announced 34 new COVID-19 deaths statewide, taking the death toll to 8,500 since March. There were no new deaths announced in Washington, Greene, Fayette or Allegheny counties.

She said the state also is experiencing an increase in the percentage of positive virus tests that are being returned. The statewide percent-positive number was 4.3 Monday, the highest it has been since August, Levine said.

Westmoreland County had the second highest percent-positive rate in the state at 8.9%, state records show. Washington and Fayette counties were listed as areas with a moderate risk for the virus, and Greene County was considered a low risk area.

Levine said 67% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 haven’t been cooperative with contact tracers, statewide.

Evidence suggests the surge in cases has been occurring in schools and colleges, by visiting restaurants and bars and attending large and small gatherings.

The Washington zip code had 373 positive cases of the virus since March, leading Washington County, followed by Canonsburg at 342. In the Mon Valley, the Belle Vernon/Rostraver zip code had the most cases of the virus at 104, followed by Monongahela and Charleroi at 84 and 76, respectively. Uniontown has had 359 cases of the virus, the largest number of any zip code in Fayette County.

Over the past two days, Washington County added 21 new virus cases to its total that climbed to 1,675. Greene County saw one new case added to its total of 214. Fayette County added three cases to its total that inched to 930.

Levine said about 80% of those who have tested positive for the virus statewide have recovered, even though some have lingering health problems.

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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