March 08, 2020
Health officials announced a fifth Montgomery County coronavirus case on Monday, one day after announcing two other cases. The latest cases involves a patient in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
The two cases announced on Sunday include a man and woman from the same Lower Merion household. Officials say they traveled to a country where coronavirus is present. They are isolating at their home.
Two Montgomery County residents have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing Pennsylvania's total cases to four, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Saturday night.
Both patients have mild symptoms and are isolated at home, health officials said. They contracted the illness while traveling to parts of the United States where COVID-19 is present.
The news came one day after Wolf announced Pennsylvania's first two coronavirus cases, which included a Delaware County resident.
“Even with these new cases, I want to reassure Pennsylvanians that the commonwealth is prepared and responding appropriately and swiftly so that information and resources are available," Wolf said in a statement. He also called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would bolster the state's response.
Health officials did not release any additional information about the two new cases.
Health officials are working to identify close contacts of the patients, April Hutcheson, communications director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, told The Inquirer. They've already identified the point of infection of the new victims, as they did with the previous two patients.
"When we know where they contracted a virus, we can reach out to everyone they were in contact with and start to stem the spread," Hutcheson told the newspaper.
Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Most illness are mild, but a serious illness occurs in about 16% of cases, according to initial data from China. The incubation period is believed to be 2-14 days.
Older people and those with underlying health conditions, including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, appear to be at greater risk for developing a serious illness, according to the CDC.
Health experts stress that the best way to prevent illness is to practice good hand hygiene, avoid close contact with sick individuals and frequently disinfect common surfaces and objects, like cell phones.
The disease is more deadly than seasonal influenza, but it does not transmit as easily, World Health Organization officials say. There is no known treatment and a vaccine could take at least a year to develop.