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Coronavirus cases, deaths declining in Pennsylvania

The state Department of Health on Tuesday reported its smallest number of new coronavirus cases and its smallest number of new deaths since two months ago.

The new case number on Tuesday was 451, the lowest since the department reported 560 new cases March 25.

The new death number Tuesday was 13, lowest since the department reported 16 on March 26.

There was, however, another death in the region reported Tuesday by the state Department of Corrections — that of a third inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon.

Messages left Tuesday evening for information about that death from the coroners for Huntingdon and Blair counties were not returned.

The decreasing rate of new cases would seem to be one of the reasons the state is moving 18 counties to the green phase of reopening on Friday and eight counties from the red to the yellow phase. On June 5, the remaining red counties will move to yellow.

To move to the green phase, counties must show a decreasing rate of infection, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said on Tuesday’s department webcast.

In contrast to the good news about case counts and death counts — which might be artificially low because of delays in reporting during the holiday weekend — there is rising concern about a recently discovered COVID-19 issue with children.

There are 15 cases, nine of them confirmed, of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children in Pennsylvania, Levine said.

It is similar to Kawasaki’s disease. Its symptoms include persistent fever, sometimes high; rash; swollen lymph nodes; pinkeye; and abdominal pain, Levine said.

The risk factors are not known, nor how it’s transmitted or if it’s specific to children, she said.

But parents should be aware of it and should contact their pediatricians if they suspect it in their kids, she said. The department is working with the state’s children’s hospitals and pediatric specialists on the issue.

“MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated on its website.

“It’s an evolving and changing situation,” Levine said. “We need to be very careful.”

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