With the addition of 533 positive COVID-19 cases, Pennsylvania's total increased to 2,751 across 56 counties as of Saturday, according to the state Department of Health.

Blair County has recorded its second positive case, while Cambria held at one and Somerset County at two cases.

Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised their “Stay at Home” orders to include Beaver, Centre and Washington counties, bringing the state total to 22 counties under a stay-at-home order – effective at 8 p.m. Saturday through April 6.

During a media briefing, Wolf compared the spread of the coronavirus to chains, explaining that one person infects three who in turn infect nine.

"You go five links down this chain and there are 243 people infected," Wolf said. "By working together to destroy these chains of infection, we can get through this crisis with a lower loss of life and a smaller impact on our economy."

The health department confirmed 12 new deaths Saturday, bringing the statewide total up to 34.

Levine said more than 316 people have been hospitalized because of the virus since March 6, when the first cases were confirmed.

That's 11.5% of people who have tested positive, with 97 requiring intensive-care treatment, and 56 of those individuals needing a ventilator or breathing machine.

Of the hospitalized people, 39% are in the age range of 25 to 49 – the largest group. Nearly 28% are ages 50-64 and 19% are ages 65 and older.

Most of the deaths that have occurred because of the pandemic involved patients 65 years of age or older, according to the health department.

Since Wednesday, there has been a spike in positive cases but it appears those numbers have leveled out.

Levine said the department of health has observed this trend and is watching the data carefully.

However, she explained that it's too early to draw a conclusion and will be examining the data on a day-to-day basis.

There have been 25,254 patients who have tested negative.

Both Levine and Wolf commended health care professionals, first responders and emergency medical services for their efforts during this crisis.

In order to assist those individuals, Wolf said medical professionals with licenses from other states will be allowed to practice in Pennsylvania and in some circumstances pharmacies from other states will be able to serve the commonwealth.

These practices are additions to the temporary lift on certain regulations to Pennsylvania medical practitioners, such as those who've let their licenses lapse, but remain in good standing, and are now allowed to reactivate their licenses without fees or continuing education credits.

"This will get doctors and nurses who have decades of experience back to seeing patients," Wolf said.

He added that those returning to the field don't have to necessarily help COVID-19 patients, but by taking patients with everyday concerns they'll help reduce the burden on the overall medical system.

State officials are encouraging citizens to continue social distancing, thorough hand washing and remaining home unless absolutely necessary.

"We are a strong and resilient commonwealth and we are the first ones to help neighbors in need," Levine said. "And we know the only way that we're going to get through this is to get through it together."

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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