HARRISBURG, Pa. >> Pennsylvania reported its first death from the new coronavirus today as state officials announced a nearly 40% jump in the number of confirmed cases.
The state Department of Health identified the victim as an adult from Northampton County and said the person was treated at a hospital. No other details were released.
State officials, meanwhile, promised a crackdown on bars and restaurants that fail to adhere to Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to stop serving food and drink on-site.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said any retail liquor license holder that continues to offer dine-in service after 8 p.m. Wednesday could face state police enforcement as well as a suspension of its operating license.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, and this decision is not made lightly. But saving lives and protecting the health and safety of our communities is our highest priority right now,” said liquor board chairman Tim Holden.
Wolf planned to address the coronavirus crisis at a news conference later Wednesday.
Confirmed cases in Pennsylvania exceeded 130 as of today, rising by 37, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. About two-thirds of confirmed cases have been in southeastern Pennsylvania. The majority of testing is now being done by private labs.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.
As the nation’s economic crisis deepened, the state Department of Labor and Industry said unemployment compensation claims exceeded 70,000 on Tuesday alone after hitting 50,000 on Monday. In the entire first week of March, the state received barely 12,000 claims, according to federal data.