Pa. Coronavirus updates: 82,696 cases, 6,464 deaths. The new cases reach a 5-day streak not seen since May. Vaccine planned for early 2021. | Pa. COVID-19 county case map (06/23/20)

Total coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania rose to 82,696 on Tuesday, the fifth consecutive day of more than 450 new cases reported, the first such streak since May.

In its daily update, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 510 new cases of coronavirus across the state. Thirty-eight more Pennsylvania residents died, bringing the statewide COVID-19 death toll to 6,464.

(Can’t see the map? Click here.)

Meanwhile, the American infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told a Congressional committee that he is optimistic that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready by the end of this year or the beginning of next. Locally, state parks have seen an increase in visitors during the coronavirus shutdown, and the Lehigh Valley will enter the green phase of reopening on Friday.

Here are your Pennsylvania coronavirus updates for June 23, 2020.

Coronavirus in Pa.

Since the last days of May, Pennsylvania has not seen a five-day streak with more than 450 new COVID-19 cases per day.

The latest series of cases has pushed Pennsylvania’s seven-day moving average of cases, a rate used to determine a state’s success in containing the virus, slightly more in recent days, after more than a month of general decline .

(Can’t see the map? Click here.)

However, the seven-day rate calculated by still shows an overall decrease in the past two weeks, the maximum incubation period for coronavirus, and the rate remains well below the mid-April peak. Johns Hopkins University shows the same result by looking at the three-day moving average for the past 14 days.

Time will tell if the latest rise is a temporary bump or the start of another uptrend.

State health department spokesman Nate Wardle told on Monday that universal tests now being conducted in nursing homes and similar places may explain at least part of the increase, and that the department is monitoring cases to as the Pennsylvania areas reopen in the green phase.

(Can’t see the graph? Click here.)

Long-term care facility residents account for 17,294 cases of COVID-19, about 21% of the state’s total and 4,389 deaths, 68% of the death toll in Pennsylvania.

The health department estimates that 78% of Pennsylvania coronavirus patients have recovered. To date, 596,407 tests have been negative.

Coronavirus in the Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley is slated to enter the green phase of reopening at 12:01 am Friday. That means that all businesses will be able to open, but security restrictions will apply. Masks and social distancing will be needed.

As of Monday, the two-county valley totaled nearly 7,436 coronavirus cases and at least 536 COVID-19 deaths, according to state data. That breaks down into:

  • 4,109 cases and 281 deaths in Lehigh County.
  • 3,327 cases and 255 deaths in Northampton County.

(Can’t see the graph? Click here.)

Counties themselves in recent days have reported that at least 546 Lehigh Valley residents have died from the pandemic virus.

The state reported more deaths in counties adjacent to the Lehigh Valley:

  • Bucks County had three more deaths, 555 in all.
  • Monroe County had one more death, 108.
  • Montgomery County had three more deaths, 787 in total.

(Can’t you see the table? Click here.)

State parks see an increase in visitors during closure

Amid the state shutdown, participation in outdoor recreation soared. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reports that 5.8 million people visited its state park system in May compared to 4.2 million during the same period last year.

Locally, the Jacobsburg Center for Environmental Education experienced a 56% increase in visitors, while Nockamixon State Park in nearby Bucks County increased 16%.

Sales of fishing and hunting licenses also increased compared to last year.

(PLUS: These figures show a large increase in visits to state parks after the pandemic hit Lehigh Valley.)

Fauci awaits coronavirus vaccine in early 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, told a congressional committee Tuesday that he is cautiously optimistic that there will be a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year or early 2021, and warned that in the coming weeks They will be critical in reducing coronavirus hot spots across the country, reports the Associated Press.

Fauci and other top health officials also said they had not been asked to stop coronavirus testing. The United States has evaluated more than 27 million people, with approximately 2.3 million, or 8.4%, testing positive.

There is still no vaccine for COVID-19, and there are no treatments developed specifically for the disease, although the antiviral drug remdesivir has been shown to help some patients, according to AP reports, as well as a steroid called dexamethasone and plasma de patients who have recovered.

Fauci recently warned that the United States is still in the first wave of the pandemic and has continued to urge the American public to practice social distancing.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Steve Novak can be contacted at [email protected].