HARRISBURG - A day before Thanksgiving, Pennsylvania reached a grim milestone that put into focus the ongoing severity of the coronavirus pandemic. State health officials say more than 10,000 Pennsylvanians have now died of COVID-19.
The harrowing benchmark was reached after Pennsylvania announced 144 new virus-related fatalities on Wednesday. In total, the state has experienced 10,095 deaths since the onset of the pandemic.
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Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus. The latest data from the state shows nearly 2,000 virus-related deaths among the city's population of more than 1.5 million.
Meanwhile, the densely populated suburb of Montgomery County is approaching 1,000 virus-attributed deaths among its population of 828,000. Delaware County and Bucks County, each with roughly half a million residents, have accounted for a combined 1,400 coronavirus deaths.
State and local health officials say the majority of patients who have fallen gravely ill are 65 years or older. According to the health department, nursing and personal care homes have accounted for more than half of the state's overall death toll.
Case spikes have been noticed in younger demographics during the second wave of infections. The state has called particular attention to a rising case number in the 19-24 demographic, which has accounted for 11 percent of new cases in southeast Pennsylvania so far this month.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania's cumulative case total was pushed to 327,829 by a batch of 6,759 positive tests. To quell the spread of the virus, state health officials have tightened mask orders and increased testing requirements. In Philadelphia, several restrictions have been imposed on businesses and some have been forced to close until 2021.
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