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Health officials warn against COVID-19 fatigue amid new surge

Pennsylvania Department of Health officials joined with Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams to promote vaccinations on May 19.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Federal health officials warned a third of Americans now live in areas of medium to high spread of COVID-19, meaning they should consider wearing a mask in indoor public settings. 

All areas of South Central Pennsylvania remain in low transmissibility, according to CDC data.

Cases in Pennsylvania are rising, however; the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 27,391 new cases from May 11 to 17, up from 22,216 cases from May 4 to 10.

“We certainly do expect to see more infections, but the key is keep people from getting really sick and dying from COVID. And the key is vaccination,” said Pa. Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Denise Johnson.

Vaccines could have prevented nearly half of Pennsylvania’s 28,000 COVID deaths since vaccines were released in January 2021, according to a study released by Brown University’s School of Public Health.

Pennsylvania Department of Health officials joined with Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams to promote vaccinations on May 19.

“I have lost two of my parents—my mother and my father. So I am encouraging everyone to come out and get vaccinated today,” Williams said.

Everyone 12 and older is eligible for their first booster, while adults age 50 and older and the immunocompromised can get a second booster.

The FDA this week approved the Pfizer booster for children ages 5 to 11, and the CDC recommended approving it on Thursday.

Despite rising cases, many Pennsylvanians greeted the rising cases with a shrug.

“It's kind of like the last three that we've had. It just kind of it what it is. It happens with these kinds of things,” said Decklan Byrne of Elizabethtown. “I'm not all that concerned or worried.”

“I feel like I'm safe since I have the shots but I know sometimes that it really doesn't help,” said Rosie McDonald of Schaeffertown.

The Department of Health event was part of a series of COVID-10 Safe Summer Vaccination Events at Hamilton Health Center. Free vaccines and boosters will also be available Friday at Hamilton Health Center at 110 S. 17th St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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