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PA seeing uptick in COVID cases ahead of Easter

Doctors say the new variant accounts for most of the new cases in the Keystone State.

AVOCA, Pa. — COVID cases are still trending at one of the lowest levels of the pandemic in the Keystone State, but positive tests have been trending up in the past week or so.

"BA.2, as we've talked about before, is absolutely more infectious, more transmissible than the original omicron," said Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, St. Luke's University Health Network.

Even as COVID-19 case numbers slowly increase, Dr. Jeffrey Jahre from St. Luke's University Health Network says hospitals remain underwhelmed.

Vigilance remains key, however.  

Especially as many people prepare to gather for Easter and spring break celebrations.

"This is not a disease that one wants to mess with. It is certainly not a disease where some people think you're better off getting it.  No, you're not. You're better off avoiding it," said Dr. Jahre.

The City of Philadelphia plans to reinstate its mask mandate as cases climb.

And The CDC extended its nationwide masking requirement for public transportation, which includes buses, trains, and airplanes.

Originally set to expire on Monday, the mandate will remain until at least May 3 as the health organization continues to monitor the rise in COVID cases.

A traveler we spoke with at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport isn't fazed by the extension.

"According to what's happening in Philadelphia, I think it might be a good idea. We've gone this long. What's another month," said Vicki Todd, Dallas. 

Health experts say if you don't feel well and are planning to go to a family gathering, either test yourself or opt to stay home. 

Those most vulnerable should consider masking up; check with your doctor if you're unsure.

Watch more stories about the coronavirus pandemic on WNEP’s YouTube page.

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