Pennsylvania confirmed its first coronavirus (COVID-19)-related death Wednesday, according to state officials.
The death occurred in Northampton County, north of Allentown, according to Gov. Tom Wolf. Although the state did not release the identity of the victim, The Philadelphia Inquirer identified the person as Carmine Fusco, a 55-year-old horse racing trainer.
He lived in Bath, Pennsylvania, and is the third member of one family to die from COVID-19, according to The New York Times.
In a video message Wednesday evening, Wolf updated the public on the commonwealth’s fight against the virus.
“It is essential to keep as many Pennsylvanians as possible away from each other,” he said. “Our only hope is to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed so our medical professionals can do the best they can.”
Wolf also encouraged owners of nonessential businesses to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to stay home if we want to save lives,” Wolf said.
The governor's office defines nonessential businesses as those delivering entertainment, hospitality and recreation. Pennsylvanians will still have access to grocery stores, gas stations and medical facilities, as well as other essential services that remain unaffected by the recommendation.
There are currently 11 cases of the coronavirus identified in Cumberland County and none in Franklin County.
Fifty-two new positive cases were reported in Pennsylvania today, while a total of 1,608 patients have tested negative, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
In a press release Thursday, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine urged residents to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days and our first death in Pennsylvania indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” she said.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s fight against COVID-19, visit health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus.