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Pa. Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam talks COVID-19 vaccines, breakthrough cases, and school guidance | FOX43 Capitol Beat

Pennsylvania's Health Department leader has been adamant neither she nor Governor Tom Wolf want to reinstate mask mandates, as COVID-19 cases surge.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — There are no plans to reinstate requirements across the Commonwealth for Pennsylvanians to wear masks.


Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam have adamantly said their focus is on making sure people continue to get vaccinated as the best way to fight the surge of COVID-19 cases across Pennsylvania. The rise of the Delta variant has led to a seven-day average of more than 1,600 positive cases in the Commonwealth. On Tuesday, there were over 2,000 new daily cases for the first time since May 8. 

Beam was a guest Wednesday morning on the FOX43 Capitol Beat with FOX43 Morning Show news anchor Matt Maisel. 

Beam and Maisel also spoke about breakthrough cases seen across Pennsylvania and the nation as a whole. Only 15 states currently do not make breakthrough data available to the public, and Pennsylvania is one of them. 

The CDC only monitors severe breakthrough cases. Of the more than 164 million people across the United States who are fully vaccinated, only 7,525, or 0.0005 percent have led to hospitalization or death. 

However, studies continue to show vaccinated individuals can still spread COVID-19 to unvaccinated people. While the COVID-19 vaccine has been readily available to any adult who wants it, many parents still have trepidation over giving their children who are between the ages of 12 and 17 the shot. Furthermore, children under the age of 12 are unable to get the shot currently, as Pfizer is still working on its trials for kids between five and 11 years old. 

Even so, schools across Pennsylvania plan to reopen at the end of August with full in-person learning available. However, the decision to have students and staff wear a mask is being left up to each district. This has caused some frustration among teachers and administrators who believe the Departments of Education and Health should have provided more guidance to schools on best ways to reopen. 

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