Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Ask/Answered: Did the coronavirus cause the widespread illnesses in Cumberland County in January?
top story
Cumberland County

Ask/Answered: Did the coronavirus cause the widespread illnesses in Cumberland County in January?

From the Collection: Updated coronavirus coverage for Cumberland County and Pennsylvania series
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Ask/Answered logo

Ask/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:

What was the cause of illnesses in the area in January?

As Cumberland County residents and children continue to hunker down under Gov. Tom Wolf’s directive to prevent the spread of COVID-19, one question has gained traction: was the coronavirus present in Cumberland County before reports confirmed cases?

There was a string of increased student absences at area schools and a circulating illness earlier this year that have some looking back and wondering about the cause.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Press Secretary Nate Wardle on Thursday said those illnesses weren’t due to the coronavirus but rather a combination of two other causes.

Tracking COVID-19: Charts detail the course of coronavirus in Cumberland County

“The department was aware of the high number of cases that circulated throughout Cumberland County during the early part of 2020, but those cases included influenza and the norovirus, which causes very different symptoms,” he said in an email.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the norovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain, though it can also cause fever, body aches and headache.

The CDC said flu symptoms are fever/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.
{{featured_button_text}}

Flu symptoms can mirror that of the coronavirus — fever, cough and shortness of breath — but the coronavirus hits the respiratory system, causing dry coughs instead of postnasal drip.

Wardle said the first case of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania was confirmed on March 6, and that was after a number of prior were tested the month prior to that.

“There is no reason to believe at this time that those illnesses circulating in January would have been from COVID-19,” Wardle said.

Send us your questions

Need an answer? We can help.

The Sentinel wants to know what you have always wanted to know.

Whether it’s politics, crime, history or just something you’ve always been curious about, if you have questions, The Sentinel will look for the answer and provide it in our online blog and in the Sentinel print edition.

Email us at frontdoor@cumberlink.com, call 717-240-7125 or stop by the office to submit your questions.

Email Naomi Creason at ncreason@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News