The Daily Item
More than half of U.S. counties are seeing low levels of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In Pennsylvania, about a third of counties — 20 of 67 — have low levels. Thirty-three Pennsylvania counties have medium levels, including all four Valley counties.
There were 14 Pennsylvania counties — up five from last week — with high community levels of COVID-19, most in the western part of the state. The CDC released its latest data Friday.
Community levels are determined by using a combination of three metrics — new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days.
According to data being tracked by the CDC and Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases was up 4 percent in Pennsylvania this week, while deaths linked to COVID were up 25 percent. The number of COVID hospitalizations decreased by 2 percent.
Nationally, there were 431 counties with high levels of COVID — down nearly 122 from last week to about 13 percent of counties nationally — 1,157 with medium and 1,635 with low. Across the U.S., 50.7 percent of counties had low COVID-19 levels.
At the highest level, the CDC recommends individuals wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status, including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings along with implementing health care surge support as needed.
Statewide, 15.6 percent of all COVID-19 tests last week were positive, down more than half a percentage point from last week’s reporting. Three of four Valley counties have lower positive test rates than the state average.
Last week, 12.8 percent of tests in Montour County were positive, along with 16.3 in Northumberland County, 12.8 in Snyder and 10.8 in Union County. Despite having a higher test rate than the state average, Northumberland County’s test rate dropped two-tenths of a percent.
Northumberland County has had at least 150 new COVID cases each week in nine of the last 10 weeks and 100 cases every week except for one since the state began weekly updates in May.