The number of counties across the United States registering high community levels of COVID-19 dipped nationally this week. In Pennsylvania, 14 counties have high community levels, including Montour and Northumberland, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its latest data released Friday.
Montour County is seeing high community transmission for the third week in a row, while an uptick in cases in Northumberland County has increased its transmission level. Snyder and Union counties are still registering medium COVID levels.
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.
Last week, the state Department of Health registered 62 new cases in the county, the highest number of new cases in a single week since the state began releasing weekly updates in late May. Northumberland County had 188 cases, the most since May 25.
There were 31 Pennsylvania counties with medium COVID levels with the other 22 registering low levels.
According to data being tracked by the CDC and Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases was up 11 percent in Pennsylvania this week, while deaths linked to COVID were down 18 percent. The COVID-19 hospitalizations were up 1 percent.
Nationally, there were 1,344 counties with high levels of COVID — about 42 percent — 1,254 with medium and 625 with low. Across the U.S., 19.4 percent of counties had low COVID-19 levels. Over the past week, cases were down 8 percent nationally, deaths were up 17 percent and hospitalizations were down 2 percent.
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, 17.2 percent of all COVID-19 tests last week were positive, down two-tenths of a percent. Three Valley counties had a slightly lower positive test rate: Montour County at 16.2 percent; Snyder at 15.3 percent and Union at 12.9 percent. In Northumberland County, 19 percent of COVID tests last week were positive. Only McKean and Huntingdon counties were seeing less than a 10 percent positive test rate across the state last week.