The Daily Item
New COVID-19 infections dropped significantly in every county in the Valley, but it was also the deadliest week of the pandemic in 10 months.
The deaths of six Valley residents, including five in Northumberland County and one in Snyder County, were linked to COVID-19 in the last week, the largest increase since the seven-day period ending March 26.
The trends are similar to what is going on nationwide, according to data being tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Johns Hopkins University. The data show cases are down 10 percent but deaths are up 47 percent in the last seven days.
Hospitalizations were down 18 percent over the same time period across the nation.
Statewide, hospitalizations were down 220 in the last week after a drop of 180 the week before.
Hospitalizations in the Valley counties have remained steady for three weeks, coming in at 58, 57 and 58. Geisinger Medical Center in Danville has three more COVID-19 patients being treated, up to 42, and Geisinger in Shamokin has two fewer patients, down to five. Six of the patients at Geisinger in Danville are in an intensive care unit (ICU) and four of them are on ventilators — those numbers were seven and two, respectively, last week. There were two patients in the ICU at Shamokin last week but none this week. None of the 11 patients at Evangelical Community Hospital were in the ICU or on ventilators. All three figures were the same as reported the previous week.
A week after the largest death increase since before Memorial Day, the state recorded 134 new deaths this week. The average over the last eight weeks is 141.
Across the Valley, there were 135 new infections, the smallest increase since the state started reporting data weekly in mid-May.
Northumberland County reported 85 new cases, Union County reported 19 and Snyder County added 13 — all are the smallest increases since the state started releasing weekly reports. Northumberland County had reported six consecutive weeks with more than 100 infections.
Montour County reported 18 new infections, its smallest increase since mid-December. It has been 12 weeks since a Montour County resident died of COVID-19.
State facilities, prisons
Federal prisons in Allenwood and Lewisburg joined 30 other facilities at Level 1 COVID restrictions, the lowest of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) three levels. There was one inmate case at both the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Allenwood and at USP Lewisburg.
Nationwide, 17 facilities were at Level 3, the highest level of restrictions — up seven from the previous week — and 48 were at Level 2. Institution operational levels (Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3) are based on the facilities’ COVID-19 medical isolation rate, combined percentage of staff and inmate completed vaccinations series and their respective county transmission rates.
At the State Correctional Institution in Coal Township, there are four active inmate cases, according to the state Department of Corrections. There are 10 active COVID-19 infections among staff at the facility, the most among all facilities in the state. There were 57 active inmate cases — up 24 in a week — and 48 active staff cases in state prisons statewide.
There were five active cases among those receiving services at the Selinsgrove Center, along with 11 staff cases, both the same as reported last week.
There were no client cases at the Danville State Hospital, while there is at least one staff case. There are no cases at the juvenile detention facilities in Danville. The state Department of Human Services does not release full data unless five or more people are positive.