The Daily Item
The number of new weekly COVID-19 cases across Pennsylvania dropped for the sixth consecutive week on Wednesday as the state recorded its fifth consecutive week with at least 100 deaths linked to the coronavirus.
The state Department of Health registered 15,001 new cases on Wednesday in its weekly update, down more than 2,500 from last week’s total of 17,606
Since the pandemic began 26 months ago, there have been 2.98 million cases in Pennsylvania and 45,657 deaths tied to the coronavirus.
Over the past week, according to the newest report released Wednesday, the new case total surpassed 2,000 three times, but none since June 17. The largest one-day increase over the past week was 2,886 on June 15.
Locally, there have been 250 new cases over the last week, up seven over last week’s increase. It is the first increase in local cases in the report since the state began updating weekly in mid-May. The new total includes 134 in Northumberland County, 46 in Snyder, 40 in Union and 30 in Montour. Montour and Union counties registered fewer cases this week, while the other two local counties had more cases this week.
There were 105 new deaths linked to COVID-19 statewide, the fifth week in a row the total was more than 100 and the third week in a row the total declined. The one local death linked to COVID in the Valley was a Snyder County resident, the first death in that county since May 3.
According to data being tracked by the CDC and Johns Hopkins University, the number of cases nationally was down 11 percent and deaths were down 25 percent. Hospitalizations were down 3 in the last week. In Pennsylvania, over the past week, cases are down 14 percent, deaths are down 33 percent and hospitalizations are down 8 percent.
Montour County remained one of four Pennsylvania counties with high community levels of the coronavirus. It is the sixth consecutive week Montour County has had high levels. Juniata, Mifflin and Huntingdon counties are the other three with high community levels, according to the CDC. Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties are seeing medium levels.
Of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, four were seeing high levels — half of last week’s total — 17 were seeing medium levels and the other 46 had low levels. The data is updated each Friday.
The CDC looks at the 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 — to determine the COVID-19 community level.
The CDC reported Wednesday that 78.9 percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and older were fully vaccinated, while 69.4 percent of all residents were fully vaccinated.
HospitalizationsAs of noon Wednesday, there were 1,025 COVID hospitalizations statewide, down 72 from last week’s report.
At Evangelical Community Hospital, 5 patients are being treated for COVID-19 symptoms, including one in the ICU.
State facilities, prisons
Even though there are no active COVID cases at federal prisons in Union County, all local facilities remain at Level 3 operational levels, the highest COVID restrictions, for the sixth week in a row.
Federal prisons in Lewisburg and Allenwood are at Level 3 operational levels of COVID mitigation, after briefly dropping to Level 1 briefly earlier this year. As of Wednesday, there were 2 federal prisons nationally at Level 1 (the lowest), 6 were at Level 2 and 90 were at Level 3, up 1 from a week ago.
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.
There are no active COVID cases at the Danville State Hospital, according to the Department of Human Services (DHS). There is also at least one resident case and 13 staff cases at the Selinsgrove Center, level with last week’s report. There were no active cases at the male unit at the North Central Secure Treatment Unit, according to DHS. In the girls unit, there was at least one case among youth and six cases among staff. The DHS does not provide exact case numbers if there are fewer than five.
There is one new active COVID cases among staffers at SCI-Coal Township, according to the state Department of Corrections. There were no inmate cases. Statewide, there were 41 inmate cases and another 49 staff cases. Statewide, six prisons had inmate cases, and 18 had staff cases.