The Daily Item
Pennsylvania Health Department officials recorded zero COVID-19-related deaths for the second consecutive Saturday, but added 4,485 new infections, pushing the state’s October total to 76,669.
The deaths report ended a string of four consecutive days with 80 or more. Last week, the state reported no new deaths on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, but despite that the last seven-day period still included almost 100 more deaths — 511 compared to 419 — than the previous week, according to Health Department data.
There have been 1,018 COVID-19-related deaths in the first 16 days of October. There were 1,165 in all of September and 670 in all of October 2020.
The new infection total ends a streak of three consecutive days with 5,000 or more infections. There were 83 new cases in the Valley, including 52 in Northumberland County, the fourth consecutive day with 50 or more in the county. There were also 13 more in Montour County, the fourth consecutive day with 13 or more. Union County added 12 cases and Snyder added six.
All 67 counties in Pennsylvania are reporting high levels of community transmission of COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means they are all seeing at least 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days. Nationwide, 87.7 percent of counties have high transmission rates, down .8 percent from Friday.
According to state data, more than 13.2 million COVID vaccine doses have been administered in Pennsylvania and 70.1 percent of residents 18 and older are fully vaccinated, including 88,346 in the Valley. The state did not update its vaccination statistics on Saturday.
Bucknell University had a dozen active cases on campus, including seven staffers and five students. Susquehanna University reported nine active cases, six staffers and three students. Both schools updated their data on Friday.
As of noon Saturday, there were 2,978 patients in Pennsylvania hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms, up 32, ending a streak of two consecutive days of decreases.
Of those hospitalized, 682 were being treated in intensive care units (ICUs), down five, and 389 were being treated on ventilators, down five.
According to data provided by the state, there were 95 patients undergoing treatment in Valley medical facilities for COVID-19 on Saturday. There were 19 patients in intensive care units at Geisinger in Danville — up one from Friday — eight at Evangelical Community Hospital near Lewisburg — up two for the second day in a row — and none at Geisinger-Shamokin.
Geisinger’s Danville location was also treating five on ventilators, three fewer than the day before. Evangelical was treating one patient on a ventilator.
At Geisinger’s main campus in Danville, there were 51 COVID-19 positive patients, two fewer than reported on Friday. There were 36 patients at Evangelical and eight at Geisinger-Shamokin.
Prisons, state facilities
There were eight active staff cases at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) in Coal Township as of Saturday. There were 98 staff cases statewide, down six. There were 78 active inmate cases statewide — an increase of 40 — but none at Coal Township.
There were seven active cases at federal prisons in Union County, including three inmate cases at the low-security unit in Allenwood and one staff case at the medium-security prison, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. At the U.S. Penitentiary (USP) in Allenwood, there were three cases, two staffers and one inmate. There were no cases at USP Lewisburg.
The state Department of Human Services (DHS) was still reporting 13 active cases among staffers at the Selinsgrove Center on Saturday. There were less than five cases among persons receiving services. The DHS does not specify numbers when they are fewer than five to avoid identifying patients.
There were six staff cases and less than five client cases at Danville State Hospital for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday.
There were less than five youth cases at the North Central Secure Treatment Unit (NCSTU) for girls on Saturday. There were no staff cases in the unit and no cases in the NCSTU boys unit.