Pennsylvania approached nearly 10,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in more than a week on Wednesday and the state Department of Health reported another 230 deaths statewide.
Across the state, there were 9,605 new cases, including another 362 in the Valley. The Valley's COVID data is again boosted by a big total out of Montour County — 187 new cases there — where officials from the DOH and Geisinger have previously said tests taken at Geisinger's Danville campus have been attributed to Montour even if the residents live elsewhere.
There has also been a sharp increase in cases at the Emmanuel Center for Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in Montour County. There are 71 active resident cases and 24 active staff cases. There have been 126 total cases at the facility, according to the center's most recent report Tuesday night.
There were also 72 new cases in Northumberland County, 55 in Union and 42 in Snyder. There were also six deaths locally, two in Montour, Northumberland and Snyder counties. The 230 deaths statewide mark the 11th time in 15 days with at least 200 deaths.
Hospitalizations dipped slightly statewide while increasing in the Valley. There are 13 new patients hospitalized in one of three Valley hospitals.
As of noon Wednesday, there were 6,142 residents hospitalized across the state, down nine from Tuesday. There were 1,263 residents being treated in intensive care units and 764 being treated on ventilators, a decrease of 14. The state reports 537 adult ICU beds are open statewide.
Locally, there are 223 patients in three hospitals, an increase of 13 since Tuesday.
At Geisinger in Danville, there were 148 patients — up nine — with 40 of them in the ICU and 30 on ventilators (up two). There were 13 adult ICU beds available.
Geisinger in Shamokin held steady with 12 patients hospitalized, four in the ICU and no COVID-19 patients on ventilators. The facility has no open adult ICU beds.
Evangelical Community Hospital reported 63 hospitalizations, with 18 patients in the ICU. It has six ICU beds open.
Statewide, there have now been 3,181,266 negative tests across Pennsylvania. In Montour County, there have been 8,856 negative tests, along with 19,658 in Northumberland County. In Union County, 21,344 negative tests have been reported to the state along with 7,278 in Snyder County.
Statewide, 29 counties had at least 100 new cases, including 834 in Allegheny County.
The Shamokin Area School District will use a full-remote learning model from Jan 4-8, Superintendent Chris Venna announced Wednesday.
"Although our position has been and continues to be that our students are safer in school, with the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday and what we had seen following the Thanksgiving break, we feel that shifting to a districtwide 100% Virtual Learning Model will allow us to better assess our situation and is the appropriate instructional model immediately following the holiday," Venna wrote to the district's parents.
Prisons and state centers
There are still 257 active cases at the federal prisons in Union County, including a drop at USP-Lewisburg and an increase at Allenwood's medium-security unit.
According to the Bureau of Prisons, there are 145 active cases at the low-security unit in Allenwood, including 136 inmates. There are 22 inmate — an increase of 15 — and 20 staff cases at the medium-security unit and 15 staff cases at USP-Allenwood. At USP-Lewisburg, there are 44 active inmate cases and 11 staffers still active.
There are still 53 active cases at the Selinsgrove Center, including five persons receiving services and 48 staffers. Thirty-eight people — 24 residents and 14 staffers — have already recovered. At the Danville State Hospital, cases are on the rise. There are now 38 active cases — 22 residents and 16 staffers — up four from Tuesday.
The number of active cases at SCI-Coal Township dropped from 70 to 26 on Wednesday. There are now 19 active inmate cases and seven staff cases.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) and SCI Forest officials reported the first death of an inmate with COVID-19 on Dec. 22. The 65-year-old inmate, whose name will not be provided, was serving a 10- to 20-year sentence for burglary. He had underlying medical conditions and was sent to a local hospital on Dec. 20. He tested positive for COVID-19 while at the hospital. He had been at SCI Forest since September 2020.
Of the Valley's 9,813 cases, 1,399 have been linked to long-term care facilities in the region, including 12 new cases on Wednesday. Of the Valley's 285 deaths, 177 have been linked to 30 Valley nursing homes.
In Northumberland County, 16 facilities have combined for 979 cases (781 residents and 198 staffers) along with 142 deaths. Snyder County has had 135 cases (109 residents, 26 staffers) and 19 deaths at two facilities. In Montour County, there have been 166 cases (139 residents, 27 staffers) and eight deaths at five locations. There have been 119 cases (93 residents, 26 staffers) and eight deaths at seven Union County facilities.