Union County's COVID-19 case total jumped by 33 on Saturday — due to a surge of inmates at USP Lewisburg testing positive — according to data from the state Department of Health and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The state Department of Health announced another 888 COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths statewide related to the novel coronavirus on Saturday.
Union County's jump comes a day after staff at USP Lewisburg restricted inmates to their cells inside the federal penitentiary Thursday after a positive case of COVID-19 was discovered, according to a federal prison bureau spokesperson. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' website, which updates periodically, there are 35 confirmed cases among inmates at USP Lewisburg as of 4:40 p.m., Saturday. It also shows two confirmed cases — one staff member and one inmate — at USP Allenwood.
“USP Lewisburg is in the process of testing all inmates after having its first case (Thursday). All cases are at the institution's penitentiary, not the camp,” Justin Long, public affairs officer, Federal Bureau of Prisons, said Friday.
“After the first case,” Long said of the current situation, “the institution modified its operations to restrict the inmates to their cells to mitigate the spread of the virus. Additionally, inmate social visiting is suspended nationwide throughout the (Bureau of Prisons).”
“We expect this number to rise due to mass testing when the webpage updates later (Friday) or this weekend,” Long said Friday night.
Andy Kline, president of Local 148 of the American Federation of Government Employees representing staff at the penitentiary, said all 35 inmates who have tested positive in the rapid testing since Thursday are not exhibiting major symptoms.
“None (are) very sick or needing outside medical attention,” he said.
Kline said it will take about a week to confirm the diagnosis but said prison staff and management has responded well to the health crisis and have quarantined inmates suspected of having COVID-19.
“Daily temperature checks and routine questing have been conducted,” he said. “At this time no staff has tested positive and it has been contained to one area” of the prison.
The only other new case Saturday was in Snyder County. There have now been 753 cases of COVID in the Valley since March: 401 in Northumberland County, 165 in Union, 94 in Snyder and 93 in Montour.
Philadelphia County continued with its recent surge in cases, reporting another 167. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, had 66 cases.
The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between July 25 and July 31 is 156,111 with 6,477 positive cases. There were no new local deaths Saturday.
There are 7,204 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 15 new deaths reported. Of the total number of deaths statewide, the DOH has attributed 4,906 to long-term care facilities.
There are 643 patients who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure, which are considered probable cases and not confirmed cases. There are 1,119,386 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:
- 1% are ages 0-4;
- 1% are ages 5-12;
- 3% are ages 13-18;
- 9% are ages 19-24;
- 37% are ages 25-49;
- Nearly 23% are ages 50-64; and
- 24% are ages 65 or older.
In nursing and personal care homes, there are 19,558 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,954 cases among employees, for a total of 23,512 at 856 distinct facilities in 61 counties.
State data shows that 579 residents remain hospitalized due to complications of COVID-19, a drop of nearly 200 since Friday. There are still 89 patients on are ventilators.
There have been 84 confirmed cases of the virus reported from residents or of Valley nursing homes. There was no change in Saturday's local case count.
In Northumberland County long-term care facilities, 61 residents and 11 workers have been infected and eight deaths have been recorded in four facilities. Three workers and two residents at four Union County facilities have been infected and one worker and no residents have been infected in one Montour County facility. In Snyder County, four residents and two workers have been infected in one facility.
There have been no deaths reported from nursing homes in Snyder, Union or Montour counties.