The number of COVID-19 cases increased over the past week statewide and in three of four Valley counties, while Montour and Northumberland counties had a substantial level of community growth for the third week in a row.
The state Department of Health updated its early warning monitoring dashboard system on Monday, announcing that 45 counties had a substantial level of growth in the seven-day window ending April 2, up 10 from last week.
The update comes as the departments of Health and Education on Monday modified their instructional model recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools in response to updated guidance recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In alignment with updates from the CDC, the departments recommend K-12 public schools in counties with a moderate level of community transmission of COVID-19 now consider returning students to full in-person instruction in addition to blended/hybrid learning model. Counties with a substantial level of community transmission should consider blended/hybrid learning in addition to remote learning for K-12 students.
Officials noted Monday's modification is a recommendation, not a mandate. "The transition of instructional models is dependent on local factors, including the size of the school building, the classroom size, resources, proportion of staff and students with special needs and underlying health conditions, and the ability to accommodate learning with equal access for all students," a release noted Monday afternoon.
From Friday, April 2, data, 45 counties were in the substantial level of community transmission, the highest level of transmission. There are three levels of transmission: low, moderate and substantial. For the week ending March 26, there were five counties in the low level of transmission and 17 counties in the moderate level of transmission.
Last week, the statewide level of transmission was 169.9 cases per 100,000 residents, up from 143.9. Montour County’s level of transmission last week increased to 148.1 after 27 new cases. The previous week Montour County had 21 new cases. The positive test rate in the county also increased from 6.5 percent to 7.6 percent.
In Northumberland County, there were six more cases last week than the preceding week (104 to 110) and the incidence rate is now 121.1. The positive test rate increased from 7.0 to 7.4 percent.
Snyder County’s level of transmission dropped to 66.9 cases with four fewer cases (31 to 27). Its positive test rate remained level at 5.7 percent. and Union County’s from 84.6 to 91.3. Union County saw increases in cases, incidence rate and positive test rate. With 44 cases last week, Union's incident rate was 97.9, still in moderate growth, while its positive test rate increased to 1.3 percent.