Pennsylvania coronavirus update: Northampton and Monroe targeted as hotspots as state adds 557 more cases and one death
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 557 additional coronavirus cases on Friday, the fourth consecutive day of more than 500 cases. The seven-day moving average of newly reported cases was 458, up 61% from a week ago, and up 134% over the past 30 days.
To date, there have been 1.22 million infections statewide.
The pandemic’s fourth wave is overspreading the majority of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, but is most active in the 10 counties and 1.6 million people that make up the northeast healthcare region, one of six regions in the state.
The Health Department announced Friday morning that it is reopening a temporary walk-in testing site in Monroe County next week, at the Middle Smithfield Township Cultural Center, 147 Municipal Drive. It is also keeping a testing site at Easton’s Paxinosa Elementary School, 1221 Northampton St., through next week.
Monroe recorded 87 additional cases in the past week, while Northampton added 130. Lehigh tallied 120 additional cases this week. The statewide total was 3,208 cases over the last seven days.
When adjusted for population, Monroe has the state’s second-highest case rate over seven days, 51.1 cases per 100,000 residents, compared with Cameron County’s 67.5.
Monroe is followed by Fulton (48.2), Adams (47.6) and Northampton (42.6) to round out the top five counties.
Pennsylvania’s increasing case rate has moved it to sixth-lowest of the 50 states, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana and Florida have surged ahead of Arkansas for the top two spots for the nation’s highest population-adjusted cases over seven days, at 302 and 291 cases per 100,000 residents, respectively. They are followed by Arkansas (272), Missouri (252) and Nevada (189) to round out the five most active pandemics.
More than 8.26 million Pennsylvanians have received 14.35 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine according to the latest numbers from the CDC, accounting for 74.6% of the state’s 12-and-older population. The CDC tracks all shots, no matter where or by whom they were administered.
Included in those numbers are 6.6 million people who are fully vaccinated — 59.6% of the eligible population and 1.66 who need a follow-up shot.
More than 363,000 Lehigh Valley residents — 62.4% of those eligible — are fully vaccinated, while another 98,000 will need a second jab for maximum immunity. Together, 461,670 Valley residents — 79.3% of the local 12-and-older population — have received at least their first dose of a vaccine.
The state is averaging about 20,000 shots per day, a stagnation in the seven-day moving average after a few days of rebounding rates.
Overall: One compared with six on Thursday. The seven-day moving average of deaths per day is 5, compared with 7 a week ago.
Senior Care: No deaths reported Friday, with the total at 13,375, accounting for 48.1% of the state’s 27,820 deaths.
There were 347 people hospitalized as of midday Friday compared with 319 Thursday. Of those, 75 were in intensive care, and 29 were on ventilators. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is up 16% over the last seven days. About 20% of occupied intensive care beds are taken by a COVID patient, a slight increase since last week.
Hospitals in the Lehigh Valley reported 25 COVID-19 patients Friday, unchanged from Thursday, including three in intensive care, and two on ventilators.
There were 5,321 test results reported Friday, with 8.1% of them positive, compared with 7.4% on Thursday.
The overall positive test rate is 17.3% since the state’s first cases were reported March 6 of last year.
Cases: 48 additional case reports, with 24 in Lehigh County, 24 in Northampton County. That brings the total to 76,215.
Deaths: No additional deaths reported locally. There have been 1,584 COVID-related deaths (865 in Lehigh, and 719 in Northampton).