Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard.
The update includes the following:
- Level of community transmission as a basis for the recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools to determine instructional models.
- Data on cases among 5-18-year-olds.
- Cases that reported visiting a business among potential locations where exposures may have occurred.
- Updated travel recommendations.
The dashboard is designed to provide early warning signs of factors that affect the state’s mitigation efforts. The data available on the early warning monitoring dashboard includes week-over-week case differences, incidence rates, test percent-positivity, and rates of hospitalizations, ventilations and emergency room visits tied to COVID-19. This week’s update compares the period of October 2 – October 8 to the previous seven days, September 25 – October 1.
“Our percent positivity and incidence rate for the commonwealth both increased this week as we see a resurgence of cases in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said. “We cannot emphasize enough the importance of Pennsylvanians being united in taking actions to protect ourselves and others, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing our hands and avoiding large gatherings. Together, Pennsylvanians can work to prevent the spread of the virus.”
As of Thursday, October 8, the state has seen a seven-day increase of 7,269 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 6,137, indicating a 1,132-case increase across the state over the past week.
The statewide percent-positivity went up to 3.9% from 3.7% last week. Counties with concerning percent-positivity include Northumberland (8.6%), Centre (7.6%), Bradford (7.4%), Lebanon (7.4%), Lawrence (6.9%), Potter (6.3%), Westmoreland (6.3%), Fulton (6.2%), Montour (6.0%), Berks (5.9%), Indiana (5.9%), Huntingdon (5.8%), Lackawanna (5.4%), Schuylkill (5.0%). Each of these counties bears watching as the state continues to monitor all available data.
As of Friday’s data, Bradford, Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties were in the substantial level of community transmission. The departments of Education and Health will speak with school district representatives in these counties to discuss the implications of this level of transmission.
For the week ending October 8, 14 counties were in the low level of transmission, 46 counties in the moderate level, with seven with substantial transmission:
- Low – Cameron, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Jefferson, Juniata, McKean, Potter, Sullivan, Warren, Wayne, Wyoming
- Moderate – Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Huntingdon, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland, York
- Substantial – Bradford, Centre, Lebanon, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union
Cases Among 5-18-Year-Olds
The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of statewide cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been 11,171 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 623 occurred between October 2 – October 8. For the week of September 25 – October 1, there were 615 cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.
The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of individuals who responded to case investigators that they spent time at business establishments (restaurants, bars, gym/fitness centers, salon/barbershops) and at mass gatherings 14 days prior to the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.
Of the 6,812 confirmed cases reported between September 27 and October 3, 38 percent (2,599) provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.
Of those who did provide an answer, 16.7 percent, or 434, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:
- 53 percent (231) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
- 25 percent (108) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
- 14.5 percent (63) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
- 10.6 percent (46) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
- 7 percent (30) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.
Of the 6,812 confirmed cases, 38 percent (2,612) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 38 percent, 16 percent (424) answered yes to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event 14 days prior to onset of symptoms. With less than half of those asked responding to the question, the department is reminding Pennsylvanians that it is essential to answer the phone when case investigators call and to provide full and complete information to these clinical professionals.
Compared to data reported on October 5, this week’s data saw an increase in people going to a bar (14.5 percent vs. 12 percent), to a restaurant (53 percent vs. 51 percent), to a salon or barbershop (7 percent vs. 5.5 percent) and up marginally for going to a gym/fitness center (10.6 percent vs. 10.5 percent). Numbers went down for this week’s data for people who reported going to some other business (25 percent vs. 29 percent). The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event went up (15 percent vs. 16 percent).
Also, the Department of Health updated its travel recommendations, originally announced on July 2, to add Alaska, Indiana and North Carolina to the list of states recommended for domestic travelers returning from to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.
It is important that people understand that this recommendation is in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. A concerning number of recent cases have been linked to travel, and if people are going to travel, we need them to take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community, and that involves quarantining.
Gov. Wolf continues to prioritize the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians through the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvanians should continue to take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of in what county they live. This includes wearing a mask or face covering anytime they are in public. COVID-19 has been shown to spread easily in the air and contagious carriers can be asymptomatic.