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, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 48,668 cases, statewide percent positivity of 14.4%, and 66 of 67 counties with substantial transmission status.
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 November 27 – December 3 to the previous seven days, November 20 – November 26
“The latest update continues to show the effect COVID-19 is having in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said. “The mitigation steps in place are necessary to prevent our health system from being overrun. We are approaching that point, which is why we need all Pennsylvanians to follow these measures as part of their collective responsibility to protect one another and the health system.”
As of Thursday, December 3, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 48,668 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 42,713 cases, indicating 5,955 more new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.
The statewide percent-positivity went up to 14.4% from 11.7% last week. Every county in the state has a concerning percent positivity above five percent. This includes nine counties (Mifflin, Potter, Bedford, Montour, Juniata, Somerset, Tioga, Franklin, and Lawrence) with percent positivity at or above 20 percent.
“This week’s data, and the continued strain COVID-19 is placing on the rate of hospitalizations and ventilator use is a reminder to us all of our role in protecting our health care systems,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Models continue to indicate very concerning trends for our hospital availability and ICU bed availability, even as we see some counties with very little capacity left. We know COVID-19 does not discriminate and is affecting every county in the Commonwealth. It is affecting all Pennsylvanians, no matter your race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status or whether you live a rural, suburban or urban area.”
For the week ending December 3, one county was in the low level of transmission and 66 counties were in the substantial level of community transmission:
- Low – Cameron
- Substantial – Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming, York
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 32,348 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 4,394 occurred between November 20 – November 26. For the week of November 20 – November 26, there were 4,212 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.
It is important to note that due to the recent number of cases, the department is prioritizing case investigations. In addition to the need for people to answer the call, the significant number of cases helps contribute to the low percentages in contact tracing data. All of this reinforces the need for Pennsylvanians to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Of the 46,653 confirmed cases reported between November 22 and November 28, 4.5 percent (2,085) provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.
Of those who did provide an answer, 0.5 percent, or 241, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:
- 48 percent (116) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
- 29 percent (69) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
- 16 percent (38) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
- 13 percent (31) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop; and
- 12 percent (28) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center.
Of the 46,653 confirmed cases, 4.5 percent (2,106) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 4.5 percent, 9 percent (191) answered yes to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.
Compared to data reported on November 30, this week’s data saw an increase for people who reported going to a salon/barbershop (13 percent vs. 8 percent last week), going to some other business (29 percent vs. 24.5 percent last week), and going to a gym (12 percent vs. 10 percent last week) and slight increases for those going to a bar (15.8 percent vs. 15.3 percent last week). The data saw a decrease for people who reported going to a restaurant (48 percent vs. 51 percent last week). The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event decreased to 9 percent from 13 percent last week.
The numbers above highlight business settings and mass gatherings as possible sites for transmission. With less than half of those asked about what types of businesses they visited or if they attended a mass gathering responding to the question, the department is reminding Pennsylvanians that it is essential that people answer the phone when case investigators call and to provide full and complete information to these clinical professionals.
In November, the Department of Health provided an updated travel order requiring anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering. Travel quarantine guidance was changed to 10 days on Dec. 5 based on new CDC guidance.
This order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment, those who left the state for less than 24 hours, and those complying with a court order, including child custody. It is important that people understand that this Order 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 having either a negative test, or placing themselves in a travel quarantine.
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.