Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam 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 19,621, a statewide percent positivity of 8.0% and 51 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 February 5 – February 11 to the previous seven days, January 29 – February 4.
“We are reporting another week of lowered statewide positivity, which is an encouraging sign of as we continue our COVID-19 response,” Gov. Wolf said. “Across the commonwealth, we are getting vaccine into arms to ensure our residents are protected against COVID-19 exposure, but there is still community spread ongoing in our communities, so we cannot get inpatient. We need to stay the course to best fight this virus.”
As of Thursday, February 11, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 19,621 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 20,815 cases, indicating 1,194 fewer new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.
The statewide percent-positivity went down to 8.0% from 8.6% last week. We now are seeing three counties who have a positivity rate lower than five percent. There are no counties reporting over 20 percent positivity rate.
“The Department of Health is laser-focused on working with trusted local providers to get vaccine in arms as quickly as it is available from the federal government as we continue our COVID-19 response,” Acting Sec. of Health Beam said. “The importance of the proven health practices and mitigation efforts remain important. While we await more vaccine, we encourage people to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining social distance.”
As of Friday’s data, 51 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 February 12, there was one county in the low level of transmission, 15 counties in the moderate level of transmission, and 51 counties were in the substantial level of transmission.
- Low – Cameron County
- Moderate – Armstrong, Bedford, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Elk, Fayette, Indiana, Jefferson, Somerset, Tioga, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland
- Substantial – Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wayne, 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 78,475 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 3,380 occurred between February 5 – February 12. For the week of January 29 – February 4, there were 3,210 cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.
Cases by demographic group is available on the DOH website.
The Department of Health provides 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 number of cases, the department is prioritizing case investigations to prevent outbreak. In addition to the need for people to answer the call, the significant number of cases helps contribute to the low percentages in case investigation data. All of this reinforces the need for Pennsylvanians to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Of the 24,884 cases reported between January 31 – February 6 and excluding Philadelphia County residents and those who answered the digital case investigation, 11.9 percent (3,067) provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.
Of those who did provide an answer, 1.3 percent, or 333, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:
- 35 percent (116) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
- 37 percent (123) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
- 11 percent (37) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
- 18 percent (61) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
- 8 percent (26) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.
Of the 25,884 cases, 11.9 percent (3,088) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 9 percent of cases, 7.5 percent (230) 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 February 8, this week’s data saw an increase for people who reported going to some other business (37 percent vs. 34 percent last week), going to the gym (18 percent vs. 15 percent last week). The data saw a decrease for people who reported going to a restaurant (35 percent vs. 38 percent last week) and those going to the bar (11 percent vs. 12 percent last week). The number of those going to a salon/barbershop remained the same at 8 percent compared to last week. The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event increased from 7.3 to 7.5 percent compared to last week.
In addition to the traditional case investigation, the Department of Health launched the new Connect & Protect Form as a means to complete a digital case investigation. During the week of January 30 – February 6, there were 1,101 forms completed and returned. Of the 99 percent, or 1,086 people, who answered whether they spent time at any business establishment two days before symptom onset or positive collection date if asymptomatic, 14.5 percent, or 160 individuals, individuals answered yes:
- 54 percent (87) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
- 4 percent (7) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
- 16 percent (26) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
- 22 percent (35) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
- 8 percent (12) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.
The numbers above highlight business settings and mass gatherings as possible sites for transmission. It is important to note that currently Pennsylvania is experiencing widespread community transmission. With less than 10 percent of those asked about what types of businesses they visited or if they attended a mass gathering responding to the question, the department is again reminding Pennsylvanians that it is essential that they answer the phone when case investigators call and to provide full and complete information to these clinical professionals or on the Connect & Protect form the case investigator provides.
The Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to discourage any nonessential travel, even for people who are fully vaccinated.
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 Pennsylvania. 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, or 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 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 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 any time they are in public. COVID-19 has been shown to spread easily in the air and contagious carriers can be asymptomatic. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to wash their hands, social distance, avoid gatherings and download COVID Alert PA.