Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for March 12-18: Case Increases at 14,182; Percent Positivity at 6.5% and 25 Counties with Substantial Transmission

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 14,182 a statewide percent positivity of 6.5% and 25 counties with substantial transmission status.

The update includes the following:

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 March 12 – March 18 to the previous seven days, March 12-18.

“The number of new cases has slightly increased, and so has the statewide percent positivity, which is still concerning,” Gov. Wolf said. “As more and more Pennsylvanians are getting vaccinated, we must not forget to follow the mitigation measures still in place. As the weather gets warm, please remember to wear a mask, practice social distance and wash your hands frequently as the virus still has a presence in our communities.”

As of Thursday, March 18, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 14,182 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 12,802 cases, indicating 1,380 additional new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.

The statewide percent-positivity increased slightly to 6.5 percent when compared to last week. There are now 21 counties that have a positivity rate lower than 5 percent. There are no counties reporting over 20 percent positivity rate.

“Throughout our COVID-19 response, we have added tools for residents such as our COVID Alert PA app, and dashboards and educational materials online. As Pennsylvania continues to receive greater supplies, we encourage you to educate yourself on the vaccine, which is the best tool to prevent serious illness or death from COVID-19 and to protect you, your loved ones, and your community.”

Community Transmission

From Friday, March 19 data, 25 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 19, there were five counties in the low level of transmission, 37 counties in the moderate level of transmission, and 25 counties were in the substantial level of transmission.

  • Low: Cameron, Forest, Fulton, Potter, Sullivan
  • Moderate: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Chester*, Clarion, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland
  • Substantial: Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming, York

Cases Among 5-18-Year-Olds

The Department of Health provides weekly data on the number of statewide cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been 92,074 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 3,104 occurred between March 12 and March 18.

Cases by demographic group is available on the DOH website.

Business Visits

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.

The department continues to prioritize case investigations to prevent outbreaks. In addition to the need for people to answer the call from a case investigator, Pennsylvanians should continue to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Of the 16,250 cases reported March 7 through 13 and excluding Philadelphia County residents and those who answered the digital case investigation, 18.5 percent (3,013) of respondents provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.

Of those who provided an answer, 2.6 percent, or 415, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.

Compared to data reported on March 17, this week’s data for people who reported going to the bar (16 percent vs.15 percent last week); a restaurant (46 percent vs. 39 percent last week); a salon/barbershop (7 percent vs. 7 percent last week); some other business (29 percent vs. 38 percent last week); or a gym (15 percent vs. 13 percent last week).

The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event slightly increased from 9.6 to 9 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 March 7 through 13, there were 1,110 forms completed and returned. Of the 98.8 percent, or 1,097, people, who answered whether they spent time at any business establishment two days before symptom onset or positive collection date if asymptomatic, 10.6 percent, or 118 individuals answered yes:

  • 42 percent (49) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
  • 3 percent (3) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
  • 16 percent (19) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
  • 14 percent (16) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
  • 5 percent (6) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.

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.