Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for May 14 – May 20

Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam 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 6,950, a statewide percent positivity of 4.5% and 5 counties with substantial transmission status.

“We are proud to report that more than 10 million vaccinations have been administered to more than 6 million residents – within our vaccine jurisdiction alone,” Gov. Wolf said. “We still have more work to do, but we are proud of the progress. For each resident vaccinated, we inch closer and closer towards achieving herd immunity, protecting our loved ones and making our communities safer.”

As of Thursday, May 20, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 6,950 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 9,953 cases, indicating 3,003 fewer new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.

The statewide percent-positivity decreased to 4.5 percent from 5.3 percent when compared to last week. There are now 28 counties that have a positivity rate lower than 5 percent. There are no counties reporting over 20 percent positivity rate.

“As more residents get vaccinated, the cases are trending downwards,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “We will continue educating all Pennsylvanians as we believe having good information will influence good decisions – like getting vaccinated.”

Community Transmission 

There are three levels of transmission: low, moderate and substantial.

For the week ending May 21, there were four counties in the low level of transmission, 58 counties in the moderate level of transmission, and 5 counties were in the substantial level of community transmission.

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

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 131,070 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 2,102 occurred between May 14 – May 20.

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 12,069 cases reported May 9 – May 15 and excluding Philadelphia County residents and those who answered the digital case investigation, 24.1 percent (2,902) of respondents provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.

Of the 12,069 cases, 24.2 percent (2,921) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 24.2 percent of cases, 12.3 percent (315) 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 May 18, this week’s data saw an increase for people who reported going to the gym (17 percent vs.10 percent last week). The data saw a decrease for people who reported going to a restaurant (32 percent vs. 46 percent last week), those going to the bar (10 percent vs. 14 percent last week), those going to a salon/barbershop (5 percent vs. 8 percent last week) and those going to some other business (10 percent vs. 26 percent last week).

The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event decreased from 12.4 to 12.3 percent compared to last week.

In addition to the traditional case investigation, the Department of Health launched the Connect & Protect Form as a means to complete a digital case investigation. During the week of May 9 – May 15, there were 322 forms completed and returned. Of the 97.8 percent, or 315 people, who answered whether they spent time at any business establishment two days before symptom onset or positive collection date if asymptomatic, 12.7 percent, or 41 individuals, individuals answered yes:

  • 31 percent (13) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
  • 10 percent (4) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
  • 10 percent (4) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
  • 17 percent (7) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
  • 5 percent (2) 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. 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.

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 what county they live in. 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.