New coronavirus cases leaped in Pennsylvania in the week ending Sunday, rising 10.1% as 22,277 cases were reported. The previous week had 20,240 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Pennsylvania ranked 42nd among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week coronavirus cases in the United States increased 7.4% from the week before, with 906,593 cases reported. With 3.85% of the country’s population, Pennsylvania had 2.46% of the country’s cases in the last week. Across the country, 28 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.
Johns Hopkins University has been getting data on an erratic schedule from Pennsylvania, skewing week-to-week comparisons.
Monroe County reported 329 cases and two deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 302 cases and one death. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 41,390 cases and 547 deaths.
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End-of-the-month figures throughout the Poconos show that Monroe saw higher case counts on average than in June, though the overall rates were generally lower than figures seen in May, when peak points approached triple digits at least once.
However, Monroe saw a July peak of 68 cases on July 21, and the shape of the current wave as compared previous waves could indicate the potential of further increases.
Pike was slightly more variable throughout July, going back and forth between single-digit and teen figures for daily cases; Wayne barely crested into the teens; Carbon sat in the teens and twenties for daily figures outside of a high point of 36 cases on July 21; Lackawanna held the highest daily case counts for the month on average, topping out the charts with 140 cases on July 18.
Monroe, Lackawanna, Carbon and Wayne appear to be following back-to-back waves covering approximately the past two months. While smaller in scale, these waves appear at least reminiscent in shape to previous, larger waves that have hit the region previously.
The Department of Health’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard has shown increases in multiple metrics in Monroe for July 20 through July 26 over the previous week: confirmed cases escalated from 267 to 280, the PCR positivity rate went up from 22.4% to 23.6%, incidence rate per 100,000 people increased from 156.8 to 164.4, and the average daily hospitalizations jumped from 8.9 to 10.3. The percentage of emergency department visits due to COVID-like illnesses went down from 0.6% to 0.5%. and average daily patients on ventilators in Monroe went from 0.1 to zero.
Pike remained relatively stable this past week, with cases remaining at 52, a mild drop in the PCR positivity rate from 15.5% to 15.2%, and a level incidence rate per 100,000 people at 93.2. Otherwise, the percentage of emergency room visits due to a COVID-like illness dropped from 1.2% to zero.
Carbon’s confirmed case count increased from 85 to 101, while their PCR positivity rate went up from 18.3% to 21.7%, average daily patients on ventilators remained at zero, the incidence rate per 100,000 people increased from 132.4 to 157.4, and the percentage of emergency department visits due to COVID-like illnesses went from 0.7% to 0.5% Average daily hospitalizations increased from 1.3 to 2.3.
Wayne noted increases in confirmed cases, which went from 39 to 51, PCR positivity going from 10.5% to 12.7%, and the incidence rate per 100,000 people escalating from 75.9 to 99.3. Average daily patients on ventilators dropped from 0.6 to zero, and average daily hospitalizations remained at 1.3, though the percent of emergency room visits due to COVID-like illnesses went up from 0.3% to 0.8%.
Lackawanna experienced a mixed week again, with confirmed cases dropping from 243 to 224 and the incidence rate per 100,000 people decreasing from 115.9 to 106.8. Average daily patients on ventilators jumped from zero to 1.9, average daily hospitalizations went from 22.1 to 24.3, and the percent of emergency room visits to to COVID-like illnesses decreased from 0.5% to 0.1%. Lastly, the county’s PCR positivity rate went down slightly from 15.6% to 15.1%.
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Within Pennsylvania, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Sullivan County with 445 cases per 100,000 per week; Forest County with 359; and Columbia County with 263. The Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week.
Adding the most new cases overall were Allegheny County, with 2,629 cases; Philadelphia County, with 2,082 cases; and Montgomery County, with 1,326. Weekly case counts rose in 51 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week’s pace were in Allegheny, Lancaster and Northampton counties.
>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases
Across Pennsylvania, cases fell in 12 counties, with the best declines in Philadelphia County, with 2,082 cases from 2,739 a week earlier; in Lackawanna County, with 439 cases from 499; and in Cambria County, with 297 cases from 329.
In Pennsylvania, 117 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 98 people were reported dead.
A total of 3,080,593 people in Pennsylvania have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 46,164 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 91,316,648 people have tested positive and 1,029,926 people have died.
>> Track coronavirus cases across the United States
Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 hospital admissions rising
USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, July 31. Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:
- Last week: 4,238
- The week before that: 4,040
- Four weeks ago: 3,545
Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:
- Last week: 75,143
- The week before that: 73,476
- Four weeks ago: 63,312
Hospitals in 24 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 21 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 30 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.
The USA TODAY Network is publishing localized versions of this story on its news sites across the country, generated with data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control. If you have questions about the data or the story, contact Mike Stucka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Myszkowski covers the COVID-19 pandemic in northeast Pennsylvania and the Poconos, and is based at the Pocono Record. Reach him by emailing email@example.com.