COVID cases continue to fall in PA. These 5 counties are at CDC’s medium community level

·3 min read

New cases of COVID-19 continue to decline in Pennsylvania, according to the latest state data, with the number cut roughly in half from where it was a month ago.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports 5,157 new cases for the week running March 15 to 21. That’s about 900 fewer than the previous week, and about the half cases reported for the same week in February, when state officials tallied 10,266.

These case counts do not include positives from at-home test kits or those not reported to the state agency. Pennsylvania has exceeded more than 3.5 million confirmed and probable cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic in the U.S.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as a whole have been declining in recent weeks, though U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data through Wednesday show a slight uptick in deaths over the last week, with 2,060 reported nationwide.

Death rates have varied greatly state to state over the course of the pandemic, according to a new study from medical journal The Lancet. The study found Arizona had the highest standardized death rate, at 581 deaths per 100,000 individuals, while Hawaii saw the lowest, at 147 per 100,000. Pennsylvania saw 297 deaths per 100,000, the study found, using data from Jan. 1, 2020, through July 31, 2022.

For the latest reporting week, new deaths in Pennsylvania are down, with 106 counted by state officials, bringing the overall death toll to 50,623.

According to state data updated Wednesday, hospitalizations for COVID treatment also continue to decline. Across Pennsylvania, 671 individuals were reportedly hospitalized, compared to 747 the week prior. The number of most serious cases, those in intensive care units, fell from 97 to 91, and 52 patients are on ventilators, up slightly from last week’s 44.

COVID-19 community levels in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the number of Pennsylvania counties at an elevated COVID-19 community level this week.

Just five counties — Crawford, Mercer, Sullivan, Bradford and Susquehanna — are at medium, down from seven last week. For the second week in a row, zero Pennsylvania counties are at high.

This map of Pennsylvania from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows COVID-19 community levels by county as of March 24, 2023. The yellow are at medium and the green are at low.
This map of Pennsylvania from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows COVID-19 community levels by county as of March 24, 2023. The yellow are at medium and the green are at low.

The CDC assesses its community level metric weekly for all U.S. counties and scores each at low, medium or high based on total new cases and hospital admissions per 100,000 residents and average percent of staffed hospital bed occupied by COVID patients.

Under reduced federal masking guidance, the CDC recommends individuals wear a mask in counties at high, and that extends to medium-level counties for those at greater risk for severe illness. Staying up to date on the latest COVID-19 vaccines and boosters is recommended regardless of community level.

COVID-19 in Centre County

The CDC reports 95 new cases in Centre County as of Wednesday, up slightly from last week’s 89. The county remains at a low community level, as do all adjacent counties.

The positivity rate in Centre County has sharply declined over the most recent week, falling from 11.19% to 7.5% as of Monday. The number of test performed is up by nearly 50%, the CDC reports.

The county’s bivalent booster rate has remained largely unchanged over the last two months, however, coming in at 19.8% of residents.

You can find the updated COVID-19 vaccine for free from a provider near you using vaccines.gov.