The number of Pennsylvania counties at a high COVID-19 community level has decreased by more than half since last week, according to the latest update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last week, 14 Pennsylvania counties were scored high, and as such were areas where the federal agency recommends wearing a mask in public, indoor spaces.
As of Thursday’s update, six counties are at high. Those are Crawford, Venango, Bradford, Montour, Mifflin and Huntingdon counties. Centre County, which was scored at medium last week and high the week prior, is now back at low.
Here’s the CDC’s community levels map as of Sept. 23:
In all, 23 counties in Pennsylvania are at low and 38 are at medium.
The community levels are based on new cases and hospital admissions per 100,000 individuals (seven-day totals) and the percent of occupied COVID-19 hospital beds (a seven-day average).
At a high level, masks are recommended. At medium, those at high risk for severe illness are asked to consider masking, and all individuals are recommended to get vaccinated and test if they have symptoms, regardless of community level.
COVID-19 in Pennsylvania
This week, the CDC reports more new cases in across the Keystone State than the week prior, with 18,981 reported as part of seven-day metrics. In addition, 128 COVID-19 deaths in the state were also reported. That’s an increase of 1,475 new cases over last week, but a drop in deaths.
To date, 47,098 Pennsylvanians have died of COVID-19, according the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The CDC reports the state’s positivity rate has dropped in the last week, now in the 10 to 14.9% range, as of Sept. 19.
COVID-19 in Centre County
Through Wednesday, the CDC reports 227 new cases in Centre County and a case rate of 139.27 per 100,000 people. That’s a drop of more 32% from last week.
The positivity rate in the county also declined, from 18.35% to 14.22%. Through Thursday, 1,746 new tests had been reported.
The updated COVID-19 bivalent second booster is now available to most in the U.S. To qualify, you must have completed your initial series, be aged 12 or older and have not received a coronavirus shot in the last two months, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The initial series remains available to those who have yet to be vaccinated, and more than 109 million individuals in the U.S. have already gotten their first booster.