Weekly COVID-19 cases in Lancaster County ticked up again after four straight weeks of decline, reaching over 1,300 for the week of Nov. 7 to Nov. 13, according to data from the state Department of Health. As of Nov. 15, the seven-day rolling average of new cases in the county is about 191 per day.
The number of people currently hospitalized with the coronavirus rose to 92 as of Nov. 16, up from 74 on Nov. 9, according to the state data.
Sixty-two of those hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county are at Lancaster General, according to data from the hospital. Nearly three-in-four hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, including all but one of LGH’s 11 COVID-19 patients on ventilators.
Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are likely to be expected as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, according to epidemiologists and public health experts.
Cases and hospitalizations remain well below their fall peaks. The county’s seven-day case average reached about 258 per day on Oct. 8 and hospitalizations reached 122 the day after. The all-time highs of the pandemic were 429 cases per day on Dec. 9, 2020, and 178 hospitalizations the day after.
Weekly deaths declined slightly, totaling 15 last week versus 18 the week prior, according to data from the county coroner’s office. COVID-19 deaths often lag behind changes in cases and hospitalizations, so increases in those measures now could show up in rising numbers of deaths in two to three weeks.
The number of new partial vaccinations this month has already eclipsed October’s total and is on pace to be the highest since May, if current trends hold. About 7,250 people have received their first shots in November, according to the state data, following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 at the beginning of the month.
New full vaccinations lag behind, totaling just under 1,100 last week, compared to just under 1,300 the week prior.
The weekly pace of people receiving COVID-19 boosters declined slightly last week to just under 9,500 from about 9,750 the week before. In total, 45,510 people in the county have received additional doses of the vaccine, which is available to people who initially received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines who are 65 years or older or 18 and older and live or work in high-risk settings or have underlying medical conditions. Boosters are also available to those 18 or older who initially received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months after their initial shot. People who are eligible can choose any of the three vaccines to receive as their booster.
The Food and Drug Administration could authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech booster for all American adults before Thanksgiving, according to the New York Times.