coronavirus covid-19 illustration file photo cdc dark background

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals the structure of the novel coronavirus. The illness caused by this virus is COVID-19.

Lancaster County is again defined as having a high level of community transmission for COVID-19, with more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population over seven days.

Fourteen of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties were at that level as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lancaster was briefly in the high transmission category on Sunday and Monday before the CDC updated its data and put Lancaster back in the “substantial” transmission category on Monday afternoon.

For Aug. 4-10, Lancaster had 105 new cases per 100,000 population, according to the CDC. That was the ninth-highest rate in the state.

In the past week, the positivity rate on COVID-19 tests here was 7.87%, up from 6.73% the previous seven days.

The CDC defines high rates of transmission as 100 more new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population over seven days or a positivity rate of 10% or greater. About three-quarters of all U.S. counties currently as classified as having high transmission. The highest rates are mostly in Southern states.

The CDC recommends that people in counties with substantial or high levels of transmission wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. It also recommends that schools in areas with high transmission cancel or hold high-risk sports and extracurriculars, such as football and band, virtually unless all participants are vaccinated.

But there was little indication this week of major restrictions being planned by local school districts. Barring an official mandate from the state or federal government, most school officials have said they will not require anyone to wear a mask, at least to begin the school year.

The only Lancaster County school district that plans to require masks for students and staff is School District of Lancaster, which has the county's largest enrollment.

The rate of new COVID-19 cases has been jumping sharply in Lancaster County, with the seven-day daily average rising from four cases a month ago to 85 as of Wednesday, according to state Department of Health data.

Hospitalizations have also been increasing, and have more than doubled here this week.

According to the health department, the county had 28 hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Wednesday and 30 on Thursday, the most since May 21. There were 13 COVID-19 patients hospitalized patients here on Monday — just three days earlier.

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