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 passed a grim milestone for COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday, recording 201 patients in area hospitals, its highest mark of the pandemic, according to data from the state Department of Health.

It’s the third time this week the county has broken its COVID-19 hospitalization record, putting an ever-increasing strain on local health care systems. Lancaster recorded 193 patients in area hospitals on Monday and 197 patients on Thursday.

About 79% of the 128 COVID-19 patients at Lancaster General, the county’s largest hospital, are not fully vaccinated, including all but two of its patients on ventilators, according to hospital data. Health officials continue to encourage vaccination as the best protection against serious illness and death. 

The sharp increase in hospitalizations has been driven by an even more dramatic explosion of cases in the county in recent weeks. The seven-day case average most recently reached about 928 cases per day as of Thursday as the omicron variant has continued to spread widely here and nationally.

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