Editor's note: A previous version of this story included an incorrect number that significantly overstated the new coronavirus cases reported by the state on Tuesday.
Pennsylvania reported 554 new coronavirus deaths Tuesday — its largest one-day tally so far — and 865 new cases, its third-lowest daily number since April 1.
Thirty-one of those deaths were in Lancaster County, bringing the official state total to 144 but leaving it well behind the number of deaths reported by Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, the county’s coroner, who was reporting 206 total deaths here on Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Lancaster County had only 27 new coronavirus cases, its second-lowest daily number in over a month. That bumped it a small step closer to Gov. Tom Wolf’s key metric for a partial reopening of the local economy.
Here are 6 takeaways from Tuesday’s Pennsylvania coronavirus update:
1) Biggest one-day death count: As it continues to investigate and process a large backlog of cases and reports, the state health department reported 554 new coronavirus deaths across the state, topping its previous one-day record of 479 deaths reported six days ago. The deaths reported today occurred over the past two weeks, the department said, and total deaths in the state are now at 3,012.
In Lancaster County the 31 new deaths were the largest one-day tally reported by the health department, but it still counts 62 fewer deaths than the 206 reported by Diamantoni.
2) Rate of positive tests flattens: The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus is no longer rising. Early in the crisis, about 10% of people tested statewide were positive. That number rose steadily to just under 21% in late April, and plateaued there for about 11 days. This week, it slipped to 20.3%. Locally, the percentage of positive tests also climbed steadily in April, but has held at between 18% and 19% for the past 12 days.
3) Fatality rate at 10% here: With Tuesday’s record report of 554 new deaths, the fatality rate in Pennsylvania is now 5.9% of total cases, the highest it’s been since the crisis began. In Lancaster County, the fatality rate is 10.2%, using Diamantoni’s figure of 206 deaths and the state’s figure of 2,018 total cases here.
4) Little change in testing volume: Ramped-up testing is seen as a key strategy for a safe resumption of activity, but testing volume is not changing much. In the past seven days, the state reported an average of 5,864 test results per day. That was down slightly from an average of 6,034 per day in the prior seven days. Lancaster County averaged 257 tests per day in the past week, up slightly from 246 per day for the prior seven days. Just under 2% of the county’s population, or 10,777 of 545,724 people, have been tested. That’s almost identical to the statewide percentage.
5) County takes small step toward reopening: Lancaster County has had 723 new coronavirus cases over the past 14 days, giving it a score of 132 per 100,000 population (the county has 545,724 people). That’s down from scores in the 140s over the past week, but still well above the 50 new cases per 100,000 that Wolf has established as a threshold for a county to begin reopening its economy.