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 has been named COVID-19.

Pennsylvania’s fall coronavirus surge continued this week, while Lancaster County showed some signs that its rise in new cases and hospitalizations might be easing a bit, at least temporarily.

The county’s per-capita rate of new COVID-19 cases was eclipsed by the statewide rate for the first time since late July, and the number of patients hospitalized here declined two days in a row.

COVID case chart as of Oct. 15,m 2020

Here’s what’s happening this week:

Pennsylvania's surge

Statewide, the Department of Health reported another 1,598 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, its second-highest daily number since April. The state’s 14-day per-capita rate of new cases rose to 136 per 100,000 population, its highest level since May 1.

Chart of new coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania each day since March

This chart from the state Department of Health's website shows the daily number of new coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania since March.

Average daily hospitalizations climbed to 680 statewide, up 50% from the low point of 452 a little over two weeks ago. The 14-day count of COVID-19 deaths hit 272 Thursday, its highest since Aug 19.

Chart of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania since March

This chart from the state Department of Health's website shows the COVID-19 hospitalization trends in Pennsylvania since March.

Lancaster County

In Lancaster County, meanwhile, the new case rate has eased a bit since the county set a new one-day record of 104 new cases on Saturday.

The county has averaged 45 new cases per day since then. Its per-capita, 14-day rate of new cases peaked at 134 per 100,000 on Tuesday — its highest mark since May 4 — then dropped back to 128 by Thursday, or eight points below the state rate of 136.

More important, perhaps, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized here declined on Wednesday and Thursday, after rising Tuesday to 30 — which was the highest local number since late August. On Wednesday there were 23 COVID-19 patients at Lancaster General or WellSpan Ephrata hospitals, and on Thursday there were 19.

Chart of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Lancaster County

This chart from the state Department of Health's website shows the trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Thursday also marked the first time in 16 days that the county did not see an increase in its 14-day daily average number of patients. In a little over two weeks, that number had doubled from 12 on Sept. 29 to 24.6 on Wednesday. It was 24.5 on Thursday.

Lancaster County’s coroner, Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, has reported 10 COVID-19 deaths here so far in October —a pace that threatens to eclipse September’s total of 13, which was down from 29 in August.

The last COVID-19 death reported here was on Tuesday.

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