Lancaster County and Pennsylvania are trending in opposite directions.
New coronavirus cases are down substantially this week in Lancaster County, even as the state continues to grapple with an ongoing increase fueled partly by an outbreak in Pittsburgh and other parts of western Pennsylvania that were spared a major impact earlier in the pandemic.
On Tuesday, the state recorded 995 new cases of COVID-19 — its highest one-day total since May 10. Officials said the unusually high number was due in part to a backlog in reporting of cases from Philadelphia.
At the same time, Lancaster County logged only 21 new cases Tuesday, which came on the heels of 17 new cases on Sunday and 13 on Monday, according to state Department of Health data.
Those were three of four lowest one-day case totals here since late March. What’s more, they represented only 3.5% of total tests, which is a three-day positive rate well below the 7% to 8% rate the county had been recording in late June.
The trend also looks good locally when comparing the past seven days with the prior seven-day period.
From July 1-7, Lancaster County had 181 new cases, down 46% from 336 new cases over the previous seven days of June 24-30. The number of tests was also down, but not as sharply. As a result, the rate of positive tests fell from 7.6% to 5.3%.
Statewide, things moved in the opposite direction. The number of new cases jumped 20 percent — from 3,910 cases June 24-30 to 4,693 cases July 1-7. The rate of positive tests increased from 4.6% to 5.5% over the same period. Higher rates of positive tests can indicate greater community spread of the virus.
Of the 4,693 new COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania over the past seven days, 26% were in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh and is home to less than 10% of the state’s population.