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.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Pennsylvania continues to climb steadily as the state’s fall coronavirus surge continues.

On Monday, there were 1,104 COVID-19 patients in Pennsylvania hospitals, reported Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s health secretary. That was up 31% from 841 a week earlier.

Over the past month, the two-week daily average number of patients has more than doubled, from 452 to 931, according to Department of Health data.

Rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania as of Oct. 26

This chart from the state Department of Health's website shows the trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania from June 14 through Oct. 26.

“We do expect the number of hospitalizations to continue to increase,” Levine said, noting that the state’s rate of positive COVID-19 tests has increased from 4.2% to 5.0% over the past week.

Levine said the number of patients hospitalized is still well below the peak of 3,000 in the spring, and that health care systems are better prepared to address the virus than they were then.

“But still, those increases are concerning to us,” she said. “ … We must all do our part to prevent a further increase in hospitalizations, particularly as flu season approaches.”

Masks are required in all public places in Pennsylvania, state officials have emphasized, and social distancing, hand washing and other precautions are urged.

Levine noted that increases in hospitalizations generally lag behind rises in new cases, and that the number of new cases has been climbing sharply.

Rate of new coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania, Lancaster County

The 14-day per-capita rate of new coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania is now higher than it was at the pandemic's spring peak.

Pennsylvania has reported 1,000 or more new COVID-19 cases each day for 21 days in a row. Its 14-day per capita rate of new cases is at 175 per 100,000 population — which exceeds the rate of 164 at the pandemic’s April peak. Lancaster County’s rate is at 148, which is just shy of its April peak of 152.

In terms of hospitalizations, Lancaster County has averaged 28 COVID-19 patients per day over the past 14 days, according to the Department of Health. That’s up from 25 a week ago and 23 two weeks ago.

From a per capita standpoint, Lancaster’s hospitalization rate is below the statewide average and is less than half the rate in the neighboring counties of Lebanon, Berks and York.

Here is the average daily number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients over the past two weeks in Pennsylvania and select counties, and how that works out to a rate per 100,000 population:

• Pennsylvania: 931 patients (7 per 100,000 population)

• Berks County: 57 patients (14 per 100,000)

• Lebanon County: 19 patients (13 per 100,000)

• York County: 58 patients (13 per 100,000)

• Dauphin County: 28 patients (10 per 100,000)

• Lancaster County: 28 patients (5 per 100,000)

• Chester County: 15 patients (3 per 100,000)