For the third time in four days, Lancaster County recorded more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the Department of Health reported.
The 104 new cases on Monday followed 113 cases on Saturday and a record 117 on Friday. The only other day with over 100 cases here was Oct. 10, with 104.
Pennsylvania saw 2,060 new cases Monday, the sixth time in seven days that new cases topped 2,000, as the pandemic's fall surge continues here and nationwide.
Per capita rates of new cases statewide and in Lancaster County are now well above their rates in the spring. Hospitalizations and deaths, meanwhile, are also increasing but remain well below peak levels.
At a news conference, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine noted that there were 1,267 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Pennsylvania on Monday, and “we expect the number of hospitalizations to increase.” At the peak in the spring, that number exceeded 3,000.
The health department reported eight new deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s pandemic total to 8,823. The death rate remains much lower than in the spring, Levine said, thanks in part to better medical care of patients and better protections at long-term-care facilities, where so many of state's deaths have occurred.
Hospitalizations generally lag a couple of weeks behind new cases, Levine said, and deaths lag even further, so the rising number of cases is likely to continue to pull both numbers higher, she said.
While new cases increase, the positivity rate of tests is also increasing in most counties, she noted, and it rose to 6% in the past week statewide, up from 5% in the previous week.
In terms of hospitalizations and deaths, “We are in much better shape than we were in the spring,” she said, but if case counts continue rising “we could see challenges to our health care system.”
As of Monday, the state’s daily average of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was at 1,146 for the past two weeks, up from 931 just a week earlier. Lancaster County’s daily average was at 37, up from 28 a week earlier. The county’s average number of available adult intensive-care-unit beds was at seven, down from 10 a week ago and 20 a month ago, according to the department of health.
Levine advised that voters heading to the polls on Tuesday take along their own COVID-19 prevention kit, including a mask, hand sanitizer, a blue or black pen, and the state’s COVID Alert phone app, which uses Bluetooth technology to assist in contact tracing if a person is exposed to someone with COVID-19.