Pennsylvania and Lancaster County each set new one-day records for the number of new coronavirus cases, the state Department of Health reported Tuesday.
Across the state, the department reported 2,875 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Lancaster County logged 131 new cases.
Each figure eclipsed previous records that had been set in the past week as case numbers continue to surge in Pennsylvania, pushing ongoing rates of new cases well above their spring peaks, when the virus was taking a much deadlier toll.
Pennsylvania reported 32 additional COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday. In Lancaster County, the most recent pandemic deaths were four on Saturday and two on Sunday, according to the county’s COVID-19 web page.
Hospitalizations have been increasing along with rates of new cases.
On Tuesday, there were 1,342 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, up from 1,267 a day earlier, the department reported.
In Lancaster County, there were 44 COVID-19 patients Tuesday at either Lancaster General or WellSpan Ephrata hospitals. That was up from 38 the day before and was the highest daily figure since July 5, according to daily data the two facilities have published on their websites.
Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s health secretary, encouraged voters in Tuesday's presidential election to head to the polls with their own COVID-19 kit, including a mask, hand sanitizer, their own blue or black pen for filling out their ballot, and a downloaded copy of the state’s COVID Alert PA app, which uses Bluetooth technology to help in contact tracing.
And contact tracing, Levine said Tuesday, has become a growing challenge.
“Across Pennsylvania we are seeing an alarming trend of high COVID-19 cases and low response rates when public health professionals are calling, yet we still are monitoring large numbers of contacts, which means people are disclosing with whom they come in contact,” Levine said.
“We are calling on Pennsylvanians do their part and answer the call — answer the call when a case investigator or contact tracer is calling you, answer the call to download the app, answer the call to do your part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can continue to fight this virus.”
An LNP | LancasterOnline review of data from the past week shows that while rates are rising in most counties, many of the counties with the highest per-capita rates of new infections are now in rural, less populated parts of the state.
The three counties with the highest rates of new cases per 100,000 population from Oct. 27 through Nov. 2 were Bradford (471), in the state's northeastern tier; and Huntingdon (401) and Blair (282), in southcentral Pennsylvania. Lebanon County ranked fourth, at 253.
Lancaster County ranked 37th among the state's 67 counties, with 114 new cases per 100,000 population over the seven-day period. That was up from 80 in the prior seven days, and was a bit below the statewide rate of 127 for Oct. 27 through Nov. 2.
Among Lancaster’s other neighbors, rates were: Berks, 169; Dauphin, 125; York, 108; and Chester, 76.