Pennsylvania’s volume of new coronavirus cases remains well below last week’s peak levels, but the daily number of test results has slowed even more. That means the percentage of positive tests has increased, even as the daily number of new cases has fallen.
But the number of test results has also fallen markedly.
After averaging more than 7,000 results per day for most of last week, fewer than 4,000 test results have been reported by the state each day since Sunday.
So far this week, 32% of all test results have been positive. Last week, the figure was 23%, even though the daily number of new cases was higher than this week.
State and local officials acknowledge that the limited amount of testing has made it difficult to fully gauge the spread of the virus and to predict its trajectory in the coming days and weeks.
So far, only about 1% of the population has been tested in Lancaster County and across Pennsylvania, and it is unknown how many people have been infected with mild cases that have not required hospitalization.
That makes it hard to predict when it will be safe to increase economic and social activity without risking another large wave of new cases and hospitalizations.
Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s health secretary, said Pennsylvania is working to increase testing capacity as quickly as possible.
“We are doing eveything we can to expand testing in Pennsylvania,” Levine said Wednesday at the department’s daily coronavirus briefing.
Meanwhile, the death toll continues to climb sharply in Lancaster County.
Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, the county’s coroner, said Wednesday that 72 people have now died here from coronavirus. That as up from 40 just three days earlier.