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Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Nov. 13 – Nov. 19: Case Increases Top 36,000; Percent Positivity at 11.1% and 63 Counties with Substantial Transmission

November 23, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, highlighting a seven-day case increase of 36,133 cases, statewide percent positivity of 11.1%, and a concerning 63 counties with substantial transmission status.

The update includes the following:

  • Level of community transmission as a basis for the recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools to determine instructional models.
  • Data on cases among 5-18-year-olds.
  • Cases that reported visiting a business among potential locations where exposures may have occurred.
  • Updated travel recommendations.

The dashboard is designed to provide early warning signs of factors that affect the state’s mitigation efforts. The data available on the early warning monitoring dashboard includes week-over-week case differences, incidence rates, test percent-positivity, and rates of hospitalizations, ventilations and emergency room visits tied to COVID-19. This week’s update compares the period of November 13 – November 19 to the previous seven days, November 6 – November 12.

“Another week of significant increases of COVID-19 across Pennsylvania is a call to action,” Gov. Wolf said. “We need all Pennsylvanians to take the steps they can to protect one another. We need Pennsylvanians to follow the most recent orders and wear a mask, social distance, avoid travel and gatherings and wash their hands. It is only by working together that Pennsylvanians can prevent the spread of the virus.”

As of Thursday, November 19, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 36,133 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 27,326 cases, indicating 8,807 more new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.

The statewide percent-positivity went up to 11.1% from 9.6% last week. Every county in the state has a concerning percent positivity above five percent except for one county, Cameron County at 1.9 percent.

“This week’s data, in terms of hospitalization increase, an increase in the use of ventilators, case increase and percent positivity are worrisome,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Latest models show we could run out of ICU beds within a week. We know COVID-19 does not discriminate and is affecting every county in the Commonwealth. It is affecting all Pennsylvanians, no matter your race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status or whether you live a rural, suburban or urban area.”

Community Transmission

As of Friday’s data, Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Tioga, Union, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York counties were in the substantial level of community transmission. The departments of Education and Health will speak with school district representatives in these counties to discuss the implications of this level of transmission.

For the week ending November 12, two counties were in the low level of transmission, two counties in the moderate level, with 63 with substantial transmission:

  • Low – Cameron, Sullivan
  • Moderate – Pike, Wayne
  • Substantial – Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming, York

Cases Among 5-18-Year-Olds

The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of statewide cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been 23,742 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 3,937 occurred between November 13 – November 19. For the week of November 6 – November 12, there were 3,198 cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.

Cases by demographic group is available on the DOH website.

Business Visits

The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of individuals who responded to case investigators that they spent time at business establishments (restaurants, bars, gym/fitness centers, salon/barbershops) and at mass gatherings 14 days prior to the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

It is important to note that due to the recent number of cases, the department is prioritizing case investigations. In addition to the need for people to answer the call, the significant number of cases helps contribute to the low percentages in contact tracing data. All of this reinforces the need for Pennsylvanians to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Of the 34,719 confirmed cases reported between November 8 and November 14, 10 percent (3,619) provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.

Of those who did provide an answer, 1.4 percent, or 483, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:

  • 48 percent (233) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
  • 24 percent (109) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
  • 15 percent (74) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
  • 14 percent (66) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
  • 7 percent (34) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.

Of the 34,719 confirmed cases, 10.5 percent (3,628) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 10.5 percent, 16.3 percent (591) answered yes to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.

Compared to data reported on November 16, this week’s data saw an increase for people who reported going to a gym/fitness center (14 percent vs. 11 percent last week) and going to a bar (15 percent vs. 12.5 percent last week),.The data saw a decrease for people who reported going a restaurant (48 percent vs. 53 percent last week) and to another business (23 percent vs. 26 percent last week). Numbers remained the same for those going to some a salon/barbershop (7 percent vs. 7 percent last week). The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event decreased from to 16.3 percent from 18.4 percent last week.

The numbers above highlight business settings and mass gatherings as possible sites for transmission. With less than half of those asked about what types of businesses they visited or if they attended a mass gathering responding to the question, the department is reminding Pennsylvanians that it is essential that people answer the phone when case investigators call and to provide full and complete information to these clinical professionals.

Travel Recommendations

Last week, the Department of Health changed its travel guidance. Dr. Levine issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth.
If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.

This order, which took effect on Friday, November 20, does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.

It is important that people understand that this order is in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. A concerning number of recent cases have been linked to travel, and if people are going to travel, we need them to take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community, and that involves having either a negative test, or quarantining.

Gov. Wolf continues to prioritize the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians through the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvanians should continue to take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of in what county they live. This includes wearing a mask or face covering anytime they are in public. COVID-19 has been shown to spread easily in the air and contagious carriers can be asymptomatic.

 

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