Harrisburg, PA – While COVID-19 case counts in our state continue to decline, percent positivity decreases, and more and more Pennsylvanians are vaccinated, we still are reporting thousands of cases a day and that is still concerning.
While Clarion, Elk, and Jefferson Counties are now in the moderate threat level of transmission, Clearfield County remains in the substantial threat level, the highest level on the scale.
Pennsylvania officials are encouraging us to hang on a little longer. Continue doing those simple steps like social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a mask.
Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam 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 12,483 a statewide percent positivity of 5.7% and 21 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.
- 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 March 5 – March 11 to the previous seven days, February 26 – March 4.
“While case counts continue to decline, percent positivity decreases, and more and more Pennsylvanians are vaccinated, we still are reporting thousands of cases a day and that is still concerning,” Gov. Wolf said. “We are on the right course. As the weather gets warm, please remember to wear a mask, practice social distance and wash your hands frequently as the virus still has a presence in our communities.”
As of Thursday, March 11, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 12,483 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 13,542 cases, indicating 1,059 fewer new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.
The statewide percent-positivity remained the same at 5.7 percent when compared to last week. There are now 29 counties that have a positivity rate lower than 5 percent. There are no counties reporting over 20 percent positivity rate.
“Throughout our COVID-19 response, we have added tools for residents such as our COVID Alert PA app, and dashboards and educational materials online. As Pennsylvania continues to receive greater supplies, we encourage you to educate yourself on the vaccine, which is the best tool to prevent serious illness or death from COVID-19 and to protect you, your loved ones, and your community.”
From Friday, March 12 data, 21 counties were in the substantial level of community transmission, the highest level of transmission.
There are three levels of transmission: low, moderate and substantial. For the week ending March 12, there were five counties in the low level of transmission, 41 counties in the moderate level of transmission, and 21 counties were in the substantial level of transmission.
- Low – Cameron, Forest, Fulton, Potter, Sullivan
- Moderate – Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Chester, Clarion, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Elk, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lawrence, Luzerne, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Montgomery, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming
- Substantial – Adams, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Centre, Clearfield, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Monroe, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Wayne, York
The Department of Health provides weekly data on the number of statewide cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been 88,970 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 2,811 occurred between February 26 and March 4. For the week of February 26 to March 4, there were 2,543 cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.
The Department of Health provides 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.
The department continues to prioritize case investigations to prevent outbreaks. In addition to the need for people to answer the call from a case investigator, Pennsylvanians should continue to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Of the 15,960 cases reported February 28 through March 6 and excluding Philadelphia County residents and those who answered the digital case investigation, 17.7 percent (2,831) of respondents provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.
Of those who provided an answer, 2.6 percent, or 408, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:
- 39 percent (157) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
- 38 percent (153) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
- 15 percent (63) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
- 13 percent (53) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
- 7 percent (29) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.
Of the 15,960 cases, 17.9 percent (2,857) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 17.9 percent of cases, 9 percent (256) 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 March 8, this week’s data saw an increase for people who reported going to the bar (15 percent vs.11 percent last week). The data saw a decrease for people who reported going to a restaurant (39 percent vs. 40 percent last week) and those going to a salon/barbershop remained the same (7 percent vs. 8 percent last week).The number of those going to some other business (38 percent vs. 38 percent last week) and those going to the gym remained the same (13 percent vs. 13 percent last week). The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event increased from 8.6 to 9 percent compared to last week.
In addition to the traditional case investigation, the Department of Health launched the new Connect & Protect Form as a means to complete a digital case investigation. During the week of February 28 – March 6, there were 858 forms completed and returned. Of the 98.8 percent, or 848 people, who answered whether they spent time at any business establishment two days before symptom onset or positive collection date if asymptomatic, 12.8 percent, or 110 individuals, individuals answered yes:
- 39 percent (43) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
- 5 percent (5) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
- 14 percent (15) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
- 15 percent (16) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
- 4 percent (4) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.
The numbers above highlight business settings and mass gatherings as possible sites for transmission. With less than 10 percent of those asked about what types of businesses they visited or if they attended a mass gathering responding to the question, the department is again reminding Pennsylvanians that it is essential that they answer the phone when case investigators call and to provide full and complete information to these clinical professionals or on the Connect & Protect form the case investigator provides.
Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam signed an order on March 1 rescinding the travel restrictions order signed in November 2020. More information can be found here.
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 any time they are in public. COVID-19 has been shown to spread easily in the air and contagious carriers can be asymptomatic. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to wash their hands, social distance, avoid gatherings and download COVID Alert PA.