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. Updates are released each Monday.

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 October 23 – October 29 to the previous seven days, October 16 – October 22.

“As we have entered a fall resurgence in Pennsylvania, we see case counts on the rise in our counties,” Gov. Wolf said. “We cannot relax our mitigation efforts. We call on Pennsylvanians to wear a mask, wash their hands frequently, practice social distancing, avoid gatherings, download the COVID Alert PA app, and answer the call when a public health professional or case investigator call. Together, we are united in this fight and can work to mitigate the spread of this dangerous virus.”

As of Thursday, October 29, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 14,516 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 10,127 cases, indicating 4,389 more new cases across the state over the past week compared to the previous week.

The statewide percent-positivity went up to 6.1% from 5.0% last week. Counties with concerning percent-positivity include Bradford (12.4%), Armstrong (11.9%), Schuylkill (11.1%), Franklin (10.3%), Indiana (9.8%), Lebanon (9.7%), Berks (9.3%), Tioga (9.3%), Huntingdon (9.1%), Venango (8.7%), Wyoming (8.1%), Bedford (8.0%), Fulton (7.8%), Philadelphia (7.8%), Luzerne (7.7%), Jefferson (7.6%), Mifflin (7.6%), Potter (7.3%), Washington (7.3%), Westmoreland (7.2%), York (7.2%), Delaware (6.9%), Lawrence (6.8%), Dauphin (6.6%), Elk (6.4%), Centre (6.1%), Butler (6.0%), Lehigh (6.0%), Mercer (6.0%), Clearfield (5.8%), Lackawanna (5.8%), Lancaster (5.8%), Blair (5.6%), Sullivan (5.6%), Monroe (5.4%), Northumberland (5.4%), Erie (5.3%), Cumberland (5.2%), Snyder (5.2%), and Somerset (5.1%). Each of these counties and the state as a whole bears watching as the state continues to monitor all available data.

Community Transmission

As of Friday’s data, Armstrong, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Cambria, Centre, Crawford, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mifflin, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Tioga, Venango, 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 October 29, five counties were in the low level of transmission, 36 counties in the moderate level, with 26 with substantial transmission:

  • Low – Cameron, Forest, Sullivan, Warren, and Wayne.
  • Moderate – Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Bucks, Butler, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Juniata, Lancaster, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Snyder, Somerset, Susquehanna, Union, and Washington.
  • Substantial – Armstrong, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Cambria, Centre, Crawford, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mifflin, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Tioga, Venango, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and 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 14,530 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 1,185 occurred between October 23 – October 29. For the week of October 16 – October 22, there were 1,183 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.

Of the 11,926 confirmed cases reported between October 18 and October 24, 23.6 percent (2,809) provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.

Of those who did provide an answer, 4.1 percent, or 489, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:

  • 57 percent (278) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
  • 28 percent (135) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
  • 14 percent (70) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center;
  • 12 percent (58) of those who said yes reported going to a bar; and
  • 6 percent (29) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.

Of the 11,926 confirmed cases, 24 percent (2,823) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 24 percent, 18.2 percent (514) 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 October 26, this week’s data saw an increase in people going to a restaurant (57 percent vs. 55 percent last week), going to some other business establishment (28 percent vs. 26 percent), and going to a gym/fitness center (14 percent vs. 11 percent). Numbers went down for this week’s data for people who reported going to a bar (12 percent vs. 13 percent last week) and going to a salon or barbershop (6 percent vs. 7.5 percent last week). The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event decreased to 24 percent from 29 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

Also today, the Department of Health updated its travel recommendations, originally announced on July 2, to add Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Texas from the list of states recommended for domestic travelers returning from to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.

It is important that people understand that this recommendation 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 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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