The Lehigh Valley remained stuck at the top of the state’s coronavirus surge Thursday, as it has been for the past month, according to data from Pennsylvania Department of Health reporting systems. There were 26,795 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday, with 1,832 of them in Lehigh and Northampton counties. The seven-day moving average of newly reported cases was 28,604 cases per day, up 23.8% from a week ago, and up 236.2% over the last 30 days.
To date, there have been 2.38 million infections statewide.
Area counties have the highest seven-day total case counts as a portion of population. Lehigh (2,671), Northampton (2,374), Monroe (2,238), Carbon (1,963) and Allegheny (1,918) are the top five of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
The lowest rates are found in Potter (514.3), Cameron (562.2), Jefferson (655.5), McKean (676.9) and Juniata (686.5). For context, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a rate higher than 100 weekly cases per 100,000 residents as “high” community transmission. Lehigh and Northampton are more than 26 and 23 times that rate, respectively.
There were 7,459 people hospitalized as of midday Thursday compared with 7,215 Wednesday, marking the 8th consecutive record. Of those, 1,114 were in intensive care, and 695 were on ventilators. Neither intensive care occupancy nor ventilator use have topped the levels seen during last winter’s surge.
Thursday’s data show that the percentages of COVID patients who need intensive care or ventilators has been falling — 15% of COVID patients were in intensive care beds Thursday, compared with 21% a month ago, while 9.5% of hospitalized COVID patients are on ventilators, down from 12.3% a month ago.
Statewide hospitalizations have increased 17.6% over the last week, and are up 57.5% in the last 30 days.
Hospitals in the five-county region including Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill and Monroe report a record 698 patients, with 98 in intensive care, and 58 on ventilators. Like the statewide numbers, regional intensive care and ventilator use have not surpassed the records set in late January of last year.
Regional hospitalizations have increased 15.8% over the last week, and are up 59.2% in the last 30 days.
There were 150 additional deaths reported Thursday. The seven-day moving average of deaths per day is 126.7, compared with 103.9 a week ago, an increase of 22% in the last seven days. Pennsylvania has recorded 38,253 deaths since March 2020.
Cases: 1,832 additional case reports, with 1,113 in Lehigh County, 719 in Northampton County. That brings the total to 149,737.
Deaths: 9 new deaths (five in Lehigh County, and four in Northampton County), compared with 17 the day before. That brings the total to 2,024 (1,097 in Lehigh, and 927 in Northampton).