York County schools days away from breaking last school year's record for total COVID-19 cases

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

With the future of the state mask order for schools in question, York County schools are creeping closer to breaking a new record for COVID-19 cases. 

Local public schools have so far recorded 2,808 cases during the 2021-22 school year, including 27 new cases recorded since Wednesday. That puts schools only 53 cases shy of last year's total. 

In the 2020-21 school year, York County districts recorded at least 2,861 cases, though the true total was likely over 3,000 due to recordkeeping disparities that persist into the current school year. 

This is happening the same week a Pennsylvania court threw out the state's mask order for schools, following a lawsuit filed by Republican lawmakers and later joined by the West York Area School District. The state immediately filed an appeal, which means the order remains in effect until further notice. 

Either way, the mask order will not remain in effect much longer, as Gov. Tom Wolf announced earlier this week that he intends to lift the order in January. This would return the control over mask policies to individual school districts. 

More:Pa. court throws out Wolf's school mask mandate; West York a petitioner in lawsuit

More:Wolf to end mask mandate for schools, let districts set own rules in January

According to the state Department of Health, on Thursday York County had recorded 65,028 cases and 1,015 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

York County hospitals had 136 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Thursday, including 36 adult patients in the ICU and 28 patients on ventilators. 

Across all 67 counties, the state has seen 1,608,022 cases and 32,188 deaths. There have been more than 5.7 million negative COVID-19 tests throughout Pennsylvania, including 195,689 in York County.

More:More than 2,800 COVID-19 cases recorded at York County schools during school year

More:COVID-19 reporting varies widely among York County schools

No two school districts are tracking COVID-19 cases in the same way.

Five districts — Dallastown, Hanover, Northeastern, Southern and West Shore — are not posting their total cases for the school year. Instead, some of them are only publishing cases recorded during the previous 14 days, while others are only posting active cases. 

Among other districts, COVID-19 tracking varies. Some districts don't include cases that were contracted while the students or staff were off district property. Some combine probable and confirmed cases, while others keep the two separate. 

It's impossible to know the exact number of COVID-19 cases linked to every school district in the county. But The York Dispatch will continue to keep track of the number of cases in each district to the best of our knowledge.

You can keep track of your district's recorded cases for the 2021-2022 school year here. We will continue to update on a daily basis as numbers change.