Four new COVID-19 deaths reported in York County as experts fear winter surge

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

York County reported four additional deaths Tuesday amid a winter surge and growing concern over the omicron variant.

In all, the county has seen 70,599 COVID-19 cases and 1,070 deaths since the start of the pandemic. That includes 227 new cases since Monday. 

According to state Department of Health data, York County had 154 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, including 37 adult patients in the ICU and 26 patients on ventilators. 

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Across all 67 counties, the state has seen 1,736,920 cases and 33,421 deaths. There have been more than 5.9 million negative COVID-19 tests throughout Pennsylvania, including 198,441 in York County.

York City Medical Director Dr. Matthew Howie has said the region will see more of the impact from holiday gatherings over the next two to three weeks. The emergence of a new COVID-19 variant — deemed "highly transmissible" by the World Health Organization — has raised alarm that the already anticipated winter surge could be further compounded nationwide. 

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Gov. Tom Wolf, however, said there is no cause for panic, noting that no cases of the omicron variant have been discovered in the United States.

“In Pennsylvania and around the country, the vaccine is still our strategy, so get your shot,” Wolf said on a regularly scheduled appearance on KDKA-AM radio in Pittsburgh. “Get your vaccine. That’s our strategy, and it seems to be working.”

Public schools in York County have officially passed 3,300 cases recorded during this school year, reaching at least 3,306 cases on Tuesday, including 26 new cases recorded over the last 24 hours. It is unclear how the Thanksgiving break will impact the rate of spread going forward. 

York County schools have already topped the previous school year's total case count and at this rate will more than double last year's total by the summer. In the 2020-21 school year, county schools recorded about 2,800 cases.

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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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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.