COVID-19 case counts rise in York County alongside increasing demand for hospital beds

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

COVID-19 rates are continuing to surge across York County and in local schools, and hospitalizations are also rising in line with the trend. 

In all, the county has seen 71,342 COVID-19 cases and 1,075 deaths since the start of the pandemic. That includes 446 new cases and one new death since Wednesday.

That's nearly double the daily case count for the county, which typically sees between 200-250 new cases per day. 

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 the omicron variant — deemed "highly transmissible" by the World Health Organization — has raised alarm that the already anticipated winter surge could be further compounded nationwide. 

According to state Department of Health data, York County had 163 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Thursday, including 38 adult patients in the ICU and 29 patients on ventilators. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations have been steadily rising across York County, with at least 20 new patients admitted since last week. The demand is high enough that WellSpan Health spokesman Ryan Coyle said that all WellSpan locations are currently delaying nonemergency care

Across all 67 counties, the state has seen 1,753,669 cases and 33,649 deaths. There have been more than 5.9 million negative COVID-19 tests throughout Pennsylvania, including 198,664 in York County.

This is all happening as the U.S. logs its first omicron case. Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed yesterday that the U.S. has recorded its first case of the variant from a traveler who returned to the U.S. from South Africa Nov. 22. 

The Biden administration moved late last month to restrict travel from southern Africa where the variant was first identified and had been widespread. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other nations.

“We knew that it was just a matter of time before the first case of omicron would be detected in the United States,” Fauci said.

More:Gov. Tom Wolf's mask mandate must expire Dec. 4, judge rules amid school debate

More:York County districts pass last year's COVID-19 total less than halfway through school year

Public schools in York County reached at least 3,465 cases on Thursday, including 66 new cases recorded over the last 24 hours. This marks the second day in a row that daily COVID-19 cases have spiked over the average, following multiple days of low daily cases after Thanksgiving break. 

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.

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.

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.