York County schools see upward trend in COVID-19 spread following Thanksgiving break

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

New daily COVID-19 cases were above average for the fourth day in a row for York County's public schools, in line with an anticipated trend of higher spread during colder months. 

Public schools in York County reached at least 3,613 cases on Friday, including 90 new cases recorded over the weekend. Following a dip in new cases over Thanksgiving break, schools have recorded more than 300 cases since Wednesday of last week. 

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.

York City Medical Director Dr. Matthew Howie has said the region will see more of the impact from holiday gatherings over the next few 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. 

Pennsylvania just logged its first omicron case last week. A Philadelphia man in his 30s was diagnosed with the new variant on Friday.

York County has seen 72,719 COVID-19 cases and 1,088 deaths since the start of the pandemic. That included 271 new cases and two new deaths recorded Monday.

Across all 67 counties, the state has seen 1,783,118 cases and 33,962 deaths. There have been more than 5.9 million negative COVID-19 tests throughout Pennsylvania, including 199,085 in York County.

According to state Department of Health data, York County had 166 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Sunday, including 40 adult patients in the ICU and 35 patients on ventilators. 

The demand is high enough that WellSpan Health spokesman Ryan Coyle said that all WellSpan locations are currently delaying nonemergency care

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

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.