York City Schools make masking recommended, not required

York County reports seven COVID-19 deaths as omicron surge wanes

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

Despite seven additional COVID-19 deaths reported in York County on Tuesday, there are signs the omicron wave has passed its peak.

The county recorded 489 new cases and seven new deaths on Tuesday, according to the state Department of Health. That brings the pandemic totals to 110,891 cases and 1,334 deaths. 

The dropping case rates have some experts hoping the pandemic could end this year — if some key targets are met: namely, more widespread vaccination. The World Health Organization put the benchmark at 70% of the global population.

READ MORE: What we know about the new COVID-19 variant BA.2 spreading in the U.S.

“This pandemic, like all other pandemics before it, will end, but it is far too early to relax,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said in a Washington Post report.

Only about 53% of York County residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health. That figure is 75% statewide.

Hospitalizations in York County have also begun to drop. According to the state Department of Health, county hospitals had a total of 209 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday, dropping dramatically by 34 patients since Monday. Of those patients, 39 adults were in the ICU, and 33 were on ventilators.

WellSpan York Hospital had 168 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Monday. The WellSpan Health system had 399 COVID-19 patients across all facilities, continuing its trend of declining COVID-19 hospitalization rates since peaking at over 500 earlier this month. 

York County has the highest daily cases per capita among its four neighboring counties, at 162 daily cases per 100,000 people, according to The New York Times. However, the county is finally seeing a decreasing rate of new cases, at a level on par with its immediate neighbors.

  • York County: 37% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Lancaster County: 47% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Adams County: 35% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Cumberland County: 12% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Dauphin County: 42% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Philadelphia: 58% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • New York City: 73% decrease in cases over the last 14 days

Across Pennsylvania, the COVID totals increased to 2,592,691 cases and 39,749 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the state Department of Health.

READ MORE: It's time to supply everyone with free N95 masks — and for us to use them, too

More:COVID-19 surge spurs differing hospitalization rates among children

More:WellSpan, York City Police to dedicate four officers to York Hospital, other facilities

Schools: Meanwhile, York County's 16 public school districts surpassed 8,000 COVID-19 cases recorded this school year. There were 237 new cases added Tuesday, bringing the school-year total to 8,211.

New cases for schools remain at a steady pace, albeit a much higher one than schools saw in 2021. Until December, the daily average for new cases in local schools hovered around 50, but since Jan. 3, the average is just under 200. 

York County schools have already nearly tripled the total number of COVID-19 cases that were reported throughout all of the previous school year. At this rate, schools will easily surpass 10,000 cases before summer break. 

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.