Thirteen COVID-19 deaths reported across York County as new cases wane

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

New COVID-19 hospitalizations are waning in York County, but deaths have yet to follow the same trajectory.

On Thursday, the county logged 13 new deaths, not far from the record of 16 reported in a single day last month. A subtlety in reporting: Since deaths aren't always recorded on the day they occur, the largest single-day toll is actually 14.

Of course, none of this is unexpected, as Dr. Eugene Curley, an infectious disease physician with WellSpan Health, explained. He expects the county's death rate to drop within a few weeks if the current trends hold. 

The county recorded 342 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, according to the state Department of Health. Since the pandemic began, the county's seen 114,429 cases and 1,388 deaths.

Hospitalizations are steadily declining across York County. According to the state Department of Health, county hospitals had a  total of 134 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, down 18 from Wednesday. Of those patients, 28 adults were in the ICU, and 24 were on ventilators.

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As of Wednesday, WellSpan Health had 330 COVID-19 patients across all facilities, while York Hospital had 130 of those patients. The health system has seen COVID-19 hospitalizations drop dramatically over the last two weeks after peaking at more than 500 patients in mid-January.

Only about 54% of York County residents are fully vaccinated, according to the state. That figure is 75% statewide.

Children under 5 are still not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but that could change as early as March. According to an Associated Press report, Pfizer asked the U.S. this week to authorize extra-low doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5.

Many parents have been pushing for an expansion of shots to toddlers and preschoolers, especially as the omicron variant sent record numbers of children to the hospital.

“I would say the parents in my office are desperate” to get young kids vaccinated, said Dr. Dyan Hes, who runs a pediatrics practice in New York City, where vaccination rates are high. For many, “that’s the first thing they ask when they walk through the door: ‘When do you think the shot is going to come out?’”

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York County has the second-highest daily cases per capita among its neighboring counties, at 97 daily cases per 100,000 people, according to The New York Times. Adams County is slightly higher at 98 daily cases per capita. 

However, York County is seeing a decreasing rate of new cases, at a level slightly above its immediate neighbors.

  • York County: 62% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Lancaster County: 58% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Adams County: 51% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Cumberland County: 50% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Dauphin County: 58% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • Philadelphia: 68% decrease in cases over the last 14 days
  • New York City: 81% decrease in cases over the last 14 days

Across Pennsylvania, the state has recorded 2,681,719 total COVID-19 cases and 41,199 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the state Department of Health. 

Schools:  York County's 16 public school districts surpassed 9,000 total cases recorded this school year, adding 85 new cases Thursday. The exact case total stands at 9,057. 

New cases have taken a notable dip this week, returning to levels similar to what schools were seeing before winter break. It's worth mentioning, however, that even during the fall semester, local schools were seeing higher infections than they were last school year. 

Schools have already more than tripled the total number of cases recorded throughout all of the previous school year. With the potential for new variants on the horizon, it is impossible to say how many cases York County schools will log by the end of the school year.

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.