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Two new COVID-19 deaths reported in York County amid latest surge

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Dr. Sarah Ramirez, a clinician with Penn State Health, addresses a crowd on Monday, May 3, 2021. Ramirez is working at the mobile vaccination clinic at the York County Food Bank. Tina Locurto photo.

Two new deaths and 174 new cases of COVID-19 were reported for York County on Wednesday — and the county's COVID-19 hospitalization rate keeps climbing.

The hospitalization rate is the highest it's been since late May and the number of new cases is the highest since mid-April as a surge in cases attributed to the delta variant continues.

As of Wednesday, the county's hospitals saw a rolling average of 55.5 hospitalizations over the past 14 days, according to state Health Department data. That's more than double what it had been in the previous 14-day period.

At facilities such as WellSpan York Hospital, hospitalizations had been declining since mid-April, but they began to ramp up in late July.

As of Wednesday, there were 68 individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19 across all hospitals in York County, according to state data.

More:COVID surge worsens as ICU bed availability dwindles in York County

Dr. Matt Howie, director of the York City Health Bureau, said the hospitalization increase isn't surprising given that case rates are climbing.

“With those kinds of increases, it’s a bit of a percentage game," Howie said. "There’s a percentage of individuals that will require a higher level of care due to the severity of illness.”

Ryan Coyle, a spokesperson for WellSpan, said the health care provider is monitoring the number of available beds and can prepare for and accommodate a surge.

"WellSpan has plans in place to accommodate an increasing number of patients and those are activated as needed, such as expanding COVID-19 units and staffing at our hospitals when needed," Coyle said via email.

Coyle added that he urges people to get vaccinated to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and increase immunity to the disease.

While the increase in hospitalizations can partially be attributed to a lack of vaccinations and the delta variant, other factors are also contributing, according to WellSpan officials. 

"Businesses, local government and the general public continue to be divided on the issues of vaccination and masking instead of taking a unified stand," said Dr. Eugene Curley, a WellSpan infectious disease physician. "The choice of a single individual affects everyone around them. If we fight together, we can end the pandemic.”

Although York County hospitals haven't reached capacity, the number of intensive care unit beds is dwindling, according to state Health Department data.

The increase in hospitalizations mirrors an increase in case rates in York County.

"Overall, numbers are going in the wrong direction," Howie said.

Reporter Logan Hullinger contributed to this report.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.