Seven new COVID-19 deaths reported in York County amid growing outbreak

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch

COVID-19 spread continues to increase throughout Pennsylvania amid growing concern over the omicron variant. 

In all, York County has seen 72,448 COVID-19 cases and 1,086 deaths since the start of the pandemic. That includes 831 new cases and seven new deaths since Thursday.

Across all 67 counties, the state has seen 1,464,635 cases and 33,902 deaths. There have been more than 5.9 million negative COVID-19 tests throughout Pennsylvania, including 198,983 in York County.

More:First confirmed omicron case reported in Pennsylvania

More:Conditions inside York County Prison likely contributed to COVID outbreak, inmate says

More:WellSpan delays nonemergency procedures amid spiking COVID-19 cases

According to state Department of Health data, York County had 163 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Sunday, including 39 adult patients in the ICU and 32 patients on ventilators. 

The demand is high enough that WellSpan Health spokesman Ryan Coyle said that all WellSpan locations are currently delaying nonemergency care. On Friday, WellSpan York Hospital alone reported 122 acute inpatient cases of COVID-19.

This is all happening as Pennsylvania logs its first omicron case. A Philadelphia man in his 30s was diagnosed with the new variant on Friday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed Wednesday 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. Clusters of cases have also been identified in about two dozen other nations.

The good news is, World Health Organization officials said mitigation efforts used against the delta variant, such as vaccinations, social distancing and wearing masks, should work against the omicron variant. Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said imposing travel restrictions may also buy time. 

"We cannot be complacent," Kasai said in an Associated Press report. 

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 3,523 cases on Friday, including 58 new cases recorded over the previous 24 hours. This marks the third day in a row that daily COVID-19 cases have risen 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.