Grim milestone: COVID-19 deaths in York County reach 100

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

York County's COVID-19 death toll hit 100 as of noon Thursday, a grim milestone that followed the nation's deadliest day of this summer's outbreak.

The  three additional deaths in York County came with 71  new cases of COVID-19, bringing the local total to 2,751 since the pandemic began. It was the second time in the past week there was a 71-case increase, a number that marked the second-highest jump on record.

The county has continued to see steady increases in both cases and deaths and is considered at "moderate" risk by the state, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Thursday.

"There is no specific outbreak in York that is responsible (for the increase)," Levine said. "It would be particularly community spread."

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Thursday's local figures came one day after 1,500 Americans died because of the disease, according to The Washington Post, the highest single-day increase in deaths on record. 

Pennsylvania's death toll climbed Thursday to 7,409, an increase of 24 from the day prior.

There were 911 new cases reported in the state on Thursday, pushing the total to 122,121. About 78% of those positive patients have recovered, state officials said.

Despite the recent jumps, trends show that the overall rate of infection appears to have slowed in the state, The Associated Press reported.

Citing the COVID Tracking Project, the percentage of positive tests over a  seven-day span dropped from 6% in late July to 5%. The seven-day average was also about 800 new cases daily, down from nearly 975 in late July.

However, the average daily deaths linked to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania have increased this week to 18 per day, a figure that followed a downward trend that dropped to as low as 12 daily deaths in late July and early August.

"We need to work together, all of us, to defeat this virus," Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday. "That's the enemy. The virus is out to get us all."

Throughout the pandemic, though, Wolf's administration has provided few details about outbreaks that could attribute to spikes in numbers.

For example, back in April, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich said the city's Latino population was experiencing an outbreak originating at a company outside of city limits.

But Helfrich declined to comment further, and the state refused to identify at what business the outbreak occurred.

On Thursday, Levine, citing confidentiality issues, doubled down on the administration's practices that stem from a 1955 law created to deal with syphilis.

"I know there has been some criticism of the Disease Control Act in terms of that, but we still value privacy in terms of people's lives and medical conditions," Levine said.

The age breakdown of those who have tested positive in Pennsylvania are as follows: according to the health department:

  • 1% are ages 0-4
  • 1% are ages 5-12
  • Nearly 4% are ages 13-18
  • Nearly 10% are ages 19-24
  • Nearly 38% are ages 25-49
  • Nearly 23% are ages 50-64
  • Nearly 24% are ages 65 or older

As of Thursday morning, there were 20.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with 750,000 deaths linked to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

About 5.2 million cases had been confirmed in the U.S. — with cases spiking in some states, particularly across the Sun Belt and in the West — with the death toll hitting 166,000.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.