York County reports eight COVID-19 deaths even as omicron subsides
York County reported nearly 400 new COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths over the weekend, even as it was deemed a "low risk" area by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Communities can be considered low, medium or high risk. In York County's case, that means residents should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and get tested if they report symptoms, but most healthy people can now dispense with their masks.
As of Monday, York County had reported 117,826 total cases — a combined total of 98,619 confirmed cases and 19,207 probable cases — and 1,448 deaths over the course of the pandemic.
All of this comes as the rate of new COVID-19 cases in York County schools — as in the rest of the region — is lower than it has ever been, with nine cases recorded across 16 districts on Friday.
Local schools added 74 cases last week — the first time this school year that weekly cases fell below 100. It is also less than half of the previous week's total, which broke the previous record for lowest cases recorded in one week.
The drop-off is a stark contrast to just a few weeks ago, when cases in schools were higher than they had ever been because of the omicron variant. During its peak, local schools recorded more than 400 cases in a single day, and nearly 1,300 cases in the same week.
Many schools have already relaxed their masking requirements. York City, meanwhile, will reopen City Hall on Tuesday with its first in-person council meeting since December to be held that night.
In York County hospitals, 48 patients total were reported as being hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, with 11 patients in the ICU and 11 on ventilators.
The CDC on Friday announced a change to the metrics it uses to determine whether to recommend face coverings, shifting from looking at COVID-19 case counts to a more holistic view of risk from the coronavirus to a community. Under the old guidelines, masks were recommended for people residing in communities of substantial or high transmission — roughly 95% of U.S. counties, according to the latest data.
The new metrics still consider caseloads, but also take into account hospitalizations and local hospital capacity. Under the new guidelines, the vast majority of Americans live in areas where indoor masking in public is no longer recommended, based on current data.
Staff reporter Erin Bamer contributed to this report.