COVID cases approach 3 million milestone in Pennsylvania

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York County reported a modest increase in COVID-19 cases this week as Pennsylvania nears a major milestone — 3 million cases since the start of the pandemic.

The county saw 466 new cases Wednesday, bringing its new total to 124,886, according to state Department of Health data. No additional deaths were reported, with the county's total sitting at 1,520.

However, Pennsylvania continues to move toward the 3 million mark for total COVID cases. The state added 12,326 cases and 77 deaths over the past week, bringing its totals to 2,987,357 and 45,657, respectively.

Currently, York County has reported a daily average of about 95 cases, down slightly from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times analysis of health data.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health advised providers to prepare to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to children 6 months and older following federal approval.

“The approval of the vaccines for young children across the state and the nation is welcome news for many parents who have been waiting for the opportunity to provide valuable protection for their children from COVID-19,” acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said in a written statement Thursday.

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Parents could schedule appointments for children 5 and younger as of Tuesday. Pharmacists are only allowed to provide COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 3 and older, so parents seeking appointments for younger children should contact their pediatrician or family doctor or another qualified physician.

Pfizer's vaccine requires three doses available for children 6 months through 5 years, with the second dose three weeks after the first and the third shot eight weeks after the second. Moderna's vaccine requires two doses for children 6 months through 5 years, with the second shot administered 28 days after the first.

Dr. Beth Ebel, professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, told The Associated Press that the tot-sized vaccines would be especially welcomed by parents with children in daycare, where outbreaks can sideline parents from jobs and add to financial strain.

“A lot of people are going to be happy and a lot of grandparents are going to be happy, too, because we’ve missed those babies who grew up when you weren’t able to see them,” Ebel said.

In York County, both WellSpan and UPMC are now offering vaccine appointments for children 6 months and older.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.