In York County, mild COVID-19 numbers continue even as more are in the ICU

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

As the spring continues and the U.S. comes ever closer to ending the COVID-19 pandemic's emergency declaration, York County continues to report relatively mild numbers of COVID.

The county on Wednesday reported 237 cases and one death over the previous week to state authorities, bringing its pandemic totals to 148,323 and 1,672, respectively.

Hospitalizations also remained steady, with 24 hospitalized across the county. However, the number of patients in the ICU increased from three to eight over the past week, while one was on a ventilator.

Health experts have said that the severity of COVID has decreased from the height of the pandemic, but they are still encouraging people to get the vaccine and the latest booster.

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Meanwhile, as the federal government is set to end the COVID-19 public health emergency, WellSpan Health says they're preparing.

"WellSpan is encouraging our federal and state government partners to take this opportunity to make many of the (public health emergency) regulatory flexibilities permanent, such as expanded use of telehealth, workforce flexibilities and Hospital at Home programs, that enabled us to deliver care more effectively and efficiently," spokesperson Ryan Coyle said.

In other COVID news, a U.S. appeals court has blocked President Joe Biden's order that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID.

As reported by NBC News, in its ruling the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected arguments that Biden, as the nation's chief executive, has similar powers to a CEO of a private organization to require that employees be vaccinated. The ruling reverses an earlier ruling from a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that had upheld the vaccination requirement.

And Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel did not commit to reversing plans to increase the price of the Moderna vaccine to $130 during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday.

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As reported by CNN, Barcel testified that the company plans are adjusting to decreased demand and that the $130 price tag is because those vaccines are made for the commercial market. Up to this point, the shots had been made to be sold to the government in 10-dose vials; the $130 would be for single doses.

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“The volume we had during the pandemic gave us economies of scale that we won’t have anymore. That is what is different,” Bancel said.

That drew the ire of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who noted that the federal government and taxpayers had spent billions to assist in the development of the vaccine.

“And here is the thank you that the taxpayers of this country received from Moderna for that huge investment: They are thanking the taxpayers of the United States by proposing to quadruple the price of the COVID vaccine to as much as $130 once the government stockpile runs out — at a time when it costs less than $3 to manufacture the vaccine,” Sanders said.

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