As COVID emergency nears end, cases remain steady in York County

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York County's COVID infection rate remains steady as the United States nears the end of its pandemic emergency designation.

The county added 195 cases and two deaths in its latest report to the state Department of Health, bringing its totals to 148,518 and 1,674, respectively.

Hospitalizations continue to remain low. Just 14 people were hospitalized this week for COVID with only one in the ICU and none on a ventilator. According to Dr. John Goldman, UPMC infectious disease specialist, across the hospital system's seven hospitals in the region, only one of the 20 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has been vaccinated.

"Influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations protect us from severe disease, hospitalization and death," Goldman said. "As spring continues, we still recommend wearing masks in high-risk settings or if you yourself are at higher risk.”

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Elsewhere in the world, the World Health Organization recently revised its recommendations for vaccines in order to prioritize the vaccine for those at higher risk.

As first reported by CNN, the organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) is recommending that healthy children from 6 months to 17 years old should consider vaccinating based on disease burden and cost-effectiveness.

“The public health impact of vaccinating healthy children and adolescents is comparatively much lower than the established benefits of traditional essential vaccines for children – such as the rotavirus, measles, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines,” SAGE said in a news release.

Those at higher risk, such as older people, immunocompromised people of all ages, front-line health workers and pregnant people six or 12 months after their last booster dose should receive additional booster doses, SAGE recommends.

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Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate voted, 68-23, on March 29 to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration. The measure now heads to President Joe Biden's desk after the House of Representatives voted to approve earlier in March.

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As reported by CNN, a White House official told the news network that while the President "strongly opposes" the bill, he will sign it if it comes to his desk, "“and the administration will continue working with agencies to wind down the national emergency with as much notice as possible to Americans who could potentially be impacted.”

The White House has planned for the emergency declaration, first put into place by former President Donald Trump in March 2020, to expire on May 11 of this year.

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