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With holidays on the way, COVID-19 spreading more slowly for now

Times-Tribune - 11/24/2022

Nov. 23—In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, COVID-19 spread more slowly across Pennsylvania compared to recent weeks.

Only 11 of the state's 67 counties had high transmission rates, but three were in Northeast PennsylvaniaMonroe, Pike and Susquehanna. Monroe had a high rate a week ago; Pike and Susquehanna had substantial transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, the number of counties with high transmission dropped from 29. As the number of counties with high rates dropped, the number with substantial transmission increased to 49 from 36. The 49 included Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne and Wyoming. Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne had high transmission rates the previous weeks while Wyoming remained substantial. Another seven counties had moderate transmission, up from two.

High transmission is 100 new cases or more per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. Substantial transmission is 50 to 99.99 new cases per 100,000 residents; moderate, 10 to 49.99; and low, zero to 9.99, according to the CDC.

The lower transmission rates were reflected in better community levels. Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne and Wyoming had low community levels while Monroe and Susquehanna had medium levels.

Susquehanna had high levels last week. Lackawanna, Monroe and Wayne had medium levels; and Luzerne, Pike and Wyoming had low levels, according to the CDC.

Community levels take into account new case rates, but also new hospital admissions and available hospital bed usage by COVID-19 patients.

Typically, holidays, which bring together families and friends, mean COVID-19 spreads more rapidly.

The seven local counties saw 12 people die from COVID-19, up from seven. Statewide, another 145 people died, the 16th week in a row that at least 100 people died of COVID-19.

The state Department of Health has recorded 48,271 deaths statewide, and 3,485 regionally.

The department recorded another 10,052 new cases, only 1% more than a week earlier. That increased the total to 3,350,067. Another 793 cases in the local counties increased that total to 230,974. The cases do not include results from at-home testing.

In the last week:

Lackawanna added 156 cases for 55,316 total, including 11,957 probable, and remained at 858 deaths.

Luzerne added 308 cases for 89,450 total, including 9,619 probable. Six deaths raised the total to 1,519.

Monroe added 173 cases for 45,322 total, including 1,878 probable. One death raised the total to 568.

Pike added 43 cases for 12,549 total, including 1,649 probable, and remained at 108 deaths.

Susquehanna added 37 cases for 9,604 total, including 867 probable. One death raised the total to 122.

Wayne added 61 cases for 12,537 total, including 2,471 probable. Four deaths raised the total to 193.

Wyoming added 15 cases for 6,196 total, including 945 probable, and remained at 117 deaths.

According to the CDC, the percentages of all residents vaccinated against COVID-19 in local counties are:

Lackawanna, 84.3% one dose, 73.5% fully vaccinated; Luzerne, 76.8% one dose, 66.9% fully vaccinated; Monroe, 73.8% one dose, 62.6% fully vaccinated; Pike, 76.4% one dose, 62% fully vaccinated; Susquehanna, 59.3% one dose, 50.6% fully vaccinated; Wayne, 75.6% one dose, 64.6% fully vaccinated; and Wyoming, 72.9% one dose, 63% fully vaccinated.

Statewide, 89.4% of residents are vaccinated with at least one dose and 72.3% are fully vaccinated.

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