The Lead

More than half of Pa. counties seeing substantial, high rates of community spread of COVID-19

By: - August 11, 2021 4:43 pm

After a second dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, a swarm of antibodies attacks the virus. (Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty Images)

Thirty-six of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have reached rates of substantial or high community spread of COVID-19, according to updated Department of Health data released Wednesday.

COVID-19 case counts have been climbing steadily in the commonwealth since late July, following national trends. 

As of Monday, the U.S. recorded 92,631 new cases of the virus with a seven-day moving average of more than 110,000 cases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 

Currently, Pennsylvania is one of 10 states listed in the “substantial” rate of community transmission level by the CDC. 

Department of Health map showing Pennsylvania COVID-19 transmission rates (Capital-Star screen capture).

Nineteen Pennsylvania counties have reached “high” spread, meaning more than 10,500 cases of COVID-19 have been reported per-100,000 people. 

Those counties include: Berks, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Fayette, Forest, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Somerset, Union and York counties. 

Seventeen more counties have reached “substantial” spread, meaning they have between 9,500 and 10,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Those counties include: Adams, Beaver, Bedford, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Carbon, Clinton, Dauphin, Elk, Franklin, Fulton, Lancaster, Luzerne, McKean, Philadelphia and Westmoreland counties.

The increase in COVID-19 cases counts comes as the Delta variant, a strain of COVID-19 that is nearly twice as contagious as previous strains, has become the predominant strain of the virus in the United States, according to CDC data. 

To slow the spread of the virus and reduce the rate of transmission, the CDC recommends that those who are not yet vaccinated get a vaccine and wear a mask and practice social distancing when interacting with people outside of their household. 

As of Wednesday, 27,925 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. 

Maggi Barton, a spokesperson for the state Department of Health, confirmed Wednesday that there are no plans to re-impose statewide mitigation measures, despite the rising case count. We cannot stress the importance of eligible Pennsylvanians getting vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Barton told the Capital-Star. “The administration continues to encourage all eligible individuals to get fully vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.