Pa. coronavirus updates: Statewide surge continues with 963 new cases, but Lehigh Valley seems exempt so far –

A statewide surge in coronavirus cases and positive test rates continued on Saturday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 963 new cases and 18 more deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 138,625 with an overall death toll of 7,760 people.

(Can’t see the map? Click here.)

The seven-day average of daily new cases has now risen for nine straight days to the highest rate since early August. And the seven-day positivity rate – the percentage of positive tests per individuals tested over a week – has reached 6.4%, a level not seen since early June.

Rates of hospitalizations and deaths, however, have not yet shown any significant rise. And the Lehigh Valley has so far been exempt from rising case counts seen in other areas.

Your Pennsylvania coronavirus updates for Sept. 5, 2020.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

Coronavirus in Pa.

September has started with a sharp rise in Pennsylvania coronavirus cases, including the first 1,000-case day in more than a month.

Philadelphia had the most new cases Saturday, with 124. Four more counties had more than 50 new cases each: Allegheny, York, Montgomery and Chester.

With Saturday’s health department report, the state averaged 827 new cases a day over the last seven days, compared with 650 a week ago. The case rate hasn’t been above 815 since Aug. 3.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

However, case reports typically drop off over the weekend, particularly on Sundays and Mondays. That’s what ended the state’s last streak 800-plus case rates, which was four days in mid-August. The current streak is at three days.

MORE: What does it all mean? COVID-19 tracking data interpreted with interactive charts

The number of COVID-19 tests being conducted hasn’t changed much, but a greater share of people getting tested are positive for the virus. As of Saturday, 6.4% of individuals tested were positive, compared to 4.6% a week ago. The World Health Organization has said a rate of 5% or less is recommended for reopenings.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

(A note on positivity: The 6.4% is based on individuals tested, a method used by Johns Hopkins University. The Pennsylvania Health Department gives a positivity rate of 4%, as of Friday, because it uses an alternate calculation that considers all tests conducted, including people tested multiple times, which results in a lower rate.)

A rise in cases may eventually result in more hospitalizations or deaths, but that has so far not materialized. Both rates have remained fairly steady, even showing slight decreases.

The health department estimates 81% of Pennsylvania’s coronavirus patients have recovered.

Coronavirus in the Lehigh Valley

The seven-day case rate has climbed somewhat in Lehigh County over the last week – 13 cases a day on average as of Saturday, versus nine a day this time last week. But Northampton County’s rate remains low, in the single digits.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

There were 34 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday in the Lehigh Valley – and no new deaths – bringing the total case count to 9,424 with a death toll of 646 people. That breaks down to:

  • 23 new cases in Lehigh County, where 5,272 total cases and 345 deaths have been reported.
  • 11 new cases in Northampton County, where 4,152 total cases and 301 deaths have been reported.

And here is how adjacent Pennsylvania counties compared on Saturday:

  • Berks County had 47 new cases and one new death. A total of 6,261 cases and 383 deaths have been reported.
  • Bucks County had 42 new cases and no deaths. A total of 8,003 cases and 589 deaths have been reported.
  • Carbon County had two new cases and no deaths. A total of 429 cases and 28 deaths have been reported.
  • Monroe County had four new cases and no deaths. A total of 1,735 cases and 129 deaths have been reported.
  • Montgomery County had 63 new cases and no deaths. A total of 11,300 cases and 863 deaths have been reported.
  • Schuylkill County had 10 new cases and no deaths. A total of 1,007 cases and 51 deaths have been reported.

(Can’t see the table? Click here.)

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Steve Novak may be reached at [email protected].

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Pa. coronavirus updates: Statewide surge continues with 963 new cases, but Lehigh Valley seems exempt so far –

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