An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


By the numbers: Covid-19 numbers rise with cold weather’s return, but stay well short of 2021-22

Not unexpectedly, hospitalizations, deaths and new cases of COVID-19 increased in December, but their rise was nothing like the soaring increases of last year’s pandemic winter.

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Eighteen county residents died of COVID last month, the highest number in the past 10 months, according to the Lancaster County coroner’s office. But that number was small compared to the 133 who died in December a year ago or the 160 who succumbed in January 2022, the peak of the last surge.

Similarly, an average of 44 county residents were hospitalized daily with COVID during December, the state Health Department reported. That was above the average of 31 daily cases throughout the previous ten months, a sustained low rate of cases following the past winter’s surge. But it was less than a quarter of the 209 average daily hospitalizations at the start of last year.

Five of the deaths here occurred at county nursing homes, three at Ephrata Manor and two at the Mennonite Home, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That was the same number of nursing home deaths as in November.

Cases of COVID illness among nursing home residents rose from 110 in November to 149 in December. The peak, in January 2022, was 316 cases. Among nursing home staff, there also were 149 cases in December, an increase from 127 in November but far below the 732 cases of January 2022.

The total number of reported COVID cases rose from a daily average of 67 in November to 115 in December. That is the highest number since February (168) but well below the peak of 801 reported in January a year ago.

County personal care homes reported no deaths, 23 resident cases and 15 staff cases. There was only one COVID death at personal care homes throughout 2022, a remarkable record., a website with comprehensive COVID statistics for all counties in the U.S., rates the risk of COVID here as low. That website is updated daily and can be a primary source for those wanting to check on the risk here or any place they may be traveling.

The attached chart shows complete hospital case and fatality numbers for the county in December.

This report was compiled by Erica Runkles, Dr. Mary Glazier, Penn Glazier, and Ernie Schreiber using records from the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office, the state Health Department, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.