PolicyLab's projections (dashed line) for Lancaster County as of Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (Source: PolicyLab)
PolicyLab's projections (dashed line) for Lancaster County as of Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (Source: PolicyLab)

The Covid-19 case data in Lancaster County and Pennsylvania continues to trend downward, according to the latest update to the state's Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard.

Lancaster County's test positivity rate dipped below 10% last week for the first time since mid-November. The county's incidence rate dropped to 241.7 new cases per 100,000, after rising as high as 448 cases per 100,000 in mid December.

Pennsylvania's test positivity and case incidence rates are 8.6% and 157.8 per 100,000, respectively.

For the first time since the fall, three counties — Elk, Union and Warren — reported test positivity rates below 5%, the threshold targeted by health experts.

The state now has eight counties below the "substantial" level of community transmission: Cameron (low) and Armstrong, Bedford, Cambria, Elk, Indiana, Westmoreland and Wyoming (medium).

This screenshot shows Lancaster County's Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard data as of Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. (Source: Health.pa.gov)
This screenshot shows Lancaster County's Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard data as of Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. (Source: Health.pa.gov)

Nationwide, the data strongly suggests the U.S. is moving past its winter surge, the research center PolicyLab said.

"This is good news, but is not a license to let down our guard," the organization said. "The looming potential of more transmissible variants threatens to revert our progress. Regardless of how these variants evolve in the U.S., the best way to avoid another resurgence is to continue to eliminate opportunity for transmission."

Speeding up vaccination and reducing reluctance to get vaccinated should be "first and foremost," PolicyLab said.

On Tuesday, Lancaster County commissioners will discuss plans to open a community mass-vaccination center in partnership with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and other providers. The site would be able to administer 5,000 doses per day.

LG Health's draft proposal for the project calls for opening the site — whose location has not yet been disclosed — on a limited basis the week of March 8, graduating to full operations from March 14 through the end of June. The opening is contingent on the state being able to ensure sufficient vaccine supplies.

PolicyLab and other public-health experts have stressed the need for ongoing mitigation efforts, including masks and social distancing, while vaccination proceeds.

Tim Stuhldreher