As we reported two weeks ago, the winter surge of COVID-19 is deflating, approaching its end in Lancaster County. Similar trends now are being reported across the state, nation and world.
In this county, two of three measures are strongly positive:
• Over the past week, new cases have plummeted from 309 to 104, the lowest number since Nov. 9 (90).
The daily average of new cases so far this month has been 211, well below January (307), December (365) and November (228).
• Daily hospitalizations fell to 57 on Wednesday, about 35% below the winter surge peak of 155 in early December. The average daily number of COVID-19 patients so far in February is 80, the same as in early November, when the winter surge was just beginning.
Only deaths have yet to fall significantly. They are trending downward — but slowly.
There have been three to four deaths per day in February. That’s better than the four to five in January and the six to seven daily deaths in December. But it’s still high in comparison to the two per day in November and the one per day, or less, in the five months from June through October.
Previously a decline in deaths followed a decline in hospitalizations. Past trends suggest that the mortality rate will fall further in the next couple weeks.
While COVID-19 illness trends continue to fall, the spread of COVID-19 still remains relatively high. The average 211 daily cases here this month are more than triple the 61 daily average in October, when the winter surge began.
To speak plainly, the surge is ending, but it is not gone.
This post is one in a series of reports on the pandemic in Lancaster County prepared by sociologist Dr. Mary Glazier, researcher Erica Runkles and journalist Ernest Schreiber. Full data sets on daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as nursing and personal care home data, are available here.