PolicyLab's latest projection for Lancaster County Covid-19 case rates (dotted line), released Wednesday, April 28, 2021, predicts a decline over the next several weeks. (Source: PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)
PolicyLab's latest projection for Lancaster County Covid-19 case rates (dotted line), released Wednesday, April 28, 2021, predicts a decline over the next several weeks. (Source: PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

Lancaster County appears to be past the peak of the coronavirus spring surge, according to the latest state data — but unless something changes, it may be past peak vaccination as well.

The county's 7-day case load dropped by nearly 20%, from 995 to 802, according to the Covid-19 Early Warning Monitoring System dashboard.

Test positivity rates and average daily hospitalization rates are both down, too, from 8.6% to 7.7% and from 98.1 to 77.0.

While these trends are encouraging, the county remains firmly in the "substantial" category of Covid-19 transmission, at 147 cases per 100,000 population. The test positivity rate, too, remains above the 5% benchmark that is considered acceptable.

Statewide, Pennsylvania's 7-day Covid-19 case count declined 18.5%, from 21,823 to 17,774 and test positivity declined from 8.6% to 7.6%.

Click to enlarge. (Source: Pa. Dept. of Health)

Meanwhile, vaccination appears to be on a steady downward trend. Average weekday first-dose vaccinations in the county, as tracked by Pennsylvania's vaccination dashboard, dropped by more than 20% last week from the week before. Preliminary data from Monday through Wednesday indicates it has dropped further, and is now averaging less than half the rate in mid-April.

This week, the community vaccination center at Park City sharply reduced its order of first doses from the state, because it had so many left over from last week. Amid reports that the site may close early, its director, Dr. Michael Ripchinski of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, said officials and staff are making every effort to boost vaccination and make it as convenient as possible.

As of Friday, Lancaster County had provided 68,382 partial vaccinations and had completed 152,644, for a total of 221,026 individuals partly or fully vaccinated. That's equal to 40.5% of the county's total population and 51.2% of the population age 16 and older eligible for vaccination.

Tim Stuhldreher