Pa. weekly COVID replace: Instances nonetheless climbing, however at slower fee; hospitalizations, deaths steady


Even as Pennsylvania is going through a surge of COVID cases due to BA.2 or “Stealth Omicron,” the rate at which cases are increasing is already slowing.

The 7-day rolling case average, which currently stands at 1,844 cases per day, is the best metric for tracking current case movement, but to get a bigger picture you can also look at the average change over time. And if you look at the last two weeks, it’s obvious that while Pennsylvania’s case numbers are certainly increasing, they’re about half the rate they were just two weeks ago.

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In early April, the state saw a renewed surge in case counts after coming a long way from winter surge highs. Two weeks later, the seven-day moving average had increased by over 100%, from an average of 540 cases per day on April 3 to an average of 1,162 cases per day on April 16.

From April 16th to now, the average is up about 60%. This is measurably different from the Delta variant-induced surge in late summer 2021, when Pennsylvania’s two-week case rate change spent well over a month near or above a 100% surge.

Again, cases are certainly still increasing as Pennsylvania sees a small spike, but it’s not happening nearly as fast as it has in the past.

Currently, the state’s total cases stand at 2,817,766 COVID-19 cases and continues its slow march towards 3 million. Pennsylvania also ended the week with three straight days with over 2,000 new cases.

The Lehigh Valley is experiencing a similar trend as the rest of the state. After hitting seven-day averages of just 13 in Northampton County and 12 in Lehigh County this month, their averages are up to 68 cases per day and 59 cases per day, respectively. The region as a whole has amassed a total of 171,007 cases of COVID-19.

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Hospitalizations have certainly increased with cases, but at a much lower intensity. In the first half of April, the number of patients with COVID-19 in Pennsylvania hospitals hovered around 400. Since April 14, the total has increased from 451 to 621, an increase of 170. That’s an increase of just over 37% in two weeks.

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Given the typical relationship between case trends and hospital trends, this is certainly positive news. Experts have said over the last month that even if cases could increase, they didn’t expect hospitals to feel the same kind of upward trend in patients as they have in the past.

It may be a bit early to see where the state’s death rate is following, but for now they appear to be relatively stable. Deaths typically reflect case and hospitalization rates with a two-week lag. Given that this increase started in early April, it’s safe to assume that the seven-day death rate in Pennsylvania would have bottomed out about two weeks ago and then begin to climb. Two weeks ago that rate was 10 deaths a day. Today that rate is also 10 deaths per day. There was some fluctuation in between, but not enough to trigger an alarm. Still, the next few weeks will be crucial to ensure this trend, or lack thereof, stays the same.

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Connor Lagore can be reached at [email protected]