COIVID in the COUNTY:

Cases Down 93% from Peak, But We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet

Unvaccinated Account for Over 70% of Cases, 80% of Deaths

FEB 16 2022, 4:45 pm

HARRISBURG – According to figures reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday, February 15, Monroe County has seen a dramatic decrease in daily case numbers, falling 92.6% since peaking at an average of 546 new cases on January 11, 2022, to a Valentine’s Day weekly average of 40 new cases a day.

This is the fourth week the county has seen new cases drop significantly after over two months of record numbers. In the seven-day period ending yesterday, there were 279 new cases reported here, compared to 379 in the prior seven-day period ending February 1.

The county’s population-adjusted case rate, which had been among the highest in the state, and often the highest, throughout December and January, was slashed in the week ending Monday, February 14, to 164 new weekly cases per 100,000 people. That’s down from 980 three weeks ago.

While much better, it still remains well above the 100-case threshold at which public health officials designate the spread of the disease to be uncontrolled.
According to the CDC, over 13% of covid tests in the county are positive. That’s a much better rate than in the immediate past. However, according to the CDC, rates over ten percent indicate that a substantial number of positive cases are being missed. Most at-home results are not reported and are not included in the official statistics.

Unvaccinated Account for Vast Majority of Cases

“The latest post-vaccination, often called breakthrough, data continues to prove the science that getting up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations is effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death,” Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter said in an email to The Boro & Towne News.

In Pennsylvania, from January 2021 through Feb. 11, 2022:

  • 71 percent of reported COVID-19 cases,
  • 83 percent of reported COVID-19 hospitalizations, and
  • 80 percent of reported COVID-19 deaths were in unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated, individuals.

“The post-vaccination percentages we are seeing here are on par with those in other states,” she said, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that national COVID-19 hospitalization data for December show that unvaccinated adults ages 50-64 were 45-times more likely to be hospitalized; people 65 and over were 51-times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19.

“Pennsylvania and national data show that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective for preventing hospitalizations and deaths, even as more post-vaccination cases occur in the context of more transmissible variants and more residents getting vaccinated,” Klinepeter said. “I encourage everyone 12 and older to get a booster dose now.”

Vaccines are free and available across the state through vaccines.gov.

Vaccines are never 100% effective against illness, but they are exceptionally good at preventing serious illness and death. Only 55% of county residents have received the full initial course of vaccination, up less than one percent from four weeks ago; only 23% have received a booster.

Statewide, over 8 1/2 million are fully vaccinated, or 67% of the eligible population.  Over 82% of the state’s residents have received at least one shot.

Studies Continue to Confirm Safety of Vaccines

Over 10.5 Billion vaccine doses have been distributed to date according to the World Health Organization.  The most serious side effect seen is allergic reaction or anaphylaxis.  But this is exceedingly rare, occurring in 0.3% of patients after partial vaccination and 0.2% after full vaccination.

In the United States, the CDC has evaluated side effects in 550 million injections. That study found:

  • Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare and has occurred in approximately 5 people per one million vaccinated in the United States
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccination is rare. As of February 10, 2022, more than 18.2 million doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States. CDC and FDA identified 57 confirmed reports of people later developed TTS.  CDC has also identified nine deaths that have been caused by or were directly attributed to TTS following J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination. 
  • To date, three confirmed cases of TTS following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Moderna) have been reported to VAERS after more than 526 million doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered in the United States. Based on available data, there is not an increased risk for TTS after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in people who have received the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is rare. After more than 18.2 million J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, there have been around 310 preliminary reports of GBS identified. Analysis found no increased risk of GBS after Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines). 
  • Myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is inflammation of the outer lining of the heart. As of February 10, 2022, the CDC and FDA have verified 1,307 reports of myocarditis.
  • Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.  More than 547 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through February 14, 2022. After reviewing 12,304 preliminary reports of death (0.0022%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC and FDA clinicians have identified nine deaths causally associated with J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination. 

County Hospitalizations

Hospitals in Monroe County reported 36 covid patients on Tuesday, unchanged from Monday, February 14.  This includes 5 in intensive care and 4 on ventilators. Local hospitalizations have not decreased as much as new cases, which is to be expected as hospitalizations lag infections. The 14-day average daily number of hospitalized covid patients was 52 as of Tuesday, February 15, down 30% from 74 a week earlier. The average hospitalization rate is down 56% from the high water mark of 108 average daily hospitalizations set on January 22 of this year. 

County Deaths

There were a total of four local deaths reported over the seven days ending Sunday, February 13, down from 20 the previous week.   The seven-day moving average of deaths per day in Monroe County is now .6, compared with 2.3 per day a week ago. Monroe County has recorded  497 deaths since March 2020.

County Children

In the seven days ending February 8, the Department of Health reports 93 new covid cases among children under 18 here. There were 187 in the prior seven-day reporting period.  Since this school year school began, 4,045 school-aged children have been infected, along with 752 children under five.

Community Transmission

According to the CDC, even with the vast improvement in numbers, the level of community transmission in Monroe County remains at “High” – the CDC’s most serious rating. This means that the CDC says everyone in Monroe County should wear a mask in public, indoor settings.

 

 

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