COVID-19 cases likely to remain high in Pa as the holiday season approaches – Community News
Covid-19

COVID-19 cases likely to remain high in Pa as the holiday season approaches

  • Julia Agos

(Harrisburg) — The number of COVID-19 cases is as high as ever in Pennsylvania. The only exception is the corona peak during last year’s holiday.

Daily numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state have stabilized in recent weeks, averaging between 3,000 and 5,000 a day.

Public health experts expect the number of cases to remain high during the holiday season.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 81 percent of ICU beds in the state are currently filled — with about 1 in 5 of those patients sick with COVID-19.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 has also leveled off — an average of about 65 per day over the past week in the state.

This week, York County surpassed 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 — the 8th county to reach that target.

Advances in therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies, have helped keep patients out of the hospital.

But the virus is still spreading significantly in parts of Pennsylvania as Thanksgiving approaches.

dr. Alison Brodginski, an infectious disease specialist at Geisinger Health, says the current wave is being driven by the colder weather and the large number of people who are still unvaccinated.

She also says that the effectiveness of the vaccines decreases in those who received their injection more than six months ago.

“You put in a population with waning immunity and mix it with a really, really highly transmissible variant — and this is why we see these hot spots,” she said.

Brodginski encourages everyone who qualifies for a booster shot.

She also recommends visiting the CDC’s Vacation Tips page for best practices.

“There will never be zero risk if you go near someone outside your own household. But there’s a safer way to approach it,” Brodginski said.

The tips include getting tested before family gatherings, making sure everyone in the group is fully vaccinated, and avoiding crowded indoor areas.

Now that children ages 5 to 11 can also get their chance, Dr. David Rubin, who leads the COVID-19 modeling group at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, hopes the worst days of the pandemic are behind us.

“I have cautious optimism now, especially in highly vaccinated areas,” he told NPR.

He said vaccination could make a significant difference in controlling cases when families gather for the holidays.


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