COVID-19 hospitalizations in Lancaster County skyrocketed to 141, the highest since January, while the number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators hit a 2021 high of 25 on Nov. 30, according to State Department data.
Just three weeks ago, hospital admissions were barely half what they are today: 74 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus and 16 COVID-19 patients were on a ventilator on November 9. about 174 per day on November 8 to about 219 per day on November 29.
Unvaccinated people make up about three-quarters of the 87 COVID-19 patients at Lancaster General, the county’s largest hospital, and all but one of the hospital’s COVID-19 patients who are on a ventilator are unvaccinated, according to hospital data.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of contracting the virus and its serious complications. In September, unvaccinated people in the United States were 5.8 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 14 times more likely to die from it compared to fully vaccinated people.
Hospital admissions remain below the pandemic peak of 178 recorded on December 10, 2020 — the day after the province’s seven-day average peaked at about 429 cases per day — but they are steadily moving closer to that figure.
The number of COVID-19 deaths rose last week, totaling 18 from Nov. 21 to Nov. 27, from eight the week before, according to the county coroner’s office.
November’s number remains below September’s, the highest since January, and the 62 deaths recorded so far in November are fewer than 79 in October, the deadliest month since February. The local death toll from the pandemic as of March 2020 now stands at 1,267, according to the coroner’s office.
New partial vaccinations fell to 2,986 from Nov. 21 to Nov. 27 last week, down from their fall peak from 4,292 two weeks earlier. Both weekly totals are well below spring’s, when tens of thousands received their first injections, but in November most people had been partially vaccinated since May.
Complete vaccinations increased, but the pace is lagging behind partial vaccinations, totaling 1,312 last week, compared to 1,090 the week before. About 61 percent of the county’s eligible residents have at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 55 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.
The weekly total of people who received their COVID-19 boosters fell to 6,807 last week, from 9,587 the week before. Nearly 37,400 received their additional shots in November, bringing the county’s total to 63,421 residents. The CDC recommends that every adult receive a COVID-19 booster shot at least two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or six months after their first Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series.