Erie County’s second COVID-19 surge increased last week as the number of new cases rose to levels not seen since the darkest days of the first wave in mid-December.
The number of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 has also increased in the province, although those numbers are not nearly as high as the devastating totals seen during the first wave.
More:Erie County’s COVID-19 battle very different from a year ago
“We’re still in a better place than we were last year because of the vaccine’s ability to keep people alive and out of the hospital,” said Christopher Clark, DO, president of Saint Vincent Hospital.
Erie County reported more than 250 cases on both Wednesday and Friday, and the weekly number of newly confirmed cases rose from 926 between October 29 and November. 4 to 1124 between Nov. 5-11, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The increase is fueled, at least in part, by an increase in the number of cases among children. The Department of Health reported 319 new cases from November 3-9 among children 18 and younger, compared with 231 between October 27 and November. 2 and 208 between October 20 and 26.
Grover Cleveland Elementary School switched to online learning on Friday after 11 cases of COVID-19 were reported in four classrooms, Erie School District officials said. Personal learning is scheduled for November 30.
More:COVID-19 outbreak forces Erie’s Grover Cleveland School to switch to distance learning
The good news is that children ages 5 to 11 can now get vaccinated, as the Pfizer vaccine is approved for that age group.
“We’ve had a lot of interest and excitement among parents waiting for the vaccine,” says Cynthia Weibel, MD, a physician with UPMC’s Children’s Community Pediatrics – Erie. “There has been a great demand for the vaccine, although there is certainly some hesitation about the vaccine. Some parents are taking a wait-and-see attitude.”
Here’s how people can schedule a vaccination:
More:Younger Erie County Kids Get COVID-19 Vaccine
Erie County has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 vaccinations in recent weeks with the addition of booster shots and vaccinations for children ages 5-11.
- November 5-11 — 2,384 first and second shots, 4,119 additional shots*
- October 29-Nov. 4 — 2,284 and 5,371
- October 22-28 — 2,300 and 5,745
*Last week’s total is likely to increase with late reports.
Erie County’s COVID-19 Hospital Admissions Rising
After a week and a half of declines, the 14-day moving average of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province rose to 72.1 a day on Friday, though the actual number was 85 patients on Friday, 48 in intensive care units and 11 who needed respirators.
At the peak of the first peak, the 14-day average was just above 122 patients per day.
The county reported 18 COVID-19 deaths in November, though only four of them occurred in November, according to county data. In October, 38 people died, the highest monthly total except for December 2020 and January and February of this year.
Here’s a look at the rest of the county’s COVID-19 readings from Nov. 5-11 from the state’s health department:
- The incidence of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants rose from 343.3 to 416.7.
- The test positivity rate of COVID-19 increased from 16.2% to 19.4%.
- The average daily number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized increased from 70.4 to 73.7.
- The average daily number of COVID-19 patients on a ventilator fell from 11 to 9.6.
- The percentage of emergency room visits due to COVID-19 symptoms increased from 2.3% to 2.9%.