Westmoreland County set another single-day high in new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases for a second straight day Thursday with 259 as the pandemic continues to surge locally.

With Wednesday’s update, the county’s coronavirus case total has climbed by 1,270 over a seven-day span from Nov. 13-19 and the county’s average daily new cases during that span was 181.

The level of community transmission of COVID-19 factors in the incidence rate — the number of positive cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day span — and the positivity rate among those tested.

Westmoreland County had remained in the “moderate” level of community transmission since before the start of the 2020-21 school year, but for three weeks had fallen into the “substantial” category after weeks of surging coronavirus case totals. In order to fall into the “low” level of community transmission, the incidence rate over a seven-day stretch must be fewer than 10 residents per 100,000 and the positivity rate must be less than 5%.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Westmoreland County’s incidence rate for the seven-day period of Oct. 30 through Nov. 5 was just below the “substantial” threshold at 99.8 per 100,000 and the transmission rate fell to 6.7%.

But the county’s incidence rate spiked for the most recent seven-day period — Nov. 6-12 — after a surge in cases late last week. For the most recent period, the county’s incidence rate increased to 144.3 per 100,000 and the transmission rate increased to 8.2%. The state’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard had not been updated to include figures for the seven-day period from Nov. 13-19 as of press time.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the county had 6,908 total coronavirus cases, an increase of 259 cases from Wednesday. That total includes 5,558 confirmed cases and 1,350 probable. As of the update, there have been 59,196 negative COVID-19 tests in Westmoreland County (89.55%).

The state health department’s most recent update Thursday matched the figures listed by on the county website.

The daily coronavirus figures on the Westmoreland County website typically differ slightly from those on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated at noon each day. The county’s site is updated at 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with a weekend recap included with each Monday’s update.

There had been 150 deaths among Westmoreland County residents attributed to coronavirus as of Thursday’s county update, as confirmed by the state health department through the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) — an increase of seven compared to the previous day. The Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office listed a total of 141 coronavirus deaths as of Thursday — 134 confirmed by testing and another seven presumed cases based on symptoms.

The coroner’s COVID-19 death total includes any individual whose death occurred in Westmoreland County, regardless of their county of residence. Of Westmoreland County’s coronavirus deaths, 89 were associated with long term care facilities, according to the state health department.

There were 71 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county as of Thursday, according to the state health department, 13 of them on intensive care units, and three coronavirus patients on ventilators.

Statewide coronavirus numbers have also continued to surge, with more than 7,100 new cases Thursday bringing the state’s total cases to nearly 289,000. That figure includes 270,323 confirmed cases in the state and 18,655 probable cases as of Thursday’s update. Throughout Pennsylvania, 9,581 people have died of coronavirus, according to the state health department — an increase of 116 from Wednesday. Of those deaths, 6,169 are associated with long term care facilities.

There were 2,952 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide as of Thursday’s update from the Department of Health, 659 on intensive care units and 318 on ventilators.

Long term care facilities have been coronavirus hot spots throughout the pandemic. Statewide, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there have been 30,786 coronavirus cases among residents and 6,265 cases among staff members at 1,184 long term care facilities. There have been 6,169 coronavirus deaths in the state attributed to long term care facilities.

In Westmoreland County, according to the state health department, 36 long term care facilities have accounted for 962 positive COVID-19 cases among residents, 130 cases among staff members and 89 coronavirus deaths.

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