After adding more than 500 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases over the weekend, Westmoreland County saw 173 new cases reported Monday, according to data on the county website, surpassing 22,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

With the 173 new cases reported Monday, Westmoreland County’s total since the first cases were reported in March climbed to 22,026 according to the county website. The county also had two new coronavirus deaths reported Monday, marking 60 since the start of the new year and bringing the county’s total since the start of the pandemic to 483.

There had been 423 coronavirus deaths reported at the start of the new year, with 224 of those coming in December. The first coronavirus deaths for Westmoreland County were reported April 5, according to the state health department.

The Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office last updated its listed total of coronavirus deaths last Tuesday, increasing its count from 293 to 328. Of those deaths, 321 were confirmed by testing and another seven are presumed cases based on symptoms.

The youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Westmoreland County was 36, according to the coroner’s office, and the oldest 109.

The coroner’s COVID-19 death total includes any individual whose death occurred in Westmoreland County, regardless of their county of residence.

Statewide, coronavirus cases reached 726,154 as of Monday’s update to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard. That case total includes 644,457 confirmed cases in the state and 81,697 probable cases. Throughout Pennsylvania, 17,853 people have died of coronavirus, according to the state health department.

Of the state’s coronavirus deaths, 9,383 (52.5%) are associated with long term care facilities, which have been virus hotspots throughout the pandemic.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there have been 57,376 coronavirus cases among residents and 10,567 cases among staff members at 1,495 long term care facilities throughout the state.

In Westmoreland County, according to the state health department, 48 long-term care facilities have accounted for 1,761 positive COVID-19 cases among residents, 226 cases among staff members and 186 coronavirus deaths as of the state health department’s last update to long term care facility data at noon Monday.

The state health department’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard indicates there have been 264,380 initial doses of coronavirus vaccinations administered in the state, including 7,728 in Westmoreland County as of Monday’s update.

Currently, all COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use require two doses spread out several weeks apart.

As of Monday’s update, 21,291 people had received a second dose of their COVID-19 vaccination in Pennsylvania and were considered “full vaccinations” according to the vaccine dashboard. Of those full vaccinations, 699 are in Westmoreland County, according to the site.

As of Monday, there were 5,232 coronavirus patients hospitalized throughout Pennsylvania, according to the state health department. Of those patients, 1,070 were in adult intensive care units and 663 were on ventilators.

In Westmoreland County, as of Monday’s update, there were 159 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 — down from 168 Sunday — with 21 in adult intensive care units and 11 on ventilators according to the state health department. Of the 100 ventilators available in Westmoreland County, according to state data, a total of 24 were in use by COVID and non-COVID patients as of Monday’s update.

According to state figures last updated at noon Monday, there were 22 adult ICU beds available at Westmoreland County hospitals — 24.4% of total adult ICU beds — 78 medical/surgical beds and 108 airborne isolation beds.

The state years ago established seven regional Health Care Coalitions, or HCCs, as part of its emergency preparedness plan. Westmoreland County is part of the HCC of Southwest PA, or the Southwest region, which also includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset and Washington counties.

The Southwest region had 1,029 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 Monday, down from 1,189 on Thursday and 1,036 Sunday. Of those patients, 260 were on adult intensive care units and 132 were on ventilators. Overall, 443 of the region’s 1,560 available ventilators were in use as of the update.

Citing concerns an influx of COVID-19 hospitalizations could stretch health systems thin on staff, Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on Nov. 23 issued an order directing hospitals to reduce “elective procedures” by half if their region meets at least two of the following criteria:

  • 33% or more of hospitals in the region anticipate staffing shortages in the next week;
  • 50% or more increase in the moving average of COVID-19 admissions in the previous 48 hours;
  • 10% or fewer of the medical and surgical beds in a region are projected to be available in the next 72 hours.

As of the most recent update to the state’s COVID-19 Reduction of Elective Procedures Dashboard on Monday, 26.3% of hospitals in the Southwest region anticipated staffing shortages. The Keystone HCC was the only region in the state to meet any of the criteria as of the update, as 40.9% of hospitals in that region reported anticipated staffing shortages.

According to the state data, the Southwest region had experienced a 6.9% decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations over the most recent 48-hour period prior to the site’s last update and 51.4% of medical and surgical beds in the region were projected to be available for patient care in the next 72 hours.

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