Following a brief departure from the “substantial” category of community coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission, Westmoreland County’s case totals saw another surge late last week.

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 increase to 144.3 per 100,000 and the transmission rate increased to 8.2%.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, the county had 5,757 total coronavirus cases, an increase of 119 cases from Thursday. That total includes 4,750 confirmed cases and 1,007 probable. As of the update, there have been 56,481 negative COVID-19 tests in Westmoreland County (90.75%).

The daily coronavirus figures on the Westmoreland County website 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.

The state health department’s most recent update on Sunday reported the county had reached 6,099 total cases — 4,996 confirmed and 1,103 probable — with 57,384 negative tests.

There had been 131 deaths among Westmoreland County residents attributed to coronavirus as of Friday’s county update, as confirmed by the state health department through the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) — an increase of two compared to the previous day. The Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office listed a total of 128 coronavirus deaths as of Friday — 121 confirmed by testing and another seven presumed cases based on symptoms. The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s most recent update on Sunday reported 135 coronavirus deaths in Westmoreland County.

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

According to the state health department, as of Sunday there were 53 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, 13 of them on intensive care units, and nine coronavirus patients on ventilators.

Statewide coronavirus numbers have also continued to climb, with total cases exceeding 265,000. That figure includes 248,981 confirmed cases in the state and 16,156 probable cases. Throughout Pennsylvania, 9,312 people have died of coronavirus, according to the state health department.

There were 2,440 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide as of Sunday’s update from the Department of Health, 531 on intensive care units and 265 on ventilators.

The highest number of cases statewide falls within the 20-29 age group (50,609), followed by the 30-39 age group (39,083), the 50-59 age group (38,994) and 40-49 (34,766). There have been 7,078 cases among children younger than 10, and 24,401 among people ages 10 to 19. According to the state health department, 30,143 cases have come from the 60-69 age group, with 18,647 cases among people age 70-79, 13,599 cases in the 80-89 age group, 7,280 among people ages 90-99 and 379 cases among people 100 or older.

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