Westmoreland County coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers continue to climb rapidly as the county set new single-day and seven-day highs in new cases Wednesday with 228 cases reported.

With Wednesday’s update, the county’s coronavirus case total has climbed by 1,218 over a seven-day span from Nov. 12-18 and the county’s average daily new cases during that span was 174.

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%.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the county had 6,649 total coronavirus cases, an increase of 228 cases from Tuesday. That total includes 5,382 confirmed cases and 1,267 probable. As of the update, there have been 58,611 negative COVID-19 tests in Westmoreland County (89.81%).

The state health department’s most recent update Wednesday 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 143 deaths among Westmoreland County residents attributed to coronavirus as of Wednesday’s county update, as confirmed by the state health department through the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) — an increase of five compared to the previous day. The Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office listed a total of 141 coronavirus deaths as of Wednesday — 134 confirmed by testing and another seven presumed cases based on symptoms. The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s most recent update on Wednesday reported 143 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. Of Westmoreland County’s coronavirus deaths, 80 were associated with long term care facilities, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department, as of Wednesday there were 70 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, 13 of them on intensive care units, and four coronavirus patients on ventilators.

Statewide coronavirus numbers have also continued to climb, with total cases exceeding 281,000. That figure includes 263,978 confirmed cases in the state and 17,874 probable cases as of Wednesday’s update. Throughout Pennsylvania, 9,465 people have died of coronavirus, according to the state health department — 6,157 of those deaths associated with long term care facilities.

There were 2,904 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide as of Wednesday’s update from the Department of Health, 628 on intensive care units and 310 on ventilators.

The highest number of cases statewide falls within the 20-29 age group (53,424), followed by the 30-39 age group (41,685), the 50-59 age group (41,455) and 40-49 (37,185). There have been 7,644 cases among children younger than 10, and 26,013 among people ages 10 to 19. According to the state health department, 32,215 cases have come from the 60-69 age group, with 19,844 cases among people age 70-79, 14,286 cases in the 80-89 age group, 7,548 among people ages 90-99 and 390 cases among people 100 or older.

Long term care facilities have been coronavirus hot spots throughout the pandemic. Statewide, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there have been 30,357 coronavirus cases among residents and 6,232 cases among staff members at 1,171 long term care facilities. There have been 6,157 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 921 positive COVID-19 cases among residents, 128 cases among staff members and 88 coronavirus deaths.

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