Data Correction Drops COVID Vaccine Rates In Pennsylvania


As some countries and major U.S. cities emerge from suspected omicron peaks, experts and health officials in Southwestern Pennsylvania say it’s too soon to say whether this region also has passed the worst of omicron.

Cases have flattened in New York City, according to The New York Times, as well as places like Boston and Chicago, where the fast-spreading virus first flourished. In Pennsylvania, cases began skyrocketing in mid-to-late December, a trend mirrored by Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

“Larger metropolitan areas in the country, as expected, were seeded with omicron first,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a Pittsburgh-based infectious disease expert and critical care physician. “I suspect it will be about a couple-week lag before Allegheny County peaks in terms of cases.”

He said Allegheny County’s most recent data shows that Jan. 10 might have been a turning point, and he noted signs that the tide might be turning in Philadelphia, a hope shared by health officials in the eastern part of the state.

“From the numbers I’m looking at right now, we may be at peak right now,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said in a briefing earlier this week, noting that the decline could also simply signal a lull before case counts soar higher.

In Allegheny County, the seven-day case count has been increasing each week since mid-December: On Dec. 17, the seven-day count was 4,452. By Dec. 31, it had doubled to 9,092. On Jan. 7, the seven-day count had soared to 22,415.

The massive increases, though, appear to have slowed for now: on Jan. 14, the seven-day count was 22,522, up just 0.4% over the week prior.

“It would appear that, if you look at the numbers, they have stabilized,” Allegheny County Health Department spokesman Chris Togneri said of the numbers. “It’s too soon to say with any level of confidence that we’ve plateaued or come out of (the surge).”


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Hospitalizations and deaths remain the main concern, he said.

Daily case counts are no longer the most telling data when it comes to assessing the state of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations generally mirror the trends in case counts, but with about a two-week delay. Over the past several weeks, however, as omicron has sent daily case counts skyrocketing in Pennsylvania, hospitalizations have not risen at the same speed.

As of Thursday, Pennsylvania is averaging about 28,600 new covid cases per day and nearly 7,000 hospitalizations per day. As this chart shows, though, while setting records, the hospitalizations are not rising at the rapid rates the cases have been.

— (@TribLIVE) January 13, 2022

In Westmoreland County, the seven-day case count stood at just more than 4,400 on Friday, up from 3,575 on Jan. 7 and 1,632 on Dec. 31. As of Friday, about 101 residents were hospitalized with covid-19. Patient numbers over the past three weeks had hovered in the 80s and 90s.

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Experts say too soon to tell what drop in covid counts means for Western Pa.
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