Pa Update 11.18.20: Concerning Trends and School Closures
Sigh. My kids’ school district just announced they plan to return to virtual this coming Monday, after several weeks of hybrid instruction. As disappointed as I am to hear that news, I get it. Based on the numbers in my area, it really is a smart decision.
In fact, new cases and hospitalizations are dramatically increasing across the state. That’s not to say that all schools should shut down or go virtual – that’s an extremely complex decision that’s based on several variables. But if your school district does end up modifying its instructional model in the next few weeks, it’s likely because health officials and school administrators are concerned by the unprecedented trends briefly summarized below.
To see the stats for the zip codes in your district, check out: PA School District Reopening Dashboard
Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced 6,339 additional positive cases of COVID-19. This is the highest one day increase reported in a press release to date.
*Updated to reflect the true most recent 7-day count, which includes 11/11-11/17. This was previously reported using numbers from 11/12-11/18, but 11/18 case numbers will not be reported until tomorrow. As a result, only 6 days of data were included in the original 32,000 figure.
On October 18, there were 847 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania. Today, just one month later, that number has risen more than 240% as 2,904 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID. Ventilator use has also risen dramatically – from 93 a month ago to 310 COVID-19 patients currently on ventilators throughout the state today. More detailed numbers, including county level breakdowns are available here.
Remember back in the spring when we had to stay home to “flatten the curve”? It’s time for us to make this a main focus again. At our current rate of increase, it won’t take long before our hospitals reach capacity. In fact, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that Pennsylvania may have an ICU bed shortage by the middle of December, maybe sooner.
Deaths have also started to steadily increase. However, because deaths are a lagging indicator – that is, they often don’t occur until several weeks after infection – we likely won’t see the deaths from this surge of new cases for some time.
Please mask up, practice social distancing, and do what you can to flatten the curve.
As always, stay well ~