COVID – 19 UPDATE: July 26, 2021

With COVID-19 cases increasing in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and a seven-day average of about 43,700 new infections, up 65% compared with the previous week, the Delta variant continues to spread. The US averaged 699 initial vaccine doses per 100,000 people over the last seven days, up from 590 the week prior.  States with the highest case rates -- Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada -- are also seeing an uptick in vaccinations.

California, New York City and the Department of Veterans Affairs all said Monday their employees must get vaccinated or tested regularly for coronavirus, marking some of the first steps by state and federal officials to institute vaccine requirements as new cases tick upwards.

Governor Wolf said July 25 that his administration has no plans to mandate the vaccine, nor to return to masking orders, telling reporters in Pittsburgh, “The strategy in Pennsylvania has been the vaccine. If you want to protect yourself - get the vaccine.  We did a masking mandate back when we didn't have a vaccine, back in the early days, but we're not there now."

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Health confirmed that on Saturday July 24 and Sunday July 25, there were 1,696 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,220,671.

There are 404 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 86 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. More data is available here.  The trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients per continues to drop.

Statewide percent positivity for the week of July 16 – July 22 stood at 2.6%.  The most accurate daily data is available on the website, with archived data also available.

There were seven new deaths identified by the Pennsylvania death registry for a total of 27,827 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

There are 164,869 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 639 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.  There are 4,883,643 individuals who have tested negative to date.

In licensed nursing and personal care homes, there have been a total of 72,206 resident cases of COVID-19, and 15,614 cases among employees, for a total of 87,820 at 1,599 distinct facilities in all 67 counties. Out of total deaths reported to PA-NEDSS, 13,384 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here. The number of deaths among nursing and personal care home residents and employees is taken from the PA-NEDSS death data, as this information is not available in the death registry data.

Approximately 29,256 of total cases have been among health care workers.

Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case numbers continued to rise during the most recent seven-day period recorded by the state Department of Health’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, and hospitalizations, which had been on the decline for several weeks are now starting to tick up too.

For the seven-day period ending July 22, the increase was 851 more cases than the prior week, about 55 percent, with the total number of new cases being 2,393, according to the DoH.

The state’s hospitals are beginning to report increases in virus related hospitalizations, though the growth was relatively small for the seven-day period ending on July 22: the seven-day average was 289.4, up from 251.6 a week earlier, when the week showed a decline. While concerns mount about the Delta variant of COVID-19 – which accounts for the vast majority of new cases – there’s a long way to go for hospitalizations to hit their peak of more than 6,100 recorded this past Christmas.

As for the virus’ spread throughout the commonwealth, 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties reported week-over-week growth in cases, up from 43 counties doing so during the prior week.

Six counties, up from four last week, had positivity in excess of five percent: Elk (5.3 percent, up from 0 percent), Monroe (5.8 percent, up from 3.6 percent), Wyoming (6.4 percent, up from 3.4 percent), Lawrence (7.5 percent, up from 4.5 percent), Cameron (12 percent, down from 15.8 percent) and Crawford (16.2 percent, up from 9.9 percent). These are rural counties with smaller populations, and thus they are more subject to fluctuations.

Pennsylvania’s current level of virus test percent positivity, as reported by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine ranks the state 15th in the nation (down from 11th last week) for lowest positivity. Twenty-seven states were below five-percent positivity as of early Sunday morning.

The overwhelming majority of new cases are occurring in unvaccinated individuals, which suggests the public health focus be getting as many people as possible vaccinated.  Vaccination efforts have for the past couple of months been flagging.

Statewide data with Vaccine highlights representing the 66 counties within the Department of Health’s vaccine jurisdiction:

  • Pennsylvania’s vaccine dashboard was updated on Friday, July 9 to more accurately reflect the number of people who are partially and fully vaccinated in each county outside of Philadelphia, along with demographics of those receiving vaccine. For state-to-state comparisons, refer to the CDC vaccine data tracker.
  • Vaccine providers have administered 11,535,415 total vaccine doses as of Monday, July 26.
  • 5,665,736 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of 11,914 people per day receiving vaccinations.

That said, Pennsylvania ranks in the upper half of the nation, as 64.9 percent of the entire population and 77.7 percent of the adult population (18 and older) have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 62.4 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated, ranking the state 20th. Nearly 100 percent of Pennsylvania’s 65-and-older population – considered to be one of the age groups most at-risk for serious sickness from COVID-19 – has received one vaccine dose, with 83.4 percent fully vaccinated.

Though cases have been rising the past couple of weeks, those recovering from the virus continue to keep pace, illustrated by the state’s virus recovery percentage still holding at 97 percent of the 1,218,975 confirmed and probable cases reported since the start of the outbreak. “Recovered” is defined by state health officials as a case that has not been reported as a death, and is more than 30 days past the date of a first positive test or onset of symptoms. The latest recovery percentage has not changed during the past month.

All of the state’s virus data are illustrated on the Health Department’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, updated every Friday, and its main virus data web page, though the state’s vaccination data are pulled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States webpage.

The county not included in PA statistics is Philadelphia.  As of Thursday, July 22, 60.8 percent of Philadelphia adults are fully vaccinated, and 73.9 percent of Philadelphia adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The Department of Public Health reports 69 patients with COVID-19 are currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals, with a total of seven on ventilators.

In the last two weeks, three percent of COVID-19 tests in Philadelphia have come back positive. Thus far during the pandemic, 146,464 Philadelphians have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 3,766 have succumbed to the virus. Philadelphia is averaging 74 new cases of COVID-19 per day over the last two weeks. The city’s COVID-19 homepage is at