Pa. health department transitions to weekly covid updates

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Wednesday began providing covid-19 updates on a weekly basis rather than daily.

Numbers of new covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths still are being provided on the department’s online dashboard, but it now will update once a week.

“The covid-19 pandemic is not over, and Department of Health staff are continually monitoring covid-19 trends to gain a more accurate and comprehensive picture of what is occurring across the commonwealth,” health department spokesman Mark O’Neill said. “The shift to weekly updates will provide more meaningful trends as we anticipate fluctuations in data during this phase of the pandemic.”

Data will be updated Wednesdays. When it updates, the dashboard should include combined data for cases, hospitalizations and deaths for each day from the previous week, O’Neill said.

The change comes as cases continue to tick up in the state.

• As of Thursday, Pennsylvania was averaging 2,213 newly reported covid cases per day, with a total of 15,490 additional cases in the past week. That’s nearly 28% more than the previous week. There are 774 Pennsylvanians hospitalized for covid — a 25% increase over the past week. And there were 101 covid deaths in that span, down from a month ago (110) but up from a week ago (63).

• In Allegheny County, health officials are seeing an average of 252 new cases per day, with a total of 1,767 in the past week — nearly 12% more than the previous week (1,582) and more than 330% more than a month ago (410). Hospitalizations for those being treated for covid have increased 40% in the past week — 113 compared with 81.

• In Westmoreland County, cases have held relatively steady over the past week, averaging about 43 new cases per day. Hospitalizations remain low, with six people in facilities.

Deaths in both counties remain low, with two reported over the past week in Allegheny and three over the past week in Westmoreland.

O’Neil said Pennsylvania is joining 40 other states that already have transitioned to weekly covid updates. He said weekly updates should provide more comprehensive and meaningful data compared with daily updates.

Data provided on the department’s covid mobile app and in OpenData Pennsylvania also will be updated on a weekly basis, he said.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and critical care and emergency medicine physician based in Pittsburgh, said it is reasonable for governments to transition to weekly updates as covid becomes a more manageable illness.

“The day-to-day number of cases becomes less and less useful,” Adalja said. “Real-time awareness, by the health department, of hospital capacity is important, and that type of data will be available to public health authorities and doesn’t necessarily need to be reported to the public on a day-to-day basis.”

Ryan Deto is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Ryan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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