Editor’s Note: We are standardizing the format for daily COVID-19 case data updates. These articles may feel repetitious but we want each one to stand alone in terms of providing maximum context around the data. This is the update for Friday, June 19.
As of next Friday, June 26, Lebanon County will be the only of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to remain in the ‘yellow’ phase.
The number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 residents is currently at 159 for Lebanon County.
Gov. Tom Wolf had said originally that a county would need to show 50 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over a two week period to advance to the ‘yellow’ stage in his tiered reopening plan. After that point, according to the Governor’s plan, if overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, counties would be transitioned to the green phase.
Daily new cases over last 14 days per 100,000 residents
In terms of relative comparisons, the current figure of 159 new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 residents represents an increase of 98% compared to one month ago and an increase of 109% compared to 14 days ago. This figure is 59% of the all-time high of 268 on April 21.
For additional context, the southcentral region is at 58 new cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 residents, Philadelphia County is at 90, Lehigh County is at 53, Berks County is at 49, and the state overall is at 50.
The Southcentral Region includes Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, and York counties. At present, Lebanon County is the only Southcentral Region county not designated as ‘green’, with Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, and Perry counties moved as of midnight Thursday.
“Lebanon County’s partisan, politically driven decision to ignore public health experts and reopen prematurely is having severe consequences for the health and safety of county residents,” said Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine in a press release on Friday, June 19. “Case counts have escalated and the county is not yet ready to be reopened. Lebanon County has hindered its progress by reopening too early. Because of this irresponsible decision, Lebanon County residents are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.”
The biggest driver of the increased new case counts is an increase in the total number of tests conducted. Lebanon County has seen more tests reported in the last week than in any previous week in the pandemic, with roughly double the number of tests conducted in the last two weeks compared to the prior two. The average positive test rate is currently approximately half of what it was in late April.
Testing has gone up in the past week as nursing homes receive more thorough population testing. Last weekend the county also received a sharp increase due to a commercial lab submitting a large number of processed tests in a batch. Over the last couple days test volume has returned to its overall average levels.
Daily new cases and negative results as 7-day trailing average
Positive test rate as 7-day trailing average
The share of cases linked to nursing homes has steadily climbed as well, currently registering at approximately 1 out of every 5 cases being a nursing home resident or staff member. LebTown hopes to release new analysis next week showing how Lebanon County fares against other counties in terms of nursing home cases as a percentage of overall cases compared nursing home residents as a percentage of overall population.
The state has also begun using a “risk-based decision support tool” to inform its response, with the tool described as one of many inputs used in the decision-making process. In the state’s county dashboard, Lebanon County is indicated as meeting two of four metrics, with the two unmet metrics being increasing case counts and a positive test rate higher than 10%.
In terms of raw numbers, Lebanon County is now tracking at 1,226 cases of the novel coronavirus, according to current Pennsylvania Department of Health data, with 6,989 negative tests. (All figures in this article are based on DOH data unless otherwise noted.)
47 of those cases are probable cases, a designation made by healthcare providers based on symptoms and known exposures.
The Department of Health is reporting 40 deaths as of today, while Lebanon County is reporting 34. According to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, the 34 deaths are linked to residents from Lebanon County municipalities as follows:
- City of Lebanon (2)
- Cleona Borough (1)
- Cornwall Borough (3)
- Myerstown Borough (16)
- North Cornwall Township (6)
- South Lebanon Township (4)
- Swatara Township (2)
Calculated as a percentage of confirmed cases, coronavirus currently has a mortality rate of 3.3% in Lebanon County – although due to still-limited testing as well as the occurrence of asymptomatic/undetected cases, the actual mortality rate may be lower than that. The mortality rate is however much higher in nursing homes and in general the virus should still be considered as extremely dangerous.
The Department of Health has recently begun reporting a total “recovered” percentage as part of its daily updates. A person is considered recovered if a case has not been reported as a death after more than 30 days past the date of the first positive test or the onset of symptoms. At present, the state says 77% of cases are considered recovered.
Daily new cases as 7-day trailing average
In late May, it was reported that the state is including positive antibody tests in its overall counts. Antibody tests are not broken out to date by the state in its county-level reporting. Negative antibody tests are not counted towards the state’s overall negative case count.
Neither WellSpan Health, Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center, nor UPMC Pinnacle are actively conducting antibody testing in Lebanon County at this time, with Quest Diagnostics being the only firm known to offer this type of testing at present. However, tests could be performed on Lebanon County residents at facilities outside of the county and show up on state data, which is based on county of residence.
The state began breaking cases out by ZIP code in mid-April. Find the full dashboard here or see below for how cases looked across Lebanon County ZIP codes as of the last time the data was updated.
- 17003 (Annville) – 39 positive, 338 negative, seven probable
- 17010 (Campbelltown) – zero positive, 11 negative, zero probable
- 17016 (Cornwall) – 12 positive, 89 negative, zero probable
- 17026 (Fredericksburg) – 17 positive, 113 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
- 17028 (Grantville) – five positive, 99 negative, zero probable
- 17038 (Jonestown) – 42 positive, 282 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
- 17039 (Kleinfeltersville) zero positive, 1-4 negative (redacted), zero probable
- 17041 (Lawn) – zero positive, 1-4 negative (redacted), zero probable
- 17042 (Lebanon) – 389 positive, 2,200 negative, six probable
- 17046 (Lebanon) – 439 positive, 1,777 negative, 15 probable
- 17064 (Mount Gretna) 1-4 positive (redacted), 40 negative, zero probable
- 17067 (Myerstown) – 161 positive, 692 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
- 17073 (Newmanstown) – 29 positive, 198 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
- 17078 (Palmyra) – 48 positive, 869 negative, nine probable
- 17087 (Richland) – 13 positive, 99 negative, zero probable
- 17545 (Manheim) – 116 positive, 795 negative, 1-4 probable
- 17963 (Pine Grove) – 29 positive, 287 negative, zero probable
- 19551 (Robesonia) – 12 positive, 163 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
- 19567 (Womelsdorf) – 53 positive, 172 negative, zero probable
Deaths from COVID-19 occur at a far higher rate in nursing home residents than among the general population.
Percentage of COVID-19 cases linked to nursing homes
Percentage of COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes
As of Friday, June 19, the state was reporting COVID-19 cases at six nursing homes or personal care facility in the county, with 196 cases among residents and 33 cases among employees. According to DOH data, there have been 27 coronavirus-linked deaths at Lebanon County nursing homes or personal care facilities to date.
Here is nursing home data from the Department of Health as of Wednesday, June 10:
- Cedar Haven – 1-4 cases among residents, 1-4 cases among staff, zero deaths
- Cornwall Manor – 11 cases among residents, five cases among staff, 1-4 deaths
- Coutryside Christian Community – Zero cases among residents, zero cases among staff, zero deaths
- Kadima at Campbelltown – No data available
- Kadima at Palmyra – Zero cases among residents, zero cases among staff, zero deaths
- Lebanon Valley Brethren Home – Zero cases among residents, zero cases among staff, zero deaths
- Lebanon Valley Home – Zero cases among residents, zero cases among staff, zero deaths
- ManorCare Health Services Lebanon – 32 cases among residents, eight cases among staff, eight deaths
- Spang Crest Manor – Zero cases among residents, zero cases among staff, zero deaths
- StoneRidge Poplar Run – 18 cases among residents, 6 cases among staff, zero deaths
- StoneRidge Town Centre – 65 cases among residents, 19 cases among staff, 18 deaths
DOH data and self-reported data do not always line up. The state has previously received criticism from nursing homes about its reporting methodology.
According to data released by StoneRidge, 17 deaths have occurred to date among residents at StoneRidge Town Centre in Myerstown.
Cedar Haven has also reported that it is dealing with an outbreak, although these cases have not yet shown up in the state’s releases. Cedar Haven said on Sunday, June 14, that it has confirmation of 30 cases, 13 of which were said to be currently asymptomatic, and that 23 staff members have tested positive, 11 of which were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Cedar Haven said eight more residents “may also have been impacted.” Cedar Haven reported its first COVID-19 case, a staff member, on June 3, showing how quickly the virus can spread through a facility.
As of mid-April, WellSpan Health has made available a dashboard showing hospital-specific data. According to this dashboard, to date there have been 5,037 tests performed by WellSpan Health in Lebanon County, with 4,871 of those finalized and 166 pending. 832 tests (17.1%) were positive.
Currently there are 12 confirmed positive COVID-19 patients at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital.
WellSpan Good Sam in-patient census
According to WellSpan data, nine deaths have occurred at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital as a result of coronavirus. WellSpan notes that this information is not based on patient residency and therefore may differ from DOH statistics.
The Department of Veterans Affairs also makes some information available regarding treatment of coronavirus at its facilities. As of today, the Lebanon VA Medical Center is providing care to 16 active cases – 15 veterans who tested positive for COVID-19, as well as one employee. Active cases are defined as patients tested or treated at a VA facility for known or probable COVID-19 who have neither died nor reached convalescent status, which is itself defined as patients who are “either post-hospital discharge, or 14 days after their last positive test, whichever comes later.” 128 additional people (109 veterans and 19 employees) are considered convalescent cases at present. The facility has recorded 17 known deaths from the virus. These figures include residents of the VA’s long-term care Community Living Centers.
Here’s how Lebanon County’s confirmed case count has grown since the pandemic began.
Here’s how confirmed cases compare to overall tests in Lebanon County.
Here’s how the daily number of new cases in Lebanon County looks.
Here’s how that looks when negative tests are included.
Here’s a look at the entire southcentral region for 14-day new cases per 100,000 residents.
Here is a chart that shows an estimated mortality rate based on a thirty day recovery period from the time of the state receiving a positive test result.
Here’s how Lebanon County compares to other counties, as well as the region and state, across three main metrics.
Postive Cases as Percent of Overall Population
Overall Tests as Percent of Overall Population
Positive Cases as Percent of Overall Tests
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are COVID-19 cases occurring in Lebanon County?
The state began releasing ZIP-level date on April 20 and intends to update this dataset daily. We now include it in the main update above. Some ZIP codes are missing at this point and the DOH says they are working on including them. Previously, the DOH had declined to share ZIP code level data, citing HIPAA concerns. LebTown editorialized on this issue and questioned the applicability of HIPAA in this regard. In April the state also presented counties with an offer for specific addresses (but not names) of COVID-19 patients to be shared with 911 centers, but Lebanon County has declined so far to enter that agreement, citing concerns shared by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania that the agreement exposes the county to undue liability. Lancaster Newspapers has reported that the Lancaster County Commissioners share this view as well. In any event, that agreement, if ratified, would prevent county officials from sharing the data with the public.
How does Lebanon County look compared to other counties?
This is a complicated question and there’s no one answer to it. In our primary daily update, we track a few specific ratios:
- Postive Cases as Percent of Overall Population
- Overall Tests as Percent of Overall Population
- Positive Cases as Percent of Overall Tests
In general, Lebanon County will be doing well if we can continue to increase #1 while holding steady with #2. In that scenario, #3 would necessarily go down.
How does the state define a COVID-19 case?
Initially cases were only listed by the state if a positive test had been recorded. In April, the state began including probable cases as well. Here is how the state defines probable cases:
- Appropriate symptoms of COVID-19 and exposed to a high-risk scenario
- A positive antibody test and either symptoms or a high-risk exposure
- A fatal case with no known test result, but COVID-19 named as either the primary or a contributing cause of death
Probable cases were counted in the overall death count for some time, but the DOH reversed course on that decision. Additionally, positive antibody, or serology, tests are also being counted towards the positive case count. The state does not include negative antibody tests in its negative case data.
How many tests have been done in Lebanon County?
This is a complicated question. The state does not track, at least publicly, the total number of outstanding tests at the county level. WellSpan Health began disclosing hospital-specific data related to COVID-19 testing and treatment on April 22 and we include this information in our daily update above. One complication here is that just because a test was administered in a specific county, does not mean that the person who received the test resides in that same county. However the state has recently added the number of negative tests to its county-level data. By adding the negative tests number with the total cases number, we can estimate the total number of tests taken by Lebanon County residents, although this figure should be seen as a proxy and not an absolute or highly precise measure.
How many people have recovered from COVID-19?
The state began reporting a recovery count in late May and we have begun including this figure in our daily tracker updates.
How can Lebanon County and the Department of Health have two different numbers for COVID-19 deaths?
The Department of Health has said that fatal cases which are not reported through the state’s electronic system may not be captured in the official counts. Likewise, cases reported directly to the state may not also be reported to the county coroner. Read more on this subject in our article with Lebanon County Coroner Dr. Jeffery Yocum here. Additionally, the state and county have different criteria for registering a death – the state counts a death if the deceased tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of their death, whereas the county counts a death if COVID-19 symptoms were the primary cause of death.
How did you select which ZIP codes to list?
Some local ZIP codes include land in other counties as well as in Lebanon County. To be comprehensive we have included any ZIP code that falls even partly inside county lines. Note that Ono (17077), Quentin (17083), Rexmont (17085), and Schaefferstown (17088) are still not present in the source data.
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Full Disclosure: WellSpan Health is an advertiser on LebTown at present. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.