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DOH Says ‘Technical Issues’ Delay Release of Accurate COVID-19 Data for Saturday

Editor’s note: The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported on Saturday night that technical issues delayed the release of COVID-19 data for Saturday, March 27. Data displayed on the DOH COVID-19 dashboard on Saturday morning that was used for the original version of this story appeared in error, according to the department. Full weekend data will be released on Monday.

Centre County and Pennsylvania both appeared to have reported their highest COVID-19 case increases since late January on Saturday, but the Department of Health said the numbers displayed on its COVID-19 dashboard were not accurate.

The dashboard showed that county added 181 new COVID-19 cases — its most since Jan. 31 — to bring its total to 14,406, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Statewide, there were 7,132 new positives — the highest increase since Jan. 29 — for a total of 1,012,299.

The county also had 96 additional negative test results, increasing its total to 64,540. Across Pennsylvania, there were 7,342 new negatives for a total of 4,102,443.

In a news release on Saturday night, hours after the dashboard had been updated, DOH said that due to technical issues COVID-19 data would not be released on Saturday. The data that appeared on the updated dashboard was displayed in error. Full weekend data will be released on Monday.

For the week of March 19-25, the county’s PCR testing positivity rate was 9.2%, up from 7.2% the previous seven days, according to the updated DOH early warning monitoring dashboard. Pennsylvania’s statewide positivity rate was 7.6%, up from 6.5% the previous week.

Locally, the increase comes amid an ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, as well as the detection of the more highly transmissible and potent B117 variant in the State College area. The “concerning” trend led Penn State and State College officials to hold a joint press conference on Friday urging community members to continue masking, frequent hand washing, distancing and avoiding large gatherings — and to get vaccinated when they are eligible.

“The nicer weather combined with the anticipated mass vaccinations on the horizon are prompting many to forgo health precautions like masking and physical distancing,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “It’s a phenomenon that’s happening across the country, but I’m very concerned to see it occurring at University Park and in the community.”

According to DOH’s hospital preparedness dashboard, which includes Mount Nittany Medical Center and rehabilitation hospitals, 22 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in Centre County, including three on ventilators and in intensive care.

At Mount Nittany, COVID-19 inpatient numbers in recent days have been at their highest levels in more than six weeks, including 22 COVID inpatients between the ages of 18 and 88 on Friday.

“COVID-19 is a serious disease with an unpredictable course and should not be taken lightly,” Dr. Christopher Hester, chief clinical officer of primary care services for Mount Nittany Health, said on Friday. “We do not want to get to the point again where we need to limit services because of the number of hospitalized covid patients. We would all like to get back to normal, but this pandemic is not over.”

Statewide, hospitalizations continue to tick up as well, with 1,795 COVID-19 inpatients, including 363 in intensive care and 200 on ventilators as of Saturday morning.

Centre County’s total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 remained at 213 on Saturday, marking three weeks since the last was reported.

With 33 new COVID-19 deaths reported statewide, Pennsylvania’s total is 24,986.

An estimated 91% of COVID-19 patients in the state have recovered, per a health department calculation.

A total of 41,854 people in Centre County are at least partially covered by the COVID-19 vaccine. The total includes 25,852 who are fully covered, either through the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both required doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, according to health department data.

Centre County’s cases by zip code, according to data that appeared on DOH dashboard:

*Note: Changes are in brackets. Specific numbers for zip codes with 1-4 cases are redacted by the health department.

16801 (State College): 4,997 confirmed [+31], 369 probable [+16]

16823 (Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap): 2344 confirmed [+14], 220 probable [+27]

16803 (State College): 1,258 confirmed [+13], 154 probable [+4]

16802 (University Park): 1,120 confirmed [+26], 52 probable [+5]

16866 (Philipsburg): 783 confirmed [+2], 123 probable [+9]

16870 (Port Matilda): 435 confirmed [+1], 67 probable [+1]

16841 (Howard): 353 confirmed [+2], 40 probable [+2]

16845 (Karthaus): 261 confirmed, 9 probable

16828 (Centre Hall): 257 confirmed [+1], 32 probable [+2]

16827 (Boalsburg): 256 confirmed [+1], 40 probable [+2]

16875 (Spring Mills): 246 confirmed [+3], 35 probable [+2]

16844 (Julian): 180 confirmed, 23 probable [+4]

16853 (Milesburg): 121 confirmed, 6 probable

16877 (Warrior’s Mark): 103 confirmed, 17 probable [+1]

16874 (Snow Shoe): 97 confirmed [+1], 13 probable

16865 (Pennsylvania Furnace): 78 confirmed, 9 probable

16826 (Blanchard): 70 confirmed [+3], 8 probable [-1]

16829 (Clarence): 63 confirmed, 13 probable

16872 (Rebersburg): 61 confirmed, 6 probable

16854 (Millheim): 60 confirmed, 6 probable

16851 (Lemont): 55 confirmed, 6 probable [+1]

16820 (Aaronsburg): 48 confirmed, 19 probable [+6]

16859 (Moshannon): 42 confirmed, 1-4 probable

16856 (Mingoville): 28 confirmed, 6 probable

16868 (Pine Grove Mills): 26 confirmed, 1-4 probable

16677 (Sandy Ridge): 26 confirmed [+1], 1-4 probable

16832 (Coburn): 25 confirmed, 1-4 probable

16852 (Madisonburg): 17 confirmed, 1-4 probable

16863 (Orviston): 13 confirmed

16835 (Fleming): 11 confirmed, 6 probable

16804 (State College): 10 confirmed

16882 (Woodward): 8 confirmed

16805 (State College): 1-4 confirmed

Among Centre County’s bordering counties, Blair now has 11,144 [+113] total cases, Clearfield has 7,048 [+56], Union has 5,436 [+37], Mifflin has 4,807 [+63], Huntingdon has 4,581 [+66] and Clinton has 3,059 [+28].