Berks County backed away from its delta-variant surge record Thursday in the state Department of Health dashboard, adding 78 COVID-19 cases down from 121 the day before.
The pandemic case total reached 50,443.
The seven-day case average remained at 80, and the 14-day ticked up one to 76.
Each new case is a new person testing positive. The averages smooth the uneven reporting of test results.
The daily update is calculated with the numbers gathered at the end of the prior day, in this case Wednesday.
Pennsylvania added 3,333 cases Thursday, and the pandemic total was moving up from 1.28 million.
On Wednesday, the health department added 5,227 cases from early in the pandemic from Philadelphia in a paperwork cleanup but that number has not been included in the cumulative total for the pandemic.
Berks had 2.3% of the new cases in Pennsylvania, with a population of 3.3% of the state.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed Berks in the top tier of the community spread at 127 positives per 100,000 population over a seven-day period ending Tuesday.
The CDC uses all positive nasal swab tests to provide that ranking, including repeat positives. The state’s weekly report on Saturday will provide a clue on how many total positives there are versus first-time positives.
COVID hospitalizations increased in Berks and across Pennsylvania.
Berks saw an increase of three, to 37 total patients, with nine in intensive care. There was no change in the ICU number.
Pennsylvania saw an increase of 28 COVID patients with the total hospitalized rising to 1,645. It has been a nearly uninterrupted daily seven-week rise in hospitalizations roughly sevenfold since the bottom of the pandemic on July 14 with 243.
Among the hospitalized across the state, there were 12 more people in the ICUs for a total of 474.
Reading Hospital’s daily morning update of its dashboard had 27 COVID patients with five in intensive care and one discharge in the preceding 24 hours.
There were two more deaths of Berks residents reported in the state update.
The pandemic total increased to 1,047. Those were the first deaths of Berks residents since July 23.
The state provides no details of the deaths but it’s likely they are the latest of five Berks residents who were part of the report Tuesday by the county coroner’s office.
There were a total of six deaths, but one victim did not live in Berks.
The coroner reports on deaths in real time, and the state adds the deaths as paperwork is received electronically or via the postal service.
Statewide, the Berks deaths were part of 27 new COVID deaths reported Thursday. The pandemic total increased to 28,158.
It was a big report on COVID vaccinations in Berks and across Pennsylvania as the delta inoculations surge continued, the dashboard showed.
The completed column continued its upturn with 536 reported in Berks for a total of 193,905 fully inoculated. The partials column increased by five, reaching 23,693.
Still, it indicates a few more people started the process than finished it.
Many in the early phase of delta vaccinations surge are finishing the process now, plus there are many vaccinations also being given by employer mandate.
Statewide, about 11,000 more residents completed the process for a pandemic total above 5.91 million, with 4,676 added to the partials column, increasing that to 730,592.
Seven weeks ago, that completed number was at 5.54 million and partials number bottomed out near 630,000. The math shows about a half-million Pennsylvanians have been a part of the vaccination effort in the delta surge.
A more complete picture of vaccinations is available at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention daily county tracker, which shows that 209,000 Berks County residents are fully vaccinated.
That breaks down to 82.7% of the population age 65 and older, 60.5% of the population age 18 and older and 57.9% of the population age 12 and older.
Anyone age 12 and older is eligible for a vaccine.
The CDC counts the state’s figures and adds doses under direct federal administration, such as Veterans Affairs centers and the nursing home vaccinations early in 2021. Those numbers indicate about 15,000 Berks residents were part of vaccinations under direct federal administration.
The CDC data also shows a total of about 42,000 Berks residents have had only one dose, which is nearly 20,000 more than the state’s count. The reason for that level of discrepancy is unclear.
COVID in Berks
New cases: 78
Pandemic total: 50,443
14-day average: 76
Deaths: state, 1,047; coroner, 989
Fully inoculated: 193,905
Partially inoculated: 23,693
— Reading Eagle
Source: Berkshire mont