The latest vaccination statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard illustrate why health officials are concerned about the monthslong sag in vaccinations.
Only a small group of Berks residents have completed all the recommended vaccinations. That number for Berks is 13,145, nearly 3.1% of the 429,000 Berks residents.
That recommendation is a second booster for the general public or a total of four shots for the immunocompromised portion of the population.
The rate is only slightly higher statewide at nearly 3.2%.
Dr. Denise Johnson, acting state secretary of health, was in Reading recently and said that 17,000 vaccinations have been given daily for the past month, but the majority of those shots have been fourth doses.
Berks stats are a microcosm of Pennsylvania. In the past week:
1,445: Second boosters and fourth shots.
598: First boosters and third shots.
445: Completed two shots and considered fully vaccinated.
Officials are concerned that the effectiveness of vaccines wane, leaving those who aren’t up to date increasingly open to infection.
The weekly report
The upward trend of COVID cases and reinfections continued for the seventh week in Berks and across Pennsylvania in the most recent Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
It was the second biggest weekly increase yet in the second omicron surge across Pa., with the state now averaging about 4,000 new cases and reinfections daily.
Berks remains well below the state average in the rate of new cases but the positivity rate is nearly as high as the state overall.
The Berks infection rate is up to 128.7 cases per 100,000 population, about a 60% jump from the previous week, which saw a 50% jump.
The positivity rate was up to 16.2%, a jump of more than 5 points in a week.
The overall state numbers climbed to 166.6 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 16.5%.
Adjoining counties that had previously performed well in the pandemic but are running hot are:
• Chester: 181.7 cases per 100,000 and 17.0%.
• Montgomery: 210.9 per 100,000 and 19.5%.
Both those counties have been elevated by the CDC to high risk, along with adjoining Lehigh County, which has 212.3 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 21.1%
Chester has about 100,000 more residents than Berks and Montgomery has nearly double the population. Lehigh has slightly fewer residents than Berks.
The other three counties that adjoin Berks: Schuylkill, moderate risk; and Lancaster and Lebanon, low risk.
Some of the statistics in this second omicron surge would have alarmed state health officials in phases of the pandemic period. The pandemic hasn’t been officially declared over.
Pennsylvania dropped daily updates on May 4 and went to weekly updates of its main COVID dashboard and monthly press releases about cases, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations.
The count of COVID deaths of Berks residents is 1,597, with COVID deaths recorded in Berks at 1,457.
Hundreds of Berks residents have died outside the county and a lesser number of nonresidents have died in Berks. The exact numbers are no longer tracked.
The national picture
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the third omicron derivative, known as BA.2.12.1, continued to gain ground. It has been blamed for at least part of the surge in cases.
Nationally it’s growth has slowed and it is 47.5% of all the cases. In the mid-Atlantic, however, the derivative has reached 56.1%.
The second derivative of omicron, BA.2, remains the other significant source of cases.
The latest seven-day average is 101,029 cases, according to the CDC. The 2022 low point in the seven-day average was 24,843 on March 29.
The current seven-day average is about 13% of the same average at the height of the first omicron surge.
The unknown component continues to be the number of people testing at home who are not reporting the results.
Source: Berkshire mont