HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — No county in all of Pennsylvania had a higher COVID-19 test positivity rate than Juniata county’s 27.1 percent rate for the most recent week reported (Nov. 20-Nov. 26). Mifflin, at 22.7 percent, was No. 2 by that metric in both the Midstate and the whole state — this on a day when Dr. Rachel Levine, the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Health, said the 4,405 current statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19, at the end of November, have “clearly surpassed” the worst such figures from the pandemic’s previous April peak. Of the 4,405 hospitalized patients, 914 are in intensive care units, and 465 are on ventilators.
As November began, hospitalizations remained below early-pandemic figures, even as other metrics spiked. Levine noted then that hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag figures such as positive test rates.
The Midstate’s 10 counties, ranked by their COVID-19 test positivity rates:
|Midstate rank||PA rank (of 67 counties)||County||COVID-19 test positivity rate||Midstate rank||PA rank (of 67 counties)||County||COVID-19 test positivity rate|
Ranked by another key metric for comparing counties of different sizes — current COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents — Mifflin and Juniata were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Midstate, and No 2. and No. 4 in Pennsylvania:
|Midstate rank||PA rank (of 67 counties)||County||Cases per 100,000 residents||Midstate rank||PA rank (of 67 counties)||County||Cases per 100,000 residents|
In Mifflin, nearly one out of every 1,000 residents has COVID-19. Juniata (with an estimated 24,704 residents, according to the U.S. Census) and Mifflin (with 46,138) are the Midstate’s least populated counties.
At Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, which serves both counties, 41 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients out of a total of 86 occupied beds as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to figures provided by Geisinger. The hospital has 130 beds. At Geisinger Lewistown, as at other rural hospitals, officials have said the top challenge is often staffing, not space. Geisinger has said it is accommodating patients by transporting them to other hospitals in its system when necessary.
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