Pa. coronavirus update: 631 new cases bring state to 103K total; 25 more deaths reported. How deadly is COVID – cases in Pennsylvania increased by 631 in Wednesday’s report from the state health department, a sharp drop from the 1,000 new cases reported the previous day, potentially due in part to data missing from the state’s largest city.

Pennsylvania’s coronavirus case count now stands at 103,396. With 25 more deaths, the COVID-19 death toll has risen to 7,063.

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Despite a monthlong rise in cases statewide, the local case rate in the Lehigh Valley remains low and steady. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has provided an update on its contact-tracing program, and a Wall Street Journal analysis attempts to pinpoint the true coronavirus death rate.

Here are your Pennsylvania coronavirus updates for July 22, 2020. outbreak in Pa.

The data released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of did not include a new COVID-19 case count from Philadelphia, one of two areas that has lately led the state in daily tallies.

The other, Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, which for weeks has led Pennsylvania’s surge, had 96 new cases in Wednesday’s report, the first time the county has seen fewer than 100 a day since June 29.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

State health officials have logged an overall increase in testing in recent weeks – and seen increasing numbers of cases in younger adults as Pennsylvania’s economy has reopened.

However, those 65 and older are most likely to be hospitalized or die. Nursing home residents account for about 18% of Pennsylvania’s total cases but 68% of deaths, according to health department data.

The health department estimates 75% of Pennsylvania’s coronavirus patients have recovered so far.

How deadly is COVID-19?

A Wall Street Journal analysis published this week attempted to pinpoint the COVID-19 death rate by looking at more than two dozen studies that accounted both known cases and estimates of those who may have gone undiagnosed. According to the report, most put the death rate between 0.5% and 1%, meaning the coronavirus kills five to 10 of every 1,000 people who get it – five to 10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the official death rate at 0.65%.

But the calculation is based in part on people who have tested positive, and the true number of cases may be much higher than what is known., citing different data from the CDC, reports that cases in Pennsylvania may be 6.8 times what’s so far been reported.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.) in the Lehigh Valley

With 27 new cases and two deaths reported in the last day, the Lehigh Valley now totals 8,269 cases and 622 deaths, according to the state figures. That breaks down to:

  • 4,600 cases and 334 deaths in Lehigh County, an increase of 15 cases and one death.
  • 3,669 cases and 288 deaths in Northampton County, an increase of 12 cases and one death.

(Can’t see the chart? Click here.)

Here is how nearby counties stand, and how they changed in the last day:

  • Berks County has 4,889 cases and 362 deaths, an increase of 24 cases and one death.
  • Bucks County has 6,513 cases and 573 deaths, an increase of 46 cases.
  • Carbon County has 335 cases and 28 deaths, an increase of five cases.
  • Monroe County has 1,534 cases and 120 deaths, an increase of four cases and one death.
  • Montgomery County has 9,282 cases and 839 deaths, an increase of 60 cases and two deaths.
  • Schuylkill County has 828 cases and 49 deaths, an increase of two cases and one death.

(Can’t see the table? Click here.)

Contact tracing in Pennsylvania

Contact tracing – the process of monitoring people who may have contracted COVID-19 from a positive patient – is an essential part of controlling the pandemic.

In an update Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of said it has 661 contact tracers. That’s more than the 625 the state estimates it needs, but the health department says that need could grow by hundreds or even thousands if the virus resurges in the fall.

The tracers are distributed by region, most of which have a few dozen working with community organizations and health systems.

The Northeast region, which includes the Lehigh Valley, Poconos and Scranton, has at least 69 contact tracers, according to the state. The southeast region, which includes Philadelphia and its suburbs out through Reading, has 380.

The health department is hiring contact tracing field managers. Positions are listed at

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Steve Novak may be reached at

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