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Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

Schuylkill County to Yellow Phase on May 29

tom wolf borg press conference

Despite daily case totals of Chinese virus being higher than they’ve been in weeks, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf decided to move Schuylkill County to the Yellow phase of the coronavirus reopening plan on Friday.

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Schuylkill County to Yellow Phase on May 29

Earlier today, we showed you a chart released by State Sen. Dave Argall that indicated daily case numbers for Schuylkill County were actually trending in the wrong direction the last week or two.

However, we also said that those numbers were, at best, misleading. And today proves us right on that.

Here’s that chart once again:

schuylkill county coronavirus cases chart

Image provided by PA Sen. Dave Argall

The state reported 12 new cases of Chinese virus in Schuylkill County today. That would have moved our 14 day daily average even higher.

So, why move to Yellow? Because these numbers are false as they’re being reported as “new” cases. They’re only new in reporting them. The cases, in many respects, are old.

They include old cases and positive antibody tests that are being called “new” by the state Health Secretary Rachel Levine.

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But that didn’t stop Levine and Wolf from telling Schuylkill County Commissioners last week that we needed to improve our daily case totals in order to get out of the Red phase and into the Yellow.

Carnegie Mellon University Risk Modeling

Of course, this wasn’t the only metric that the Wolf administration used to determine who gets to go Yellow. Another was modeling data from Carnegie Mellon University that factors in:

  • Daily Case Totals
  • Commute Risk
  • ICU Capacity Risk
  • Population Density Risk
  • Population Age Risk
  • Re-opening Contact Risk

You can see on this barely visible chart below that, compared to other counties in the Southeast region that the state said it wasn’t really using even though it obviously is, Schuylkill County is far less risky than others.

Our biggest risk is the ICU Capacity followed by the 14-day case rate. Our population density (how many people live on top of each other, not how dense their minds are) is our smallest risk whereas other counties in the Southeast region see that as their biggest risk.

The lower the dot on the chart, the lower the risk:

CMU risk chart

Our lowest risk factors haven’t changed since the middle 20th Century. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve never even come close to reaching full hospital capacity, especially for ICU beds.

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So, then, why are we going Yellow now after all this time when our daily case totals are higher than they’ve been in a month? Because they’re not being up front about what’s included in those daily case totals.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Schuylkill County

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