Editor’s Note: We are standardizing the format for daily COVID-19 case data updates. These articles may feel repetitious but we want each one to stand alone in terms of providing maximum context around the data. This is the update for Wednesday, December 30.

The number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 residents is currently at 1,032 for Lebanon County.

In terms of relative comparisons, the current figure of 1,032 new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 residents is 21% higher compared to Lebanon County’s figures one month ago and 19% lower compared to 14 days ago. The current count of 1,032 new cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 residents is 296% higher than the all-time high this spring, 261, which occurred on April 21.

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The positive rate was 12% in May, 9% in June, 5.4% in July, 4.3% in August, 8.2% in September, 16.9% in October, and 26.7% in November. So far, in December, the positive rate is 43.6%.

In terms of raw numbers, Lebanon County is now tracking at 8,716 cases of the novel coronavirus, according to current Pennsylvania Department of Health data, with 35,482 negative tests and 152 deaths. (All figures in this article are based on DOH data unless otherwise noted.)

Calculated as a percentage of confirmed cases, coronavirus currently has a mortality rate of 1.7% in Lebanon County – although due to still-limited testing as well as the occurrence of asymptomatic/undetected cases, the actual mortality rate may be lower than that. The mortality rate is however much higher in nursing homes and in general the virus should still be considered as extremely dangerous, especially for people with existing conditions. Department of Health data indicates that only 37% of death records did not include comorbidity data, with the additional caveat that “medical certifiers often underreport comorbidity data.” Dementia, hypertension, diabetes, and coronary conditions are top comorbidities in the state.

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The Department of Health reports a total “recovered” percentage as part of its daily updates. A person is considered recovered if a case has not been reported as a death after more than 30 days past the date of the first positive test or the onset of symptoms. At present, the state says 66% of cases are considered recovered.

Daily new cases over last 14 days per 100,000 residents

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Read More: Spotlight PA’s statewide coronavirus tracker

For additional context, the southcentral region is currently at 1,000, Lancaster County is at 847, Philadelphia County is at 574, and the state overall is at 875.

The southcentral region includes Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, and York counties.

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782 of the Lebanon County cases are probable cases. Probable cases are primarily based on designations made by healthcare providers based on symptoms and known exposures. See more about probable cases in our FAQ below.

Daily new cases and negative results as 7-day trailing average

Positive test rate as 7-day trailing average

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The Department of Health is reporting 152 deaths as of today, while Lebanon County is reporting 86. According to county data, the 86 deaths are linked to residents from Lebanon County municipalities as follows:

  • Annville Township (1)
  • City of Lebanon (7)
  • Cleona Borough (1)
  • Cornwall Borough (3)
  • Jackson Township (3)
  • Jonestown Borough (1)
  • Palmyra Borough (1)
  • Myerstown Borough (16)
  • North Cornwall Township (7)
  • North Lebanon Township (3)
  • Richland Borough (4)
  • South Lebanon Township (35)
  • Swatara Township (3)

Daily new cases as 7-day trailing average

The state began breaking cases out by ZIP code in mid-April. See below for how cases looked across Lebanon County ZIP codes as of the last time the data was updated.

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  • 17003 (Annville) – 401 positive, 2,294 negative, 40 probable
  • 17010 (Campbelltown) – seven positive, 52 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
  • 17016 (Cornwall) – 41 positive, 223 negative, five probable
  • 17026 (Fredericksburg) – 162 positive, 653 negative, 21 probable
  • 17028 (Grantville) – 98 positive, 576 negative, 10 probable
  • 17038 (Jonestown) – 405 positive, 1,509 negative, 48 probable
  • 17041 (Lawn) – 1-4 positive (redacted), 18 negative, zero probable
  • 17042 (Lebanon) – 2,705 positive, 11,260 negative, 248 probable
  • 17046 (Lebanon) – 2,407 positive, 7,852 negative, 160 probable
  • 17064 (Mount Gretna) – 38 positive, 227 negative, 1-4 probable (redacted)
  • 17067 (Myerstown) – 809 positive, 2,870 negative, 86 probable
  • 17073 (Newmanstown) – 238 positive, 1,010 negative, 28 probable
  • 17078 (Palmyra) – 810 positive, 5,350 negative, 65 probable
  • 17087 (Richland) – 148 positive, 494 negative, 13 probable
  • 17545 (Manheim) – 992 positive, 4,944 negative, 63 probable
  • 17963 (Pine Grove) – 364 positive, 1,614 negative, 22 probable
  • 19551 (Robesonia) – 203 positive, 901 negative, 22 probable
  • 19567 (Womelsdorf) – 292 positive, 994 negative, 24 probable

The share of cases linked to nursing homes climbed steadily through earlier stages of the pandemic, currently registering at approximately 1 out of every 7 cases being a nursing home resident or staff member. According to DOH data from 2017, Lebanon County is among the Pennsylvania counties with the highest number of nursing home beds per capita and the highest nursing home occupancy rates.

Deaths from COVID-19 occur at a far higher rate in nursing home residents than among the general population, with these deaths comprising the majority of overall deaths linked to the novel coronavirus in Lebanon County.

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Percentage of COVID-19 cases linked to nursing homes

Percentage of COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes

As of Wednesday, Dec. 28, the state was reporting COVID-19 cases at 18 nursing homes or personal care facility in the county, with 616 cases among residents and 90 cases among employees. According to DOH data, there have been 87 coronavirus-linked deaths at Lebanon County nursing homes or personal care facilities to date.

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As of mid-April, WellSpan Health has made available a dashboard showing hospital-specific data. Currently there are 52 confirmed acute inpatient COVID-19 cases at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital.

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WellSpan Good Sam in-patient census

WellSpan Good Sam in-patient census as Percentage of 14 day new cases

According to WellSpan data, 66 deaths have occurred at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital as a result of coronavirus. WellSpan notes that this information is not based on patient residency and therefore may differ from DOH statistics.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs also makes some information available regarding treatment of coronavirus at its facilities. As of today, the Lebanon VA Medical Center is providing care to 92 people who tested positive for COVID-19 as “active cases,” 71 veterans, 19 employees, and two other people. Active cases are defined as patients tested or treated at a VA facility for known or probable COVID-19 who have neither died nor reached convalescent status, which is itself defined as patients who are “either post-hospital discharge, or 14 days after their last positive test, whichever comes later.” 920 additional people (796 veterans, 116 employees, three veteran-employees, and five other people) are considered convalescent cases at present. The facility has recorded 62 known deaths from the virus. These figures include residents of the VA’s long-term care Community Living Centers.

Additional Charts

Here’s how Lebanon County’s confirmed case count has grown since the pandemic began.

Here’s how confirmed cases compare to overall tests in Lebanon County.

Here’s how the daily number of new cases in Lebanon County looks.

Here’s how that looks when negative tests are included.

Here is a chart that shows an estimated mortality rate based on a thirty day recovery period from the time of the state receiving a positive test result.

See our full dataset here.

Relative Comparisons

Here’s how Lebanon County compares to other counties, as well as the region and state, across three main metrics.

Postive Cases as Percent of Overall Population

Postive Cases as Percent of Overall Population

Overall Tests as Percent of Overall Population

Overall Tests as Percent of Overall Population

Positive Cases as Percent of Overall Tests

Positive Cases as Percent of Overall Tests

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are COVID-19 cases occurring in Lebanon County?

The state began releasing ZIP-level date on April 20 and intends to update this dataset daily. We now include it in the main update above. Some ZIP codes are missing at this point and the DOH says they are working on including them. Previously, the DOH had declined to share ZIP code level data, citing HIPAA concerns. LebTown editorialized on this issue and questioned the applicability of HIPAA in this regard. In April the state also presented counties with an offer for specific addresses (but not names) of COVID-19 patients to be shared with 911 centers, but Lebanon County has declined so far to enter that agreement, citing concerns shared by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania that the agreement exposes the county to undue liability. Lancaster Newspapers has reported that the Lancaster County Commissioners share this view as well. In any event, that agreement, if ratified, would prevent county officials from sharing the data with the public.

How does Lebanon County look compared to other counties?

This is a complicated question and there’s no one answer to it. In our primary daily update, we track a few specific ratios:

  1. Postive Cases as Percent of Overall Population
  2. Overall Tests as Percent of Overall Population
  3. Positive Cases as Percent of Overall Tests

In general, Lebanon County will be doing well if we can continue to increase #2 while holding steady with #1. In that scenario, #3 would necessarily go down.

How does the state define a COVID-19 case?

Initially cases were only listed by the state if a positive test had been recorded. In April, the state began including probable cases as well. Here is how the state defines probable cases:

  • Appropriate symptoms of COVID-19 and exposed to a high-risk scenario
  • A positive antibody test and either symptoms or a high-risk exposure
  • A fatal case with no known test result, but COVID-19 named as either the primary or a contributing cause of death

Probable cases were counted in the overall death count for some time, but the DOH reversed course on that decision. Additionally, positive antibody, or serology, tests are also being counted towards the positive case count. The state does not include negative antibody tests in its negative case data.

“The most common explanation for (probable cases) is the spouse of someone who tested positive,” said DOH spokesperson Nate Wardle in an email to LebTown. “As someone who would be a caregiver for someone who tested positive, if they were to develop symptoms they would likely not need to be tested, and would be considered a probable case.”

Probable cases can also include positive antibody tests, but antibody tests comprise just 34% of overall statewide probable cases and in Lebanon County, neither WellSpan Health, Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center, nor UPMC Pinnacle are actively conducting antibody testing at this time, with Quest Diagnostics being the only firm known to offer this type of testing at present. Tests could however be performed on Lebanon County residents at facilities outside of the county and show up on state data, which is based on county of residence.

Read More: Pa. is mixing coronavirus test results, and that could distort our view of the disease

How many tests have been done in Lebanon County?

This is a complicated question. The state does not track, at least publicly, the total number of outstanding tests at the county level. WellSpan Health began disclosing hospital-specific data related to COVID-19 testing and treatment on April 22 and we include this information in our daily update above. One complication here is that just because a test was administered in a specific county, does not mean that the person who received the test resides in that same county. However the state has recently added the number of negative tests to its county-level data. By adding the negative tests number with the total cases number, we can estimate the total number of tests taken by Lebanon County residents, although this figure should be seen as a proxy and not an absolute or highly precise measure.

How many people have recovered from COVID-19?

The state began reporting a recovery count in late May and we have begun including this figure in our daily tracker updates.

How can Lebanon County and the Department of Health have two different numbers for COVID-19 deaths?

The Department of Health has said that fatal cases which are not reported through the state’s electronic system may not be captured in the official counts. Likewise, cases reported directly to the state may not also be reported to the county coroner. Read more on this subject in our article with Lebanon County Coroner Dr. Jeffery Yocum here. Additionally, the state and county have different criteria for registering a death – the state counts a death if the deceased tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of their death, whereas the county counts a death if COVID-19 symptoms were the primary cause of death.

How did you select which ZIP codes to list?

Some local ZIP codes include land in other counties as well as in Lebanon County. To be comprehensive we have included any ZIP code that falls even partly inside county lines. Note that Ono (17077), Quentin (17083), Rexmont (17085), and Schaefferstown (17088) are still not present in the source data.


Read all of LebTown’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Access LebTown’s comprehensive COVID-19 resource guide here.

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Full Disclosure: WellSpan Health is an advertiser on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.

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