COVID Zip Code Data Suggest Exceptionally High November Infection Rates for Mount Pocono & Tobyhanna
(TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN NOV 24 2020)- Since about April, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has provided new case information by zip code. That information is part of the department's Pennsylvania COVID-19 Dashboard. The dashboard contains a great deal of information on the state and local level. This includes new cases, hospitalization numbers, testing results, and demographics.
Unfortunately, unlike with virtually all of the other data it reports, the state does not provide historical numbers at the zip-code level, so detailed trend information going back beyond November 13 is not available. It was on the 13th that we captured the Top of the Mountain case data by zip code. We had also obtained Mount Pocono data in early October, at which point the borough had 47 total cases since the start of the pandemic. By late October, that number was 51, where it was still when we checked it on November 6.
On November 13 this is what we found broken down by post offices: Blakeslee - 64 Long Pond - 53
Mount Pocono - 59 (an 8-case gain in one week) Pocono Pines - 18 Pocono Lake - 24 Pocono Summit - 46 Tobyhanna - 244 When we followed up on November 18, Blakeslee had 70 cases, a six-case increase, Long Pond gained two more cases, Mount Pocono also increased by two cases, to 61, Pocono Summit added a single case, and Tobyhanna had 18 additional cases. Pocono Pines and Pocono Lake were unchanged. On November 18 the case counts were: Blakeslee - 70 Long Pond - 55
Mount Pocono - 61 Pocono Pines - 18 Pocono Lake - 24 Pocono Summit - 47 Tobyhanna - 262 Today. Blakeslee is reported to have had five more cases since the 18th, Long Pond six, Mount Pocono added two more, Pocono Lake recorded three additional cases, and Tobyhanna added 31 to their tally. The November 24 cases counts are: Blakeslee - 75 (+11 since 11/13) Long Pond - 61 (+8 since 11/13)
Mount Pocono - 63 (+12 since 11/6) Pocono Pines - 18 (+0 since 11/13) Pocono Lake - 27 (+3 since 11/13) Pocono Summit - 47 (+1 since 11/13) Tobyhanna - 293 (+49 since 11/13) Since November 6, Mount Pocono has had 12 confirmed cases. Based on its population, this equates to an "incidence rate" of about 389 -- almost four times the incidence level (100) which would constitute "substantial" community spread. Coolbaugh Township's 49 new cases among residence serviced by the Tobyhanna Post Office, since November 13 translates to an incidence rate of 306. Note that cases are recorded by zip code, not municipality of residence. Zip codes do not always correspond to the geographic boundaries of municipalities and often cross county lines as well. Also, cases are recorded based on the patient's official home address, not where they were when they were exposed or tested positive for the virus. An individual with an Ohio home address, for example, but who tested positive here in Monroe County, would be added to his home state/zip counts, not to Monroe County's case numbers. The incidence rates are general and not precise for two reasons. Without the daily numbers for at least 14-days, we can only extrapolate to the incident rate, which measures change in 14-day periods. Second, the zip codes include persons outside the municipality serviced by the post office, and exclude some within the municipalities who are serviced by a different post office. But they do provide evidence of the general direction of the trends in cases on the mountain.