As the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the area continues to increase, many residents have grown concerned over how local medical facilities are handling the pandemic.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, David Trudell, a representative for Penn Highlands, stated that their medical facilities in Tyrone and Huntingdon are currently housing 10 COVID-19 positive patients between the two of them. Earlier in the week, Penn Highlands Tyrone reported one positive inpatient.

He also mentioned that rapid testing is available at Penn Highlands Huntingdon. If tested, a person will likely know their results within one to seven days, depending on the volume of testing that the laboratory is doing.

Trudell advised that those waiting for their test results should self-quarantine to their homes, interact with others as little as possible and wear a mask if avoiding others isn’t feasible.

Furthermore, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends that people make “a list of contacts that you have had from two days before you became sick until you began isolation. Close contacts are people who have been within six feet of you for 15 minutes or more.”

Regarding the upcoming holidays, Trudell strongly suggested that people limit their Thanksgiving celebrations to include only immediate family members.

“For those who plan on having a big get-together, there are things you can do,” he added. “You can get a flu shot before Thanksgiving. Hold the gathering outside or wear masks if that isn’t possible. You can also have food delivered instead of visiting a grocery store and shop online instead of going out on Black Friday.”

Of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine, Trudell said that, when it becomes available, it will most likely first be distributed to those who are considered the most vulnerable and those who are at-risk. Eventually, the vaccine will be made available for everyone.

“However,” he said, “getting the vaccine will not be mandatory. Legally, the government can’t do that. They can mandate it for certain groups like health workers, but they can’t do it for the general public.”

E. S. Young can be reached at eyoung@thedailyherald.net.

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