In his weekly report for COVID-19 for the Huntingdon County Commissioners, Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency director Joe Thompson gave details on just how much the Delta variant of COVID-19 is impacting the county.
“Two weeks ago, we averaged about 17 cases per day; last week, we averaged about 19,” he said. “We also have had four deaths in the county in the last two weeks.”
At Penn Highlands Huntingdon, according to the hospital readiness dashboard for COVID-19, there are 11 COVID-19 patients, with four in the ICU, and seven total ICU beds filled. For frame of reference, there are eight ICU beds at Penn Highlands Huntingdon.
“The majority of new cases of COVID-19 are among unvaccinated people (locally),” said Thompson. “They are being flooded at the emergency department with patients presenting with COVID symptoms.”
This corresponds with the findings announced by the DOH Tuesday afternoon, that noted the 94% of cases are among the unvaccinated, 95% of hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated and 98% of deaths are among the unvaccinated. This is information taken from January through the first week of September, according to the DOH.
The concerning trend of higher cases of COVID-19 among those ages zero to 19 is reflected in county numbers as well, according to numbers reported to the EMA office by the DOH.
“Statewide, cases in children between 0-19 have comprised up to 36% of all new cases in recent days,” said Thompson. “In Huntingdon County cases among school-aged children, ages 5-18, 25 cases were reported in the week of Sept. 2-8. Since Aug. 16, there have been 59 cases.”
Thompson also noted that Penn Highlands Huntingdon is currently experiencing a shortage of rapid COVID-19 test kids.
“Due to increased COVID-19 testing demand causing a shortage of rapid test kits, Penn Highlands Healthcare has advised patients using outpatient services for COVID-19 testing that they may experience
a delay in receiving results.
Thompson also encouraged people to take advantage of vaccine clinics that will be held, including one with the Broad Top Area Medical Center at the Bricktown Senior Center, Mount Union, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, and one from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the Standing Stone Senior Center, Huntingdon. For more information, call Broad Top Area Medical Center at (814)635-2916.
Additionally, a vaccine clinic will be held from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, at the Penn Highlands Education Center, Huntingdon. For more details about that clinic, go to www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c4da8ac2ba2fcc52-920 or call the vaccine hotline at (814)503-4735.
“Anyone with any questions about COVID-19, precautions, testing and vaccines should also call DOH at at 1-877-PA-HEALTH, or 1-877-724-3258, they can also go to their website at www.health.pa.gov or talk to your physician or pharmacist about getting a vaccine,” said Thompson.
Commissioner Jeff Thomas, as he continues to stress each week, stressed that people who haven’t been vaccinated need to get a vaccine as soon as possible.
Thompson also noted the vaccination rate for all eligible county residents to get the vaccine is 44%, and Thomas expressed it was too low. Thompson agreed, and the numbers reflected the low vaccination rate.
In other business, commissioners signed a resolution to co-locate equipment for an existing 911 tower in Bald Eagle, currently owned by Blair County, for 911 services.
Commissioner Mark Sather noted this is part of an intergovernmental agreement for 911 services with several counties, including Blair, in sharing equipment and 911 centers as needed.
The funding that will be used to co-locate UHF antennas to the site will come out of the county’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Funds for 911 improvements, but in the interim, the county will assume all financial responsibilities for locating the equipment to the tower and the maintenance of this equipment on the towers.
A proclamation was also approved to make Wednesday, Sept. 22, the United Way Day of Caring for the county.
Huntingdon County United Way executive director Cindy Ruble Brown said they are hoping to get as many volunteers as possible to fill requests for projects for that day.