CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — COVID-19 cases in Centre County are quickly breaking records and impacting local ordinances.
In January 2021, Mount Nittany Health reported a total 2,045 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Centre County. Just 10 days into January 2022, they reported the county has already surpassed that with 2,289 cases.
“We are more than double the number of 7 day average of new cases in the community than where we were almost a year ago,” said Tom Charles, executive vice president of system development & chief strategy officer for Mount Nittany Medical Center. “The number of cases is rising much more rapidly than the number of hospitalizations has risen.”
The State College medical center has cared for between 40-50 COVID-19 patients a day for the past four months. ranging from 25 to 90 years old. They report about 70% are unvaccinated.
“Other services that we normally provide are being affected, they’re being impacted, because we have to direct resources to the care of COVID patients and also patients who are unable to discharge because of staffing issues in area nursing homes,” said Charles.
Some elective surgeries do resume this week on a limited bases and endoscopies return fully.
Charles said there is good news when looking at the severity of COVID-19 cases.
“We’re not seeing a sustain spike in ICU utilization and ventilator and oxygen utilization, that’s tending to be more intermittent throughout this latest wave,” said Charles.
He added, however, longer wait times may continue for community members seeking emergency treatment.
“The underlying thing that will make our situation get better is to see some relief in the spread of COVID in the community,” said Charles.
After hearing from Mount Nittany, the State College Borough Council unanimously voted to extend their masking ordinance.
The borough is currently the only municipality in Centre County to have an ordinance, not including Penn State University Park; however, Patton Township is considering one.
“Taking COVID seriously is about protecting those around us, it’s a very important duty in our community,” said State College Mayor Ezra Nanes.
The board of health recommends the ordinance continues until there are fewer than 50 weekly cases per 100,000 residents in Centre County.