Officials: COVID-19 surge in Blair County caused by increased testing, lack of social distancing

Local News

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — So far, there have been 71 new confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Blair County for the month of July. That’s double the number of cases in the county from March through June.

County Public Safety Director Mark Taylor said the large cause behind the surge is an increase in testing at area nursing homes and hospitals. Also a reason is lack of social distancing.

“You all see it. People simply aren’t following the six foot or less than 15 minute recommendation. We also know that there is a general complacency as people are trying to get back to something close to normal,” he said.

But it’s not all bad news. Taylor said Blair County has the lowest death rate in the Commonwealth at 0.08. Also, there have been little to no cases in first responders, hospital workers, county employees, or the county prison.

But the fight against the virus is far from over.

“We all still have some real concerns as we work through these difficult times together. There is still the risk of community spread. We need to do everything we can to protect those most vulnerable,” Taylor said.

According to recent cases in the county, most patients were asymptomatic, which Commissioner Laura Burke said is even more of a reason for folks to social distance and wear masks when possible.

“You don’t know if you could be the one who’s spreading the disease, so we all have a role to play in keeping each other safe,” she said.

Taylor is also looking for volunteers to form a Blair County Contact Tracing Team and working with different agencies to prepare for mass vaccinations when one becomes available.

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