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493 New Cases as Officials Prepare for Virus During Heatwave

The Cambria County, Pa., Department of Health reported 493 additional positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 76,436. There were 61 additional deaths, for a total of 6,014 fatalities attributed to COVID-19. There are now 60 cases and two deaths in Cambria County.

by Randy Griffith, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa. / June 10, 2020
(TNS) - One additional Cambria County case was the only local change Tuesday in the state's daily COVID-19 update.

The Department of Health reported 493 additional positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 76,436. There were 61 additional deaths, for a total of 6,014 fatalities attributed to COVID-19.

There are now 60 cases and two deaths in Cambria County, 39 cases and one death in Somerset County, 45 cases and two deaths in Bedford County, and 53 cases and one death in Blair County.
A third Cambria County death reported Monday by Coroner Jeffrey Lees has not been added to the state report.

The health department estimates 71% of those confirmed with coronavirus infections have now recovered. That's about 54,300 recoveries.

There have been 16,247 cases in residents of nursing and personal care homes and 2,824 cases among employees at the homes, which include 618 facilities in 45 counties. A total of 4,117 deaths have occurred in residents of the long-term care homes.

In this region, cases have been reported in long-term facilities in Cambria, Clearfield, Blair, Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

Cambria County reports one case in one home. Clearfield and Blair counties each report two cases in two homes.

Indiana County has had 14 resident cases with four deaths, along with three cases in employees. Four homes have had COVID-19 cases.

Westmoreland County has had 133 resident cases with 28 deaths, along with 37 cases in employees. Ten homes have reported cases.

No long-term care home COVID-19 cases have been reported for Somerset or Bedford counties.
The health department website features a list of all the state's nursing homes, showing which have had COVID-19 cases and deaths. The spreadsheet does not include personal care homes or assisted living homes, which are regulated through the Department of Human Services.
No cases are shown for Cambria County's nine nursing homes.

Homes in the region with cases include Hillview Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Altoona and The Grove at Latrobe and Loyalhanna Care Center, both in Latrobe.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine did not participate in a press briefing on Tuesday, but Ray Barishansky, deputy health secretary for health preparedness and community protection, and Jeff Thomas, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency executive deputy director, provided information on emergency preparedness during the pandemic.

“The reality of COVID-19 will change the way people plan for emergencies, and the time to think about those changes is now, not in the middle of an emergency,” Thomas said, noting that Pennsylvania summer storms can be accompanied by flooding, high winds and tornadoes.

“Any actions to protect yourself from immediate threats to life safety should take priority, such as sheltering during severe weather,” Barishansky said. “However, whenever possible, all COVID-19 protective action guidance should be followed as long as it does not slow response or cause greater harm. It is essential that we act now to prepare for severe weather this summer.”

Although senior centers remain closed, Thomas said counties appear to have plans for cooling centers in the event of a severe heat wave.

“We did check with a lot of counties – especially when there were power outages,” Thomas said. “They do have plans should they need to open up.”

Shelters for more severe emergencies should be prepared to incorporate COVID-19 mitigation measures, Barishansky said.

“We'd ask those areas to ensure that people are masked before they came in,” he said. “We'd probably look at temperature scans as well. We'd try to get people to socially distance as much as humanly possible.”

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©2020 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)
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