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COVID-19 TASK FORCE UPDATE 4/9/21. CASES INCREASE!

COVID-19 TASK FORCE UPDATE 4/9/21. CASES INCREASE!

by Jim Nobles - April 9, 2021

After several weeks of decreasing COVID cases throughout the county, for the past 3 weeks, both incidence and the positivity rate are increasing.

Presently we have 108 active cases being reported in the last 14 days, with 69 of those being reported in the past 7 days. We closed out the month of March with 177 positive cases, and in just the first 9 days of April, we’ve already recorded 78 positive cases, which puts us on pace for over 250 cases this month, a 45 percent increase from March.

This week incidence increased 42% to 118 cases per 100,000 residents, and positivity also increased significantly and is presently 10.2 percent, which once again designates Tioga County as substantial transmission and marks the first time in the past 6 weeks where our positivity rate was above the recommended 5%, and incidence was above 100. With this “U” shaped increase in COVID cases and positivity, the Task Force is concerned that if we don’t do something to change the trajectory, we could once again see new infections passing the 100 cases per week mark.

Around the Commonwealth, positivity and incidence are also trending up, and presently Pennsylvania. New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Michigan are the 5 states with the highest number of new COVID cases being reported daily. Together these 5 states account for over 44 percent of all COVID positivity in the United States

Sadly, Tioga County has also recorded over 100 COVID-related deaths. These are family, friends, and neighbors who paid the ultimate price in our war with this merciless virus. For a county of just over 40,000 residents, 101 deaths are significant, and where once the disease was something you read about or heard about on the news, now we all know someone who was or is affected; we all know someone who has died.

We know that as incidence and positivity increase, so do hospitalizations and ultimately, so do deaths. Once again, I am asking everyone to please continue to do your part to keep this virus at bay a little longer while we race to get our population vaccinated.

To get people vaccinated more quickly, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is rapidly progressing through the phases of the vaccine plan. This week we close out Phase 1(B), and starting Monday, April 12th, we begin Phase 1(C), which includes essential works in Transportation, Food Service, Construction, Finance, Energy, and Legal sectors. In addition, all Federal, State, County, and Local Government workers and Public Health and Safety workers are included. For the complete list of all essential workers included in Phase 1(C), please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

On Monday, April 19th, we will enter the much-anticipated Phase 2 of the vaccine plan, which opens vaccinations to anyone age 16 and older.
This means that anyone in our county or region who wants to be vaccinated will have the opportunity to receive the shot at any of the several vaccine providers throughout the county.

The Task Force strongly encourages all Tioga County residents to please get vaccinated as soon as it’s Your Turn. At this point, we are racing to vaccinate people faster than the virus is spreading. This is why, once again, I’m asking you to please do your part to keep the spread of COVID to a minimum while vaccinations are being administered. We are so close, and we need to hang on just a little longer. A metaphor was recently used at the national level that referenced not spiking the ball on the 5-yard line. I see a better example of not removing your helmet, your shoulder pads, and other protective equipment at the 5-yard line… we are at the 5-yard line of our battle with this virus, and we must keep our safety equipment on until we well into the end zone.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are administering thousands of vaccines every week, and once we enter Phase 2 we stand ready to vaccinate everyone in our county.

For more information on vaccine clinics throughout Tioga County, please visit the Task Force Facebook page or the Pennsylvania Department of Health website, which lists all county vaccine providers or by calling the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health (570) 787-5000.

We do ask that when making your appointment to be vaccinated, you register with just one of the county’s vaccine providers. When you make more than one appointment, you take away a precious vaccination appointment from someone else.

This virus is strong, but we are stronger. The virus can knock us down, but we will get back up together, and we will win this battle.

Community means Everyone Tioga County so please do your part. Continue to wear a mask when in public; watch your distances and avoid larger gatherings and please get vaccinated when it’s your turn.

Credits:

Idea/Concept: Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force
Writing: Jim Nobles

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