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Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force Update

by James Nobles / Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force - October 22, 2020

Based on some feedback from the community, we are going to change the way we report COVID-19 information to the county. While I understand the total number of cases since the onset is important from a statistical perspective, what’s most important to you is the level of community spread in our county.

I hope you find this new way of reporting the information to be beneficial as YOU decide how best to protect yourselves and our community.

During the month of October COVID activity has increased significantly both in Tioga County and the counties surrounding Tioga.

So far in October we have seen 77 positive cases. This is compared to 29 positive cases in the month of September. This represents a 170% increase thus far in October and we still have several days of the month to go.

New cases in the last 14 days, which are generally considered to be active cases, are also at a record high, with 54 new cases being reported in the last 14 days and 33 of those in the last 7 days. This represents the highest number of active cases that we’ve seen in Tioga County.

In addition to the significant increase in the number positive cases, we are also seeing an increase in the PCR positivity rate which was 1.6 percent at the end of September and is now 5.5 percent. That represents a 245 percent increase in the positivity rate in the month of October.

So, although we are testing more people than we were over the summer months, the percentage of those that are testing positive is increasing, which tells us that the virus is spreading at a higher rate than in the previous months.

The counties around Tioga are also seeing a significant increase in positive cases, with Bradford County to the east and Chemung County to the north being the 2 counties with the greatest increase. In the past 14 days Bradford has seen 244 additional cases and 3 addition deaths and Chemung has seen 507 additional cases and 3 additional deaths.

During the July, Pennsylvania started using a Level of Community Transmission table that is updated weekly to report the spread of COVID-19 throughout all 67 counties. The table uses Low, Moderate or Substantial as the 3 levels of community spread. This level is calculated based on the number of positive cases per 100,000 residents as well as the PCR positivity rate for the preceding 7 days.

Presently, Tioga is considered Moderate transmission as is Lycoming County. Bradford County is presently considered Substantial Transmission and has been for the past 2 weeks and Potter County remains Low.

So, what does all this mean. Over the summer we talked about a Fall Resurgence. I think it’s safe to say we are entering that resurgence period, both here in Tioga County, throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since the disease began, Tioga County has risen to the challenge of protecting our community and keeping the transmission rate low. We were among the first counties to move from Red to Yellow and ultimately Green in the state’s reopening plan. We saw relatively low community spread throughout the summer months which kept our businesses open and allowed our schools to start with various degrees of face-to-face instruction. Now as we enter the fall resurgence and the virus spreads in our county, once again, we must rise to the challenge as a community and do everything possible to protect ourselves and protect our businesses and schools.

Everyone knows what they need to do not only to protect themselves, but to protect our vulnerable population. So, for me to come on and tell you to wear a mask, maintain distance, wash your hands, seems a little dated at this stage in the virus.

Instead, the Task Force will be doing a weekly update where we will report the facts. We’ll tell you the number of cases in the last 7 and 14 days, we’ll report the total for the month and what the positivity rate presently is. We will also report trends in the virus both in our county and the counties surrounding Tioga. In addition to the home page, we will also be reporting this information on our Task Force Facebook page and other media outlets to ensure everyone in the county has the most up to date information on the spread of the virus.

Armed with this information, I’m confident that every citizen will have the facts they need to make the best decision for themselves and their family, for our schools, our businesses and for the entire county.

Community means everyone, and we will get through this together.

Until next week, stay strong and stay safe.

Credits:

Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: James Nobles / Tioga County COVID-19 Task Force

Produced by Vogt Media
Home Page Sponsors: First Citizens Community Bank