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15 new COVID cases are announced in county

There were 15 new cases of COVID-19 announced for Warren County on Thursday, while two more deaths were added to the virus’ toll.

As of Thursday, there have been 1,828 cases in the county and 65 deaths.

There were seven fewer COVID-positive patients at Warren General Hospital in Thursday’s statistics, down from 30 to 23. None of those patients were on ventilators and none were in intensive care.

There were over 7,000 new cases announced state-wide, bringing the total to over 748,000. There had been 18,742 COVID-related deaths in the state as of Thursday’s reporting.

In the last five days, the county has seen 77 new cases combined — less than the single-day record set Dec. 20.

While Warren County continues to show signs that its surge is ending, there has been an outbreak at State Correctional Institution — Forest.

The department of health reported 141 new cases in the county on Wednesday. That represents almost one-fourth of all of the cases in the county to date (574). The previous single-day high for Forest County was 39.

According to the department of health, Forest County had the third highest infection rate (7,920.5) in the state, behind only Mifflin and Union counties. Warren County’s rate per 100,000 population was 4,664.3 as of Thursday.

“SCI Forest has been following all of the statewide mitigation efforts (which can be found on our COVID webpage), to include placing inmates in cohorts since March of 2020, issuing masks/PPE to all staff and inmates, strict sanitizing and cleaning schedules, encouraging social-distancing, and washing of hands frequently,” DOC Press Secretary Maria Bivens said Thursday. “On Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, SCI Forest had an inmate who was housed in one of the dorms develop COVID-like symptoms. They administered an antigen test and that test was positive. As a result of that active positive inmate, Forest tested all of those 178 inmates using both the antigen and PCR tests and 138 of those tests came back positive.”

The facility is moving forward with testing and mitigation plans.

“Their plan moving forward is to PCR/mass test the entire facility – starting today,” Bivens said. “They are going to separate the positive cases from the negative cases, identify symptomatic inmates needing a higher level of care, protect the vulnerable inmate population, and move towards a healthy and safe operational schedule.”

As of Wednesday, there were 173 active cases, she said. There were 21 inmates who had recovered and one who died among the 201 total cases. Of the cases, 103 were asymptomatic.

Among the staff, there were also 25 positives.

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