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Rate of new cases slows

The incidence of new COVID-19 cases in Warren County continues to show a decline.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced 18 new cases on Monday after only four on Sunday. Saturday’s count was 44.

Including the weekend, the county has had a total of 1,773 cases of COVID-19.

There were no new deaths added on Monday, but one was added on each of Saturday and Sunday, bringing the total of COVID-related deaths in the county to 53.

There were fewer COVID patients at Warren General Hospital according to Monday’s statistics, with 29 COVID-positive patients, none in ICU, and none on ventilators. That is compared to 32 patients on Saturday and Sunday, and 33 patients, one on a ventilator, on Friday.

So far in January, there have been 242 new cases in the county.

There were 415 new cases in the first 11 days of December and 1,171 for the month.

State-wide, the number of new cases also seems to be declining, but not to the point of an easing of restrictions.

“We’re still very concerned about potential increases in the number of new cases,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday. “On Friday and Saturday, for the first time in weeks, we had 10,000 new cases.”

There were about 13,000 new cases for Sunday and Monday combined.

“We must continue our mitigation efforts,” Levine said.

She encouraged people to download the COVID Alert PA app.

Levine did not have a specific date when the state would enter Phase 1B of vaccinations.

Phase 1A includes a variety of health care workers, residents in long-term care facilities, and a few others.

Phase 1B opens up the vaccines to everyone age 75 and older as well as several more groups of essential workers, including educators.

“We know that there is significant interest among all Pennsylvania to know when they will be vaccinated,” Levine said Monday. “I know that it is really challenging to have patience. We must have patience.”

She suggested those who expect to be vaccinated in Phase 1B “touch base with their doctor, if they have questions about their health or about the vaccine.”

“Right now, we’re focusing on the people in 1A,” Levine said. “We do anticipate moving to 1B soon and we will release information at that time.”

Asked what else people can do, she said, “Sit tight.”

Some 1A personnel are declining their doses. Levine encouraged providers to inoculate someone in Phase 1B if they have doses, but no one in 1A.

“That is absolutely fine for me,” she said. “We don’t want to put vaccine back on the shelf. If any of our providers don’t have anyone in 1A, but they have someone in 1B, vaccinate them.”

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