COVID community level rises to medium in Warren
An increase in COVID-19 cases has caused the CDC to push Warren County’s community level to medium.
According to CDC, the case rate in the county was 79.1 per 100,000, with 10.1 new admissions per 100,000 as of Thursday.
In terms of community transmission, the CDC has Warren County as one of five in the state that is not in the high category. Warren County was shown as having substantial transmission as of Friday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 11 new cases on Monday and six on Tuesday, bringing the county’s total of 8,097 cases in all.
The number of COVID-related deaths in the county is up over the last month.
Between April 1 and June 27, there were two county deaths attributed to COVID, with none after May 9.
Since June 27, there have been six more county deaths reported by the department, bringing the Warren County total to 218. Those people died on June 17, 19, 24, and 28, and July 1 and 6. COVID-related deaths are generally reported well after the date of death, as circumstances must be investigated.
Omicron BA.5 is the dominant subvariant in the nation, according to CDC. “Omicron BA.5 is the predominant variant, causing an estimated 78% of cases. BA.5 has fueled the rapid rise in cases since June, suggesting that it spreads more easily than previous Omicron lineages.”
In the region, Clarion, Elk, Erie, Forest, and Venango counties are also at the medium community level.
Residents of medium communities who are at high risk of severe illness are advised to “consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions,” according to CDC.
There were four counties in the state — Fayette, Mercer, Montour, and Washington — in the high category as of Friday.
More than half the state, including Crawford, Jefferson, and McKean counties, was in the low community level.
CDC recommends that everyone ages five and older who has completed a primary series COVID vaccine receive a booster. A second booster is recommended for adults ages 50 and over and for some people 12 and over who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
According to the Department of Health, 18,400 county residents are fully vaccinated, 9,418 have received at least one booster dose, and 2,067 have received a second booster dose.
CDC has established a National Wastewater Surveillance System and some communities measure COVID levels in their sewer plants.
That is not happening locally.
Cost and questions about the effectiveness as a predictor are among the barriers in the City of Warren, according to Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz.
There are only five participating sites shown for Pennsylvania, three in Montgomery County, one in Lehigh County, and one serving Allegheny and Butler counties. There are two sites in Chautauqua County, N.Y., and one in Cattaraugus County.