Active cases reach 26 in Petersburg

Petersburg COVID-19 case count has risen by six cases since Monday evening for a total of 26 active cases, according to the Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Dashboard.

Twenty-four of the active cases are currently in Petersburg, while the remaining two cases are infected residents who are outside of the community, according to Incident Commander Karl Hagerman at a special Borough Assembly meeting on Tuesday. The EOC issued a CodeRed alert Monday evening to make the community aware of the local outbreak and the red community risk level for COVID-19. At the time of the CodeRed message, Petersburg was reporting 20 positive cases of COVID-19.

"This outbreak is extremely serious," said Hagerman. "The width and breadth is still not fully known."

Petersburg Medical Center CEO Phil Hofstetter said the community has seen an increase in severe cases of COVID-19. In the past six weeks, PMC has admitted four inpatients who were experiencing COVID-19 related difficulties, one of which had to be medivaced out of Petersburg for a higher level of care, said Hofstetter. The hospital has also had to administer 10 treatments of an antibody used to treat the virus.

"We're seeing an uptick in severity with the cases, which is very alarming," said Hofstetter at the special Assembly Meeting on Feb. 23. "Everything we're seeing in the community has an exponential impact on our staff."

Hofstetter also said PMC would be releasing information regarding COVID-19 and the vaccine in the coming days to address misinformation in the community. Meanwhile, public health officials continue to reach out to close contacts of infected residents.

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases started on Friday, Feb. 19 when the EOC reported four cases of the virus. Two of those cases were Petersburg residents who were out of town, according to a joint press release for the Petersburg Borough and PMC. Five more cases were identified on Saturday and were mostly contributed to community spread. Two of those five cases were attributed to Friday's case count, according to a joint press release. On Sunday, an additional four cases of COVID-19 were identified in town, which led the EOC to raise the local community risk level for the virus from yellow to orange.

When positive test results continued to be identified on Monday, the EOC raised the local risk level to red. At least eight more positive cases were reported on Monday.

The Borough, PMC and the Petersburg School District are all operating at a red, or high risk level of COVID-19 transmission. PSD has switched to distance learning for classes on Feb. 24 and 25, but distance learning could extend into the rest of the week.


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