EOC reports 30 active cases of COVID-19

There are 30 active cases of COVID-19 in Petersburg as of 3 P.M. Tuesday, all of which were reported in the last six days, according to a joint press release from the Petersburg Borough and Petersburg Medical Center.

The current active cases are predominately symptomatic and were infected through community spread, according to the press release. Public health officials are investigating the active cases, but contact tracing is proving difficult.

Cases first started to appear in town Thursday, Feb. 18, but the number of infected residents continued to increase from there. Ten cases were reported in Petersburg on Monday and seven more cases were reported Tuesday as of 3 P.M., according to the press release. The EOC was reporting 26 active cases Tuesday morning.

Incident Commander Karl Hagerman told the Borough Assembly at a special meeting Tuesday morning that two of the current active cases were residents who tested positive for COVID-19 outside of the community. Given the recent update to the case count, there are 28 active cases of COVID-19 in the community.

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

The jump in active COVID-19 cases on Monday caused the EOC to issue a CodeRed alert later that 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 Monday evening, Petersburg was reporting 20 positive cases of COVID-19.

The recent outbreak began on Thursday, Feb. 18, when three cases of COVID-19 were reported, though one of the infected residents was outside the community. Then four more residents tested positive on Friday, Feb. 19, two of which were also outside of the community. According to the EOC, one resident recovered from the virus on Friday.

Seven more residents tested positive for the virus on Saturday and Sunday. Positive cases peaked at 10 on Monday, but the seven active cases that the EOC is reporting on Tuesday could still increase.

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 patients 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."


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