By Michael T. Baldwin
COVID-19 coronavirus cases have been rising in Potter County. There have been 75 new cases confirmed among county residents this month (May 1 to May 20), according to the Pa. Dept. of Health. DOH says the trend is troubling because relatively few people are being tested at the same time the virus’s latest variant, BA.2, has gained ground. While public health officials advise that vaccination is the most effective defense against COVID, Potter County’s vaccination rate for those age 6 and older stands at 48 percent, with 1,207 people receiving only an initial dose and 6,151 receiving one of more booster shots. Just three more were vaccinated over the past week. Pennsylvania’s statewide vaccination rate is 85 percent; 68 percent have been fully vaccinated.
UPMC Cole offers the vaccine to eligible individuals at its outpatient offices. Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy in Coudersport administers the vaccine by appointment; call 814-274-8660. Rite Aid pharmacies continue to book appointments. To access the online reservation form, click here. A detailed summary on vaccines from the respected Johns Hopkins Medicine is available here.
Overall there have been 3,292 cases and 92 COVID-related deaths in Potter County. DOH advises those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection to be tested. Among these are fever, chills, muscle pain or body aches, headaches or confusion, difficulty staying awake or waking up, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Testing is available at local pharmacies and at UPMC Cole. At-home test kits can be ordered online at covidtests.gov or by calling 1-800-232-0233.