Courtesy of Potter County Today
Media attention has turned elsewhere and protective measures have been slipping away, but COVID-19 coronavirus cases continue to be diagnosed in Potter County. Another 36 people tested positive and there was one more COVID-related death over the past three weeks. Pa. Dept. of Health says the trend is troubling because the numbers only reflect those who have been tested at medical facilities. Results of at-home test kits, which are the preferred option for many, are not included. DOH also warns that the virus’s latest variant, BA.5, has gained ground. More contagious than previous Omicron variants, BA.5 is now responsible for 54 percent of new cases in the U.S.
Overall there have been 3,406 cases and 93 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.
While public health officials continually emphasize that vaccination is the most effective defense against COVID, Potter County’s vaccination rate for those age 6 and older stands at just under 50 percent, with 1,204 people receiving an initial dose and 6,221 receiving one of more booster shots. Pennsylvania’s statewide vaccination rate is 86 percent; just under 70 percent have been fully vaccinated.
UPMC Cole offers the vaccine to eligible individuals at its outpatient offices. UPMC is also offering shots during the Potter County Senior Expo from 10 am to 2 pm on Monday, July 18, at the Coudersport Arboretum. Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy in Coudersport administers the vaccine by appointment; call 814-274-8660. Rite Aid pharmacies continue to book appointments.