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Blair virus rates falling

County director sees improvement in COVID-19 reports

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County’s COVID-19 cases have been declining, creating reasons for optimism, Public Safety Director Mark Taylor told commissioners Tuesday.

Taylor, who stays in touch regularly with local health care providers, emergency responders and others affected by the ongoing pandemic, said Tuesday that he has been noticing improvements.

“On Friday, only 28 people with COVID were in the hospitals, and that’s far better than we’ve seen in the previous months and weeks,” Taylor said.

Facilities such as local nursing homes, the county prison and schools have reported improvements, too, he said.

“The nursing homes, they’re finally opening up to some family visitation,” Taylor said. “That’s just a joy, to finally get people reconnected with their families.”

Taylor also praised Conemaugh Nason Medical Center in Roaring Spring for setting up a vaccination clinic on Friday at the East Freedom Fire Hall.

With help from local ambulance agencies, the medical center set up a 12-hour clinic that vaccinated 1,060 pre-registered patrons. That’s almost half of the 2,200 vaccines that Taylor said were administered last week in the county.

“It was a great success … outstanding,” Taylor said of the clinic at the fire hall.

While vaccination shortages continue to keep people waiting, Taylor said the county’s pace of new COVID-19 cases is slowing. The positivity rate of those being tested for COVID-19 has dropped to 7.6%, he said.

In comparison, he told commissioners in mid-December the county’s positivity rate had increased to 15.9%.

Mid-December was also when the county had 125 to 150 new COVID-19 cases per week, according to USAFacts, a database organization offering information based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That same organization now shows Blair County, as of

Feb. 11, averaging about 30 new COVID-19 cases per week.

Taylor reiterated Tuesday that his office remains interested in hosting a mass vaccination clinic at the Blair County Convention Center when vaccines are available.

“There still is not a lot of vaccine in the pipeline,” he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 814-946-7456.

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