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Blair moves to ‘substantial’ spread

Indoor masking recommended for vaccinated

Blair County on Friday moved from “moderate” to “substantial” COVID-19 transmission, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, triggering a recommendation for even vaccinated people to mask indoors in public.

The move to a higher transmission level resulted from a surge in the county’s “incidence rate” — the number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 residents — from 28 to 53, just over the 50-case threshold for substantial.

Blair recorded 65 new cases in the past week.

The test positivity rate rose to 4.47 percent but still below the substantial threshold of 8 percent.

“There’s reason for concern,” said Blair County Emergency Management Director Mark Taylor. “We’re monitoring it very, very closely.”

Fortunately, for now, hospital cases remain fairly flat, Taylor said.

The CDC reports 21 new COVID-19 admissions in the past week in Blair, which is actually down 4.5 percent.

Less than 2 percent of Blair hospital beds are currently occupied by COVID-19 patients, CDC stats show.

As far as Taylor knows only one of the current hospital patients has been vaccinated.

“That goes to show there’s more of a risk to unvaccinated (people),” Taylor said.

About 48 percent of eligible residents — those over 12 — are fully vaccinated in Blair.

“I’m comfortable with the resources we have in place” to deal with a possible major surge, Taylor said although he doesn’t think such an eventuality is likely.

The masking recommendation is not an order, Taylor pointed out. “It’s a personal decision.”

Two of the other local counties — Bedford and Clearfield — are in the high transmission category.

Bedford’s positivity is 12.03 percent, exceeding the 10 percent threshold.

Clearfield’s incidence rate is 111, exceeding the threshold by 11.

Cambria and Centre are in the substantial category, like Blair.

Huntingdon is in the moderate transmission

category.

Bedford County had 41 new cases in the past week with an incidence of 85 new cases per 100,000 residents; positivity, 12.03 percent;

35 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated;

Cambria County had 76 new cases in the past week, up 7 percent; incidence, 58 new cases per 100,000 residents; positivity, 5.44 percent; 51 percent of eligible residents are fully

vaccinated.

Centre County saw 104 new cases in the past week with an incidence rate of 64 new cases per 100,000 residents; positivity, 4.03 percent; 55 percent of eligible residents are fully

vaccinated.

Clearfield County had 88 new cases in the past week with an incidence rate of 111 new cases per 100,000 residents; positivity, 6.38 percent; 47 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

Huntingdon County had 22 new cases with an incidence rate of 48 new cases per 100,000 residents; positivity, 3.4 percent; 46 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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