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Blair remains in ‘substantial’

Blair County this week remains in the “substantial” transmission range for COVID-19, based on Centers for Disease Control statistics, reflecting the continued circulation of the Delta variant in our area.

Being in the substantial range triggers a CDC recommendation for masking in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Blair is in the substantial category because its incidence rate — the number of new cases in the past week per 100,000 residents — is over 50.

Last week, Blair’s incidence rate was barely over the line for substantial transmission, at 53.

This week, it’s well over, at 91 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Blair’s test positivity, however, is still in the moderate range, at 6.17% — although that’s up from last week’s 4.47%.

The CDC categorizes a county’s transmission level by the level of whichever metric — incidence or positivity — is higher.

Blair had 112 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, up 64% from the previous week.

Blair County Department of Emergency Management is monitoring the situation here, according Director Mark Taylor.

“There’s always reason for concern,” Taylor said. “We need to be careful.”

So far, however, there’s no indication that hospital resources are under threat of overloading, he said.

UPMCs Altoona, Bedford, Somerset and Western Maryland, which comprise UPMC’s administrative region, currently have 54 COVID-19 patients, according to UPMC spokeswoman Danielle Sampsell, who encouraged everyone who’s eligible to get vaccinated, if they aren’t already — and who added that “regardless of vaccination status, masking is currently the second-best line of defense,” next to vaccination.

All six local counties are in the substantial transmission category or worse, so the CDC masking recommendation for public indoor spaces applies throughout the region to everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

Bedford and Clearfield are in the high transmission category.

For Bedford, both incidence and positivity are high, with incidence at 125 new cases per 100,000 residents and positivity at 10.93%.

For Clearfield, the incidence rate is high, at 151 new cases per 100,000 residents, while positivity is in the substantial range.

Statistics

Blair County: substantial transmission; 112 new cases in the past week, up 64%; incidence rate, 91 new cases per 100,000 residents (substantial range); positivity, 6.17% (moderate range), up 2%; hospital beds used, 3%; ICU beds used, 6%; 48% of eligible residents (12 and older) are fully vaccinated;

Bedford County: high transmission; 60 new cases in the past week, up 42%; incidence rate, 125 new cases per 100,000 residents (high range); positivity, 10.93% (high range), down 0.4%; hospital beds used, 9%; 35% of eligible residents fully vaccinated;

Cambria County: substantial transmission; 116 new cases in the past week, up 50%; incidence rate, 89 new cases per 100,000 residents (substantial range); positivity, 3.45% (low range), down 1%; hospital beds used, 4%; ICU beds used, 8%; 52% of eligible residents fully vaccinated;

Centre County: substantial transmission; 121 new cases in the past week, up 16%; incidence rate, 74 new cases per 100,000 residents (substantial range); positivity, 5.26% (substantial range), up 0.6%; hospital beds used, 8%; ICU beds used, 17%; 56% of eligible residents fully vaccinated;

Clearfield County: high transmission; 120 new cases in the past week, up 16%; incidence rate, 151 new cases per 100,000 residents (high range); positivity, 8.12% (substantial range), up 1%; hospital beds used 3%; ICU beds used, 13%; 48% of eligible residents fully vaccinated;

Huntingdon County: substantial transmission; 35 new cases in the past week, up 59%; incidence rate, 77 new cases per 100,000 residents (substantial range); positivity, 5.06% (moderate range), up 1%; hospital beds used, 2%; ICU beds used, 10%; 46% of eligible residents fully vaccinated.

For incidence rates, low transmission is 0-9; moderate is 10-49; substantial is 50-99 and high is anything over that.

For positivity, low transmission is less than 5%; moderate is 5-7.9%; substantial is 8-9.9% and high is anything over that.

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