Blair COVID-19 hospitalizations decreasing

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The amount of people hospitalized in Blair County with COVID-19 conditions continues to decrease, Public Safety Director Mark Taylor said Tuesday.

A week ago, Taylor told commissioners that 28 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the fewest cases in weeks, and a reason to be optimistic. When updating commissioners Tuesday, Taylor reported that for each of the last four days, fewer than 20 were hospitalized in Blair County with COVID-19 symptoms. And very few of those hospitalized were on ventilators, Taylor said.

The county’s positivity rate for those being tested for COVID-19 has fallen, too, Taylor said.

It’s down to 4.4% from 7.6%, Taylor said, which means that for the first time in weeks, Blair County is under the 5% positivity rate that the state identifies as concerning.

Despite the improvements, Taylor is among those urging people to remain cautious and to continue social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands regularly.

He has repeatedly advised commissioners that the only way for Blair County to overcome the pandemic is to get a substantial number of its residents vaccinated. That process continues to move slowly, with local providers indicating they don’t have the vaccine to administer more shots.

“There doesn’t seem to be much improvement in the number of doses coming into the county,” Taylor said.

Meanwhile, UPMC Pittsburgh has set up an online vaccination registration form on its website for those within the state’s 1a group of people eligible for vaccinations. That includes everyone over 65 years old and those who are younger than 65 with select health conditions.

UPMC, which has multiple health care facilities in central Pennsylvania including UPMC Altoona, allows those registering for COVID-19 vaccines to identify their county of residence. The form also indicates that registering offers no guarantee of vaccination, because it is dependent on receipt of vaccine.

UPMC Pittsburgh also directs those without internet access to register for a vaccine by calling 1-844-876-2822 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily.

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


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