New cases of COVID-19 continue to tick up in Beaver County, although hospital beds in the county remain empty of coronavirus patients.
Numbers released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) show the county had 9 new cases on June 30, 16 on the 29th, 4 on the 28th, and 6 new cases on June 27. Total cumulitive cases in the county rose from 600 on June 1 to 678 on June 30.
The vast majority of the new cases do not appear to be associated with nursing homes, according to currently available DOH data.
A bulletin posted on Shell’s cracker plant construction site in Potter Township yesterday notified workers of two new positive cases on the job site, making a total of six since March. The notice states 17 workers are currently self-isolating because they are either showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or came in close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with the virus. Three individuals have recovered from the disease and have since returned to work.
Beaver County Commissioner Chairman Dan Camp noted the uptick in cases during today’s public work session.
“We did see a little uptick yesterday in numbers come through, but I think as we move forward and there’s more testing available we’re going to start seeing those, and I think everyone understands that,” Camp said.
The emergence of new cases is not yet translating into hospital admissions in the county.
“At this time there are zero COVID-19 positive patients at Heritage Valley Beaver,” spokesperson Suzanne Sakson told BeaverCountian.com today.
In response to a statewide increase in cases, PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed a new order today mandating that masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves their home. The order was signed under Levine’s authority provided by the Disease Prevention and Control Act.
Pennsylvania currently has 632 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, with 103 of those individuals on ventilators. Eight coronavirus patients in the state are receiving ECMO care, an advanced medical treatment that provides heart-lung bypass to pump blood through an artificial lung and back into the bloodstream.
“It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Levine said when signing the order. “While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent. My mask protects you, and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask shows that you care about others, and that you are committed to protecting the lives of those around you.”
A press release issued by Governor Tom Wolf’s office stated that Levine’s order will be sent to state and local officials, law enforcement and “others tasked with education about the order for those not in compliance.”
Beaver County Commissioner Jack Manning said he remains concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and is encouraging county residents to stay vigilant.
“I just hope people are being responsible and doing the right things and aren’t taking risks to expose themselves and bring that into the workplace,” Manning said. “We knew there would be a little uptick … so far ours hasn’t reached the level that Allegheny County has. If it does, we’ll have to figure out what to do, or what the state wants us to do. It is concerning, the virus is still out there, and I think vulnerable people need to be cognizant of that and be doing whatever they can to protect themselves.”
Commissioner Tony Amadio noted that unlike Allegheny County, Beaver does not have its own department of health, and commissioners do not have the authority to restrict or shutter businesses if the virus does begin to spike in an alarming manner. Amadio reiterated Manning’s sentiments about people needing to take personal responsibility.
“If I’m not here (in the courthouse), I’m on my front porch,” Amadio said.