POTTER COUNTY — The county has seen a sharp uptick in its COVID-19 cases; this mirrors what is happening in neighboring counties.
As of Wednesday, Potter County had 37 cases, with about 8 of them occurring within the previous 14 days. Tioga County has had 49 new cases in the past 14 days, bringing the county total to 122 cases. McKean County has 79 total cases.
Nancy Grupp, chair of the Potter County Commissioners, said though there are several new cases in Potter County, many of them are within the same family.
As of Thursday, Oct. 8, the state has seen a seven day increase of 7,269 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 6,137, indicating a 1,132-case increase across the state over the past week, according to a press release from Governor Tom Wolf’s office.
The statewide percent-positivity went up to 3.9% from 3.7% last week. In a newly released list of “counties with concerning percent-positivity,” Potter County is included with a 6.3% positivity rate.
Potter County is still listed to have a low level of transmission. Different levels of community transmission — low, moderate and substantial — serve as a basis for the recommendations for schools to determine instructional models.
Grupp said the county as an employer is still being very cautious and are requiring people inside of the Gunzburger Building (home to most of the county’s offices) to wear a mask and get a temperature check.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that people wear face masks in public settings around people who don’t live in their household and when they can’t stay six feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others.
Grupp encourages everyone to follow the CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask. She said she understands that people are frustrated and tired of having to wear one, but Potter County could become a “hotspot” if the cases continue to increase. She doesn’t want to see the county have to shut down again.
The coronavirus, flu and the common cold all have very similar symptoms. Health officials are encouraging everyone to get a flu shot.
“Use caution if you’re having some kind of symptom; don’t assume you just have the flu or a cold,” Grupp said. “It wouldn’t hurt to isolate just to make sure (it’s not COVID-19), or to go and get tested. I hear we have much more rapid testing available here.”
Potter County has three COVID-19 testing sites in Coudersport. UPMC Cole is a testing site for physician-referred patients, and the Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy (call 1-800-635-8611 to complete an eligibility assessment) and Rite Aid (814-274-0439) are also administering tests.
The state is also encouraging residents who are 18 and older to download the “COVID Alert PA” app. That is the official app by the Department of Health; it uses the “exposure alert system” provided by Apple and Google. Once users opt in, they can receive alerts if they have had a potential exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. More information is available at www.pa.gov/covid/covid-alert-pa.