Huntingdon County is still dealing with the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports a 12% positivity rate in the county, up from 9.9% last week, prompting the state to open a temporary free testing site in Huntingdon.
Huntingdon County EMA Director Joe Thompson said emergency management anticipates and prepares for 20 to 40 cases per day. It’s been a trend in Huntingdon county since the beginning of the month.
Officials are looking at several contributing factors.
“It’s a combination of a number of things happening, probably everywhere, but unfortunately in Huntington County at a larger extent perhaps than others,” he said.
Thompson said the county has seen a steady stream of new cases.
“We have an estimate of approximately 175 persons right now in Huntingdon County who would be considered as COVID positive,” Thompson said.
Thompson said state correctional institutions in the county are reporting low case counts and he commends them for containing what was at one point a significant outbreak.
Thompson attributes the recent increases to a fall resurgence in COVID-19 nationally and spread within the community.
“We’ve also had concerns with several outbreaks at our long-term care facilities, nursing homes here in Huntingdon County,” he said.
A new state testing facility opened at the Huntingdon Plaza Thursday, offering free drive-thru and indoor testing. The site operates from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until November 2.
The Department of Health said the site can test up to 440 patients per day and no appointments are required.
Thompson credits the county commissioners and officials that pushed for the site and reemphasized the county’s need beginning last week.
“Commissioners, although not required to, renewed a declaration of disaster emergency,” Thompson said. “The reason for that was to put public attention back on to the seriousness of what was coming, and to make sure we had everything in place to be able to respond appropriately.”
Thompson said the testing site is a good opportunity for the county, one that came together quickly.
“The planning for this started Thursday or Friday of last week,” he said. “That’s a week turnaround to get everything set up for a place to have it, getting everything we needed, all the supplies and materials, and getting these folks set up. They’re in and running.”
Thompson said anyone three years of age and older will receive a free test, not just Huntingdon County residents.