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CVS Pharmacist William Hallock gives the Pfizer BioNTech-COVID-19 Vaccine to a staff person at Kendal-Crosslands Communities in Kennett Square.

Chester County's COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped below 5 percent, putting it in the "low risk" category for transmission, the Chester County Health Department reported. It is just the second county in the state to drop below 5 percent.

Coronavirus positivity rate in Chester County stands at 4.73 percent, compared to 6.19 percent four weeks ago.

And for the eighth week in a row, the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Chester County has declined.

Last week in Chester County, 444 people tested positive for coronavirus, an incidence rate of 84.5 people per 100,000 people. Four weeks ago, the incidence rate was 128.3.

The trend in neighboring Delaware County is similar, with 584 people testing positive last week, compared to 819 four weeks ago, according to the Chester County Health Department.

In Chester County, with a population of more than 510,000, just under 44,000 people have received at least their first vaccine shot.

According to the Chester County Health Department, the biggest risk of getting the virus in Chester County is coming into contact with someone who has a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, followed by people who spend time at restaurants, bars, gyms or barbershops.

To date, 723 people have died of coronavirus since the pandemic began in March of last year, and 28,576 people have tested positive.

Current municipal hot spots: Avondale, with a 9.2 percent positivity rate, Oxford, 7.7 percent, Atglen, 7.7 percent, Penn Township, 6.9 percent, Valley Township, 6.9 percent, East Nottingham, 6.6 percent, Caln Township. 6.5 percent, Elk Township, 6.2 percent, Thornbury, 6.1 percent, and New Garden Township, 6 percent.

At the county's 75 long-term care facilities, 439 people have died of coronavirus to date, and 2,537 people have been confirmed positive for the virus. The majority of the fatalities have been residents over age 80, according to data from the Chester County Health Department.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a report last week showing nursing homes in the U.S. have seen the lowest number of new COVID cases since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services started tracking back in May 2020, suggesting that the vaccines are working.

The report also shows cases have dropped to the lowest level since CMS started tracking weekly COVID cases in nursing homes last May. Along with the lowest number of new COVID cases, new data also shows COVID related deaths in nursing homes declined by 63 percent since Dec. 20 of last year.

County commissioners, county council members and state legislators representing Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties met for an hour Sunday, with Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam and other Wolf Administration officials regarding the state’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccine to the four Southeast Pennsylvania counties.

All four counties consistently have received from the Pennsylvania Department of Health far smaller amounts of vaccine than requested, while less-populated counties elsewhere in the state have received disproportionately large amounts of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

State officials confirmed that no county will move to vaccinate people in Phase 1B before sufficient vaccine has been made available to all counties to fully vaccinate residents in Phase 1A who wish to be vaccinated – with the exception of teachers and educational support personnel who are directly receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the State.

Everyone who lives and works in Chester County is reminded to register their interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine with the Chester County Health Department if they have not already done so. Easy registration, along with full information on Chester County’s COVID-19 vaccine program, can be found at www.chesco.org/covidvaccine. For any COVID-19 questions call 610-344-6225, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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