HARRISBURG — Montgomery County continues to have the lowest coronavirus positivity rate in southeast Pennsylvania while Berks County’s positivity rate continues to climb, according to the latest data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
For the period Oct. 9 to Oct. 15, the percent-positivity rate for Montgomery County was 2.3%, according to the state’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. That was a slight decrease from the 2.5% positivity rate the county recorded for the previous seven-day period Oct. 2 to Oct. 8.
Health officials believe having a positivity rate less than 5% indicates a county is controlling the spread of the virus and keeping it suppressed.
In neighboring Berks County, the positivity rate increased to 6.5% for the most recent seven-day period ending Oct. 15, which was up from 5.9% recorded the previous week.
State officials essentially have placed Berks on a watch list of counties with “concerning” percent-positivity rates.
Last week, state officials organized an outdoor testing clinic at FirstEnergy Stadium in Berks to help monitor and contain the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.
The results of those Berks tests will likely be reflected in next week’s percent-positivity rate statistics compiled by the state.
The state health department decides which counties to deploy testing based on the total number of confirmed cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 people as well as where outbreaks are happening, county population, and other metrics.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County’s other neighboring counties recorded the following percent-positivity rates during the latest seven-day period ending Oct. 15: Philadelphia (4.5%); Delaware (4.1%); Chester (3.2%); Bucks (3.1%) and Lehigh (2.8%).
Gov. Tom Wolf said the state’s COVID-19 dashboard is designed to provide early warning signs of factors that affect the state’s mitigation efforts. The data available on the dashboard includes week-over-week case differences, incidence rates, test percent-positivity, and rates of hospitalizations, ventilations and emergency room visits tied to COVID-19.
As of Oct. 15, the statewide percent-positivity rate increased to 4.3% percent from 3.9% the previous week, according to the dashboard.
The state has seen a seven-day case increase of 8,723 cases for the period ending Oct. 15. The previous seven-day increase was 7,398 cases, indicating a 1,325-case increase across the state over the past week.
“Our percent positivity and incidence rate for the Commonwealth both increased again this week in the midst of our fall resurgence of cases in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said on Monday.
“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of Pennsylvanians being united in taking actions to protect ourselves and others, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing our hands and avoiding large gatherings. Together, Pennsylvanians can work to prevent the spread of the virus,” Wolf added.
For the week ending Oct. 15, 10 counties were in the low level of transmission, 46 counties in the moderate level and 11 counties recorded substantial transmission. They are:
• Low – Cameron, Clinton, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Juniata, Pike, Potter, Sullivan and Warren
• Moderate – Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Indiana, Jefferson, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Snyder, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Venango, Washington, Wayne, Wyoming and York
• Substantial – Berks, Blair, Bradford, Centre, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Montour, Schuylkill, Union and Westmoreland
Wolf said state departments of Education and Health will speak with school district representatives in the counties with substantial transmission to discuss the implications of that level of transmission.