NORRISTOWN — Montgomery County officials reported on Wednesday that more than 40 individuals tested positive for the coronavirus and one more person has died from the virus.
The 44 new positive cases brought the county’s total number of cases to 9,787 since March 7 when the first two cases of the virus were identified in the county. Four of the positive individuals were incarcerated at the county jail and the remaining 40 individuals were other members of the community.
The new positive individuals included 22 females and 22 males, who ranged in age from 5 months to 86 and resided in 17 municipalities, according to the latest statistics.
Officials said county residents continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 but officials are closely monitoring data that indicate the number of positive cases among younger people is increasing while contact tracers are seeing an increased risk of transmission associated with athletic activities and large social gatherings.
The overall positivity rate, taking into account all county residents who were tested for the virus between March 13 and July 31, was 3.17 percent, according to the latest data.
“So that is fantastic news and certainly where we want to be to keep this virus suppressed,” county Commissioners’ Chairwoman Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh said on Wednesday during a weekly news briefing.
Health officials believe having a positivity rate less than 5 percent indicates the county is controlling the spread of the virus and keeping it suppressed. To keep the positivity rate below 5-percent, Arkoosh stressed residents should continue to abide by all mask wearing, handwashing and social distancing recommendations. Arkoosh urged residents to cooperate with contact tracers.
“We have seen a big improvement in cooperation with contact tracers. Right now, we’re seeing that 96 percent of the individuals who are contacted by our teams are cooperating with contact tracing. That is a big part of how we are keeping these numbers so low,” said Arkoosh, who was joined at the news briefing by fellow Commissioner Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr.
Officials reported one more COVID-19 death on Wednesday, which brought the county’s death toll to 821 since the pandemic began in March. A total of 440 females and 381 males in the county have died from the virus.
On Wednesday, 70 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county.
“We had been running in the mid-50s for a couple of weeks so this does represent a modest increase. However, the number of individuals requiring a ventilator is down to eight. So we have seen an improvement, or decrease, in ventilator use but somewhat of an increase in overall hospital bed utilization,” Arkoosh said.
Officials said testing is still available for all county residents and those who work in the county and want or need to be tested. The county has established outdoor walk-up testing sites in Pottstown, Norristown, Lansdale, Willow Grove, Ardmore and Green Lane to accommodate those who want to be tested.
The county-run sites provide self-administered tests at no cost, although insurance will be billed if you have it. The sites do require an appointment for testing.
In Pottstown, a testing site is located at the county’s Office of Public Health Pottstown Health Center at 364 King St. Testing is available by appointment Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
In Norristown, a testing site is located on the parking lot of the Delaware Valley Community Health Norristown Regional Health Center at 1401 DeKalb St. Testing is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In Lansdale, a testing site is located at 421 Main St. and is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m.
A testing site also is available at the county’s Willow Grove Office of Public Health at 102 Old York Rd. Testing is available there on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Another testing site is located at Deep Creek and Snyder roads in the Green Lane Park area, where tests are available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m.
In Ardmore, a testing site is located at 114 W. Lancaster Avenue where testing is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m.
To register for a test at any of the six sites, residents can visit www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 and click on the county testing information button. Residents can also register for a test at any of the six sites by calling 610-970-2937.
That phone number as well as the online registration will open at 8:30 a.m. daily.