Val Arkoosh

Montgomery County Board of Commissioners' Chairwoman Dr. Valerie Arkoosh participates in a meeting.

NORRISTOWN — Coronavirus cases continue to climb in Montgomery County as a total of 1,733 new COVID-19 cases were reported over the past week, Montgomery County Commissioners’ Chairwoman Dr. Val Arkoosh said Tuesday.

Arkoosh addressed reporters Tuesday afternoon during the weekly virtual update, and the case numbers were accounted for the days following the Nov. 18 press briefing.

Arkoosh said the county's 14-day average positivity rate "is 8.17 percent as of Thursday, November the 19th. Compared with 7.04 percent as of Friday, Nov. 13."

“The fall surge in COVID-19 cases continues here in Montgomery County, across southeastern Pennsylvania and across our commonwealth,” Arkoosh said. “We remain in a period of rapidly escalating cases and hospitalizations and sadly we are beginning to see an increase in deaths.”

Of the 1,733 cases, Arkoosh said that 46 were from long term care facilities, one came from the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, two were from the Norristown State Hospital, and the remaining 1,684 were from the general public. Those affected are countywide and range in age from 11 days old to 110 years old.

250 cases and two deaths were recorded specifically on Tuesday, according to the Montgomery County COVID-19 resources webpage. Of the 250 cases reported, 11 came from area long-term care facilities, according to the Montgomery County COVID-19 resources webpage.

These figures bring the countrywide totals 19,082 cases and 864 deaths from the novel coronavirus since March 7, according to the county’s COVID-19 resources webpage.

Arkoosh noted that “hospitalizations continue to increase" as 270 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Montgomery County facilities, according to the county’s COVID-19 resources webpage. 

Arkoosh stressed that area residents continue following health and safety practices including wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and keeping their hands clean.

She urged people to download the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID Alert PA app. The application will notify people if they’ve been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

“This is particularly important now because as we have so many cases we are trying to contact trace, we may not get to people who have been exposed as quickly as we would like to,” Arkoosh said. “So, if you have that app, if everybody in our community here in the county had that app, it would go a long way to conferring protection in our community.”

Arkoosh also encouraged people to get tested and cooperate with contact tracers.

Free COVID-19 testing is available for people of all ages who live, work or attend school in Montgomery County at the following times and locations:

  • Ardmore: 2-6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 12-4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at 114 W. Lancaster Ave. in Ardmore.
  • Green Lane: 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 12-2 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at 2144 Snyder Road in Green Lane.
  • Lansdale: 2-6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 12-4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at 421 W. Main St. in Lansdale.
  • Norristown: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 1-5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at 1401 Dekalb St. in Norristown.
  • Pottstown: 12-2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at 364 King St. in Pottstown.
  • Willow Grove: 12-4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 2-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at 1678 Fairview Ave. in Willow Grove.

Those interested must make an appointment, and registration begins at 8:30 a.m. each day. To do so, visit, and click the “county testing information” tab, or call 610-970-2937. Spanish-speaking operators can also assist as well as translation resources for other languages.

Due to increased demand, Arkoosh announced that testing site hours would change to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday starting on Nov. 30.

“I want to continue to urge anyone who wants or needs to get tested to get tested,” she said.

The county currently has 62 contact tracers, according to Arkoosh. However, due to increasing test results, she noted that “priority” for contact tracing is placed on people ages 18 years and younger, 65 years and older or those in a “community” or “household cluster.”

Turning to local education policies, Arkoosh noted the county health board’s recent mandate to order public and private schools to operate virtually. The order took effect Monday and will last until Monday, Dec. 7.

“Resuming in-person education does not require any vote or other action by the Montgomery County Board of Health, Arkoosh said. “Should the board of health feel it is necessary to change this order, a special meeting will be called for that purpose. No special meeting has been scheduled.”

The state’s health and education departments issued updated recommendations on school learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Arkoosh, who added that Pennsylvania officials “recommend full remote learning model for all schools in counties with substantial levels of community transmission.”

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, positivity rates less than 5 percent provide the threshold to stipulate that a county is suppressing the virus and keeping the spread under control.

Additionally, Arkoosh stressed the importance of following guidelines with respect to schools and businesses.

“I hope that you share these goals because these goals will be extremely difficult to meet without cooperation from every person in this county,” she said.

Citing the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Arkoosh noted that asymptomatic people account for “over 50 percent of COVID[-19] transmissions,” and that the novel coronavirus is “transmitted by respiratory droplets.” Arkoosh also endorsed the effectiveness of masks.

“It is these facts I hope you will take into consideration as you think about how you are going to celebrate thanksgiving this year,” she said. “All public health experts agree that no one should [have] an indoor thanksgiving celebration with anyone outside of their household or family bubble.”

For more information, visit the county’s Office of Public Health online guidelines bulletin at

Looking ahead, Arkoosh said with “at least two highly effective vaccines,” that “could be available” in “limited quantities by [the] first of [the] year." 

Arkoosh said county agencies are “deep into planning for vaccine distribution to the public once it becomes available.”

“As we stare down the surge keep this hopeful news in mind,” Arkoosh said. “There will be an end to this, but we have a number of months to get through before we can begin to return to our pre-Covid lives.”

For more information, visit the COVID-19 resources webpage at

@rachelravina on Twitter

Rachel Ravina is a journalist covering news and lifestyle features in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Blue Bell and graduated from Penn State. She's also a news enthusiast who is passionate about covering topics people want to read.

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