Val Arkoosh at press briefing in Eagleville

Montgomery County Commissioners Chairwoman Dr. Valerie Arkoosh answers a question during a recent COVID-19 press briefing at the county's Emergency Operation Center in Eagleville.

EAGLEVILLE — Montgomery County officials reported 16 more COVID-19 deaths and 172 new positive cases over a three-day period ending Monday.

The latest 16 COVID-19 deaths included five females and 11 males who ranged in age from 52 to 101 and the deaths bring the county’s death toll to 693 since March 7, when the first two cases of the virus were identified in the county, according to the county commissioners, who released their latest update on the pandemic on Monday.

To date, 372 females and 321 males have died from the virus in the county.

The 693 total deaths were “confirmed positive” COVID-19 cases through the use of lab tests.

Officials reported that as of Friday, there were more than 100 other deaths that have been listed as “probable” COVID-19 deaths. Those are deaths that list COVID-19 as a cause of death on a death certificate but in which there was no laboratory confirmation of the virus.

Meanwhile, officials reported a total of 172 new positive cases of the virus from May 30 to June 1, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 7,031 since March 7. Thirty-six of the latest individuals to test positive resided in long-term care facilities and the remainder were other members in the community.

The new positive cases included 71 males and 101 females who ranged in age from 1-month to 98 and they lived in 34 different municipalities.

“Thanks to your sacrifices and hard work, Montgomery County remains on track to move to the 'yellow phase' on June 5,” said Commissioners’ Chairwoman Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, referring to Gov. Tom Wolf’s color-coded reopening plan for the state. “As the coronavirus continues to remain in our community, each of us must be personally responsible for our actions and work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Montgomery County.”

Last week, Wolf said the county can move from the “red phase” to the “yellow phase” of the reopening plan, a phase that will loosen some restrictions, including the stay-at-home order, on June 5.

However, the commissioners pointed out that even in the yellow phase, telework should continue where feasible and gatherings of more than 25 people will be prohibited. Visitor restrictions will remain in place at congregate care settings and at the county jail. In-person retail operations are allowable but curbside and delivery, if possible, are recommended.

Arkoosh previously said the county has put in place the infrastructure necessary to move to the yellow phase. Once the county moves into the yellow phase, officials will be watching for surges in positive cases, or “hotspots,” and will monitor how much hospital space is available and measure testing and contact tracing capabilities in the county.

Officials said community-based testing opportunities continue to be available in Pottstown, Whitpain and Norristown.

A walkup testing site is available at the county’s Office of Public Health Pottstown Health Center at 364 King St. Testing is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment only. To make an appointment, residents should call 610-970-2937 beginning at 8:30 a.m. daily.

A drive-thru site at the central campus of the Montgomery County Community College in Whitpain is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily as testing supplies allow. Registration for each day’s appointments will open at 8 a.m. daily and will remain open until all available spots are filled. Individuals can register online at www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 or can call 610-631-3000 to register for a testing appointment.

A walk-up community-based testing site for Norristown residents is located on the parking lot of the Delaware Valley Community Health Norristown Regional Health Center, 1401 DeKalb St. The free testing is provided by appointment only from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In addition to being available to test Norristown residents, the site also offers tests to all established patients of the Delaware Valley Community Health Center regardless of where they reside, officials said. Residents can register for testing by calling 610-592-0680 starting at 8:30 a.m. daily.

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