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 six more COVID-19 deaths and 94 new positive cases of the virus on Tuesday.

The latest six COVID-19 deaths included two females and four males who ranged in age from 56 to 90 and the deaths bring the county’s death toll to 699 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 Tuesday.

To date, 374 females and 325 males have died from the virus in the county.

The 699 total deaths were “confirmed positive” COVID-19 cases through the use of lab tests.

Meanwhile, officials reported a total of 94 new positive cases of the virus on Tuesday, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 7,124 since March 7. Twenty-nine 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 43 males and 51 females who ranged in age from 1 to 99 and they lived in 31 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.

The commissioners said a COVID-19 food relief effort, coordinated by the Montco Anti-Hunger Network, in conjunction with the Eastern Montgomery County Emergency Management Group, Feeding Pennsylvania and Philabundance, will continue on June 4 and June 11 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, off Route 422, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The distribution of the food boxes will be coordinated by the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety.

Distribution is limited to 1,500 vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis. Each vehicle will receive two boxes of food, regardless of household size, and anyone in need is welcome, officials said. No identification is required.

“Some of our residents were already food insecure and the COVID-19 pandemic has just exacerbated that,” said Arkoosh, adding the program will provide “another resource of free food for more families suffering economic losses, kids missing school lunches and vulnerable seniors.”

The food is being provided at no cost through the U. S. Department of Agriculture Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and will consist of two boxes of food for each vehicle.

Participants must arrive with their vehicles’ windows rolled up and stay inside the vehicles. Drivers will be directed to open their trunks and volunteers will place the food boxes inside in a contactless manner.

More information about the weekly food distribution can be found at www.MontcoAntiHunger.org

Any food boxes that aren’t distributed will be disbursed to local food banks in the county, officials said.

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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