NORRISTOWN — Coronavirus cases continued to surge this week as Montgomery County closes in on a total of 50,000 positive cases since the pandemic began a year ago.
The 175 daily new positive COVID-19 cases reported in the county on Thursday brought the county’s total number of positive cases to 49,934 since March 7, 2020, when the first two cases of the virus were identified in the county, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.
The 175 new cases also represented an increase from the 145 reported on Wednesday and 102 reported on Tuesday.
Officials reported no new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, leaving the county’s death toll at 1,257 since the pandemic began a year ago.
There were 139 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county’s nine hospitals on Thursday, up from 109 a week ago, according to the latest data. Twelve of the current patients require ventilators, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported on Thursday that 86,170 county residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, receiving either the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine or both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, during the ongoing Phase 1A of the state’s vaccine distribution program. Another 137,296 residents have received a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to state data.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to achieve optimum protection.
Pennsylvania neared 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday amid rising infections and word of a setback in the state's accelerating COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
The Department of Health reported another 4,667 new cases — the highest single-day number since early February — to bring Pennsylvania to within a few hundred of the milestone. Daily infections have risen more than 10% in two weeks, with hospitalizations beginning to drift up, too.
Appointments are required to receive the vaccine. All those eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A can pre-register to receive the vaccine through the county Office of Public Health. The pre-registration link can be found at www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 under the green vaccination information button.
Residents who don’t have internet access can call the county’s COVID-19 hotline at (833) 875-3967 to connect with a volunteer who can assist them in pre-registering for a vaccine.
The county Office of Public Health previously opened vaccination clinics at Norristown High School, at the Montgomery County Community College campus in Whitpain and at the Parkside Shopping Center, in the former Petco location, in Willow Grove.
Additionally, health officials, in coordination with the county Department of Public Safety, established a mobile vaccination program to begin taking vaccine to the county's most vulnerable elderly residents who would otherwise not be able to visit a mass vaccination site. That program, under the direction of Dr. Alvin Wang, is currently serving elderly individuals who live in congregate senior housing.
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 established outdoor walk-up testing sites in Pottstown, Norristown, Lansdale, Willow Grove, Ardmore and Green Lane.
The six 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.
The six sites are open Monday through Friday, weather permitting and at varying hours. Same-day appointments can be made weekdays starting at 7 a.m. by visiting www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 and clicking on the county testing information button. Residents can also register for a test at any of the six sites by calling 610-970-2937 beginning at 8:30 a.m. daily.
In Pottstown, the testing site is located at the county’s Office of Public Health Pottstown Health Center at 364 King St.
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.
In Lansdale, a testing site is located at 421 Main St. Another testing site is located at Deep Creek and Snyder roads in the Green Lane Park area.
In Ardmore, a testing site is located at 114 W. Lancaster Ave. In Willow Grove, a testing site is at First Baptist Church - Crestmont, 1678 Fairview Ave.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)