Cambria and Westmoreland counties have joined Somerset and Clearfield counties as areas with an elevated spread of COVID-19, where masks are recommended even for fully vaccinated people in most public indoor settings.
Although Cambria is not shown as “elevated” in Tuesday’s updated map by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, all three counties have had more than 50 new cases for every 100,000 population over the past seven days.
Pennsylvania Department of Health’s update Tuesday showed Cambria added 20 new cases and Westmoreland added 31 new cases on Tuesday, pushing the counties’ seven-day totals to 51.5 per 100,000 residents for Cambria and 52.7 per 100,000 for Westmoreland.
Meanwhile, Indiana County’s four COVID-19 cases on Tuesday dropped its seven-day figure to 46.4 cases per 100,000 and back into the “moderate” level of spread, along with Blair, Bedford and Centre counties in this region.
Masking is still recommended for unvaccinated people in counties with low or moderate spread under the CDC guidelines.
The CDC’s levels of transmission are based on either the seven-day new cases per 100,000 people or the seven-day percent positivity for all COVID-19 tests.
Low spread is fewer than 15 new cases per 100,000 people or less than 5% positivity. Moderate spread is 15 to 50 new cases per 100,000 people or 5-8% positivity. Substantial spread is 50 to 100 new cases per 100,000 people or 8-10% positivity. High spread is more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people or more than 10% positivity.
Giant Eagle will again require employees and “strongly suggest” shoppers wear masks, the company announced Tuesday.
“As we witness increases in positive COVID-19 cases across our communities and the country, we are reinstituting the wearing of face masks, cloth face coverings or face shields for Team Members and guests this week, inclusive of all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” the press release said.
With the spread of the delta variant, the grocery store chain is also stepping up education measures to encourage employees to get the vaccine and looking into a vaccination requirement for staff.
“Through these and other efforts, we can all do our part to keep our communities (and) our local businesses thriving and our students and teachers in the best possible position for the upcoming school year,” the press release said.
There were 1,442 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths attributed to the virus in Tuesday’s update by the health department. It put the state’s rolling seven-day average at 1,043 cases a day, pushing it to more than 1,000 daily cases for the first time since May 28. Pennsylvania has had 1,228,961 cases and 27,868 deaths since the pandemic struck last year.
For the second day in a row, Westmoreland County had one new COVID-19 death.
Westmoreland’s 31 new cases and Cambria’s 20 new cases led the region. Clearfield added 12 cases, Centre added 10 cases, Somerset added nine cases, Blair added six cases, Bedford added five cases and Indiana added four cases.
Meanwhile, combining the state health department report with Tuesday’s update by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health shows vaccine providers have administered 13,491,181 doses and there are now 6,642,047 people fully vaccinated in Pennsylvania.