Coronavirus bug

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been trending upward in the region – likely the result of a spike in cases last month, health officials said Wednesday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 complications are up in both Blair and Cambria counties this week – as are their 14-day averages – marking one of just a few jumps since spring.

Blair County had 30 patients, while Cambria County – in this case, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center – had 16.

The state tracks hospitalization trends through 14-day averages and Blair’s had inched up to 20 patients this week, while Cambria’s was at 13.5.

The average for Cambria was 11 patients two weeks earlier.

Somerset County had four hospitalizations this week, which lines up with the recent average.

Those rates are a fraction of the steep numbers that filled the region’s hospitals one year ago.

But health officials have cautioned against complacency, continuing to urge residents to stay up to date with the latest booster shots, to quarantine when infected and to wear masks indoors when crowded situations call for it.

New omicron subvariants, including BQ.1, are quickly becoming dominant strains in the U.S.

For those interested in scheduling COVID-19 vaccines or the latest bivalent boosters, visit vaccines.gov to view locations and appointment details.

Weekly cases

Cambria County added 141 COVID-19 cases over the past seven days and now has tallied 41,108 since spring 2020.

The county’s weekly total is down from two weeks ago, when Cambria recorded more than 270 cases.

The county also added three deaths last week, Department of Health figures show.

Somerset County added 76 cases and one death, while Bedford County added 34 cases.

Blair County added 106 cases and five deaths, which was the region’s highest death total.

Indiana County added 120 cases and Clearfield County added 103 cases, while each recorded one death.

Centre County added 146 cases and two deaths.

Westmoreland County added 398 cases along with four new deaths over the past seven days. 

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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