Vaccine Shots

Mount Aloysuis College first year nursing student (right) Madison Grove gives Karen Zucco, 75, of Johnstown her first Pfizer vaccine shot at the Highlands Health Clinic in Johnstown vaccine distribution event held at St. Mark’s Church in Johnstown on Friday, March 12, 2021.

Half of all adults in Pennsylvania are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Health announced Thursday.

The milestone was announced the same day the state was on track to administer its 10 millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Thursday morning, providers had administered 9,969,849 vaccine doses, with an average of more than 65,300 doses being administered each day for the past week.

There are now 4,346,446 people who are fully vaccinated and another 1,637,837 partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine.

State and local COVID-19 cases continue to trend lower. Thursday’s report showed 1,430 additional positives statewide, marking the fifth consecutive day with fewer than 2,000 new cases. That hasn’t happened since before Pennsylvania first topped 2,000 daily cases on Oct. 22.

Cambria County added 29 cases, Somerset and Blair counties each added 25 cases, Bedford County added 17 cases, Indiana County added 15 cases, Clearfield County added nine cases, Centre County added six cases and Westmoreland County added 53 cases.

The rolling seven-day average for Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Blair counties continue a downward trend.

Thursday’s new cases brought the seven-day average to 27 cases a day for Cambria County, down from 42 cases two weeks ago.

Blair County dropped from an average of 46 cases to 24 cases over two weeks. Somerset dropped from 21 cases to 16 cases and Bedford dropped from 13 cases to eight cases a day.

No additional COVID-19 deaths in the eight-county region were among 40 recorded statewide in Thursday’s update.

The report brings Pennsylvania’s totals to 1,191,532 cases and 26,965 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

It is estimated that 93% of all COVID-19 patients have recovered, which is more than 1.1 million people.

Also on Thursday, the Pennsylvania Prison Society commended the Department of Corrections for beginning to reopen prisons to visitors. A press release credited prison advocates with prompting the decision.

“After we put out our call to action last week, at least 200 of you called Governor Wolf’s office to ask that he make prisons part of the state’s Memorial Day reopening plans,” the press release said, adding, “This is a big victory for incarcerated people and their loved ones, who have gone the entire pandemic without an in-person visit.”

The state announced SCI-Laurel Highlands in Somerset County would open for visitors on Saturday and four more would reopen by June 3. The remaining prisons will reopen for visitors in phases, based on each facility’s rate of vaccination, number of active infections, and results from tests that detect levels of the coronavirus in wastewater.

The society is asking for more details, saying the announcement “leaves open the question of when visits will resume in the remaining 19 state prisons, and what specific benchmarks for vaccination and infection rates they need to hit first.” 

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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