FCI-Loretto

The Federal Corrections Institution, Loretto, is shown on January 11, 2019.

An apparent outbreak at the federal prison in Loretto appears to have driven Cambria County’s 30-case surge in COVID-19 cases as reported on Wednesday.

The county’s record one-day increase was part of 705 added to the state total on Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said.

The department reported 12 new deaths, bringing the state totals to 115,714 cases and 7,244 total deaths attributed to COVID-19.

The health department’s ZIP code tracking shows 25 new cases in Loretto’s 15940 area overnight, and the federal Bureau of Prisons COVID-19 tracker jumped from 12 prisoners on Tuesday to 31 on Wednesday. The report shows that seven prison staff have tested positive, as well.

The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to an emailed request for additional information.

Cambria County’s 30 new cases more than doubled its previous one-day record of 14 and pushed the county total to more than 300 confirmed cases since the first positive test report on March 23.

The statewide report for Wednesday continued the downward trend in cases. The state’s rolling seven-day average continued to decline, dropping below 800 to an average of 785 cases a day since July 29.

Somerset County had one case removed from its total.

Blair and Clearfield counties each added two new cases. Bedford added one, Indiana added four, Westmoreland added 11 and Fayette County added eight.

There now have been 312 cases and three deaths in Cambria County, 127 cases and three deaths in Somerset County, 134 cases and four deaths in Bedford County, 241 cases and three deaths in Blair County, 144 cases and no deaths in Clearfield County, 431 cases and four deaths in Fayette County, 283 cases and six deaths in Indiana County and 1,475 cases and 46 deaths in Westmoreland County. 

The state estimates that 76% of those infected with coronavirus have recovered, which is almost 88,000 people.

Wednesday’s report added 46 cases among residents of nursing and personal care homes and 23 cases among employees at the long-term care facilities.

There were 19 resident deaths added, for a total of 4,941 deaths in the homes since the first cases were reported in March. 

The health department has noted there are frequently delays in reconciling death data from long-term care homes with the daily reported deaths.

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