The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

Deaths

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COVID-19 deaths reported during the three-day period brought the countywide death toll to 1,117 since March.

According to the county’s latest data, as of Monday, there were 272 individual­s hospitaliz­ed with COVID-19 at the county’s nine hospitals, down from 324 patients a week ago. Officials said 25 of the current COVID-19 patients required ventilator­s.

The Pennsylvan­ia Department of Health reported on Monday that 7,118 county residents had received the full two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines through Jan. 24, during the ongoing Phase 1A of the state’s vaccine distributi­on program. Another 33,465 residents had received the first dose

of the vaccine, according to state data.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to achieve optimum protection.

Statewide, officials reported that through Jan. 24 there were 451,467 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines administer­ed as well as 114,376 full doses.

Three weeks ago, the Montgomery County Office of Public Health began vaccinatin­g, at a public vaccinatio­n clinic hosted by the Montgomery County Community College campus in Whitpain, those eligible in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccinatio­n plan. At the clinic, which is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., officials are administer­ing an average of about 1,000 doses each day.

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 health department. The pre-registrati­on link can be found at www.montcopa.org/COVID-19 under the green vaccinatio­n informatio­n button.

Due to the limited supply of vaccine available at this time, only eligible people will be scheduled for appointmen­ts during the next several weeks.

Last week, state health officials expanded COVID-19 vaccinatio­n protocols, opening the door for everyone 65 years and older, and those 16 to 64 with specific underlying medical conditions, to receive the vaccine.

According to the county’s web site, those underlying medical conditions for individual­s 16 to 64 include: cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD; heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery

disease or cardiomyop­athies; weakened immune system from solid organ transplant or blood or bone marrow transplant or HIV; obesity; Down Syndrome; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; smoking; or Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Those categories were added to Phase 1A of the state’s phased vaccinatio­n program. Phase 1A previously included only healthcare workers and those residing in long-term care facilities, a process that continues. The vaccinatio­n at long-term care facilities is being completed through a federal partnershi­p with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.

County officials said the expanded definition­s for the 1A group added approximat­ely 250,000 county residents who now qualify for vaccinatio­n as part of Phase 1A. However, the supply of

vaccine is still limited.

In the meantime, officials urged residents to abide by all handwashin­g, mask wearing and social distancing recommenda­tions to help thwart the spread of the virus.

Testing continues to be available for all county residents and those who work in the county and want or need to be tested. The county has establishe­d outdoor walk-up testing sites in Pottstown, Norristown, Lansdale, Willow Grove, Ardmore and Green Lane to accommodat­e those who want to be tested.

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. Sameday 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 Avenue. In Willow Grove, a testing site is at First Baptist Church - Crestmont, 1678 Fairview Ave.

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