Montgomery County Commissioner Valerie Arkoosh urged county residents to continue following all COVID-19 guidelines provided by the state and the county as numbers start to decline.
Arkoosh announced on Wednesday there was an outbreak at a cheerleading tournament that had 14 teams participating and at least 55 people inside at a time. That tournament has produced at least 27 COVID-19 cases across seven of those 14 teams.
“Those individuals are from multiple counties including Montgomery County,” Arkoosh said. “I raise the particular event up because while that facility did have a health and safety plan, they had not submitted a specific COVID-19 mitigation plan to our office of public health.”
Arkoosh reminded residents that if they are holding an event or gathering inside with the allowed amount of people to contact the Office of Public Health so it can work with them to create a safe environment.
Arkoosh also said her office is receiving questions about travel guidelines for those who are already vaccinated and decide to travel out of state. Individuals would like to know if they have to follow two-week quarantine guidelines even if they are vaccinated.
“This question has been asked to the Pennsylvania Department of Health but while PADOH reviews this issue they have reiterated that the current travel quarantine guidance still holds regardless of vaccination status,” Arkoosh said.
The weekly numbers reported by Akroosh were lower than they have been in a while, with 837 total cases from Feb. 17 to Feb. 23 making a daily case count of 119.6 cases. There are now a total of 46,199 cases in Montgomery County with a positivity rate of 6.12 percent as of Feb. 18. The total number of deaths caused by COVID-19 are 1,200 with 19 additional deaths reported.
Arkoosh was feeling optimistic about the decline in case numbers and the increase in vaccination numbers but she reiterated that the county still had a long way to go in terms of getting the virus under control and getting everyone who wants to be vaccinated fully vaccinated.
“We are seeing steady declines within our numbers but our numbers are still high,” Arkoosh said. “If you look at where we were all Summer and well into the Fall, we have a long way to go to get down to those kinds of numbers. While we are in a better place than we were six weeks ago, we are in no means through this yet.”
With warmer weather starting up again and spring on the horizon, there are hopes that Spring may help the numbers decrease even more with people being outside more and the virus being less transmissible in humid weather.
“Everything is going in the right direction at this point,” Arkoosh said. “My hope is that these more contagious variants don’t take hold here in any substantive way and that we are able to get people vaccinated and people are able to get outdoors soon enough. I want to remind people, indoor gatherings remain high risk.”
Though hopeful of what is to come for the virus in the Montgomery County community, Arkoosh urged people to continue following guidelines and participating in mitigation measures until the virus is completely under control.
“We still have a fair amount of virus in our community,” Arkoosh said. “Not as much as we did a few weeks ago, but we still have a lot out there. People need to wear their masks, wash their hands and keep their distance.”