COVID cases tick up, no new deaths in county

September 15, 2020 Cranberry Local News

Since Friday, Butler County added 15 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, but no new deaths due to the virus, according to state data.

According to daily reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Butler County added nine new confirmed cases Saturday, zero on Sunday and six on Monday. No new deaths were added to the county's toll, which remains at 21.

According to Monday's report, the county has had 856 residents test positive for the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Butler Health System has reported an increase of one inpatient at Butler Memorial Hospital since its report Friday, and all seven of their current inpatients have confirmed cases of the virus. None of those patients is being treated in the intensive care unit.

In a news conference Monday, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine used the opportunity to again appeal to college students specifically about their recent contributions to case increases.

“I have a very important message for college and university students across Pennsylvania,” she said. “We need your help.”

Levine highlighted the northeast and northcentral regions specifically in regard to spikes among 19- to 24-year-olds.

According to state data, the southwest region, to which Butler County belongs, had about 5 percent of its cases in April come from this age group. However, that age group has made up about 30 percent of cases in September.

According to Slippery Rock University figures, 65 students have tested positive for the virus since Aug. 20. From Sept. 7 to Sunday, the university added 23 new confirmed cases to that total.

In comments one week ago, SRU President William Behre said he trusted his students would make the right decisions, and the university is doing its part through a partnership with Allegheny Health Network to track and contain its COVID-19 cases.

Levine said it is important for students to understand that their decisions affect not only themselves and their campus, but also the community they call a temporary home.

According to the Department of Health, SRU students who are living in Butler County will be counted toward the county's COVID-19 data, even if they are from other areas.

“College and university students are uniquely positioned now to help the course of the spread of this virus by changing and adapting your actions to protect yourselves, your friends and others in the community,” Levine said.

Butler County has had climbing figures in COVID-19 data over the past two weeks, according to the Department of Health's Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard.

From Sept. 4 to Thursday, the county was attributed with a 6.2 percent positivity rate, which had increased 1.8 percent from the week before.

From Sept. 1 to Monday, the county has added 133 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an average of 9.5 cases per day, according to a compilation of the state's daily reporting.

Nathan Bottiger

Nathan Bottiger

Nathan Bottiger graduated with a degree in journalism in 2015 from Pitt-Johnstown. A business reporter, he also covers Slippery Rock borough, township and school district.