Letter to Editor 03

I am alarmed by the marked increase of COVID-19 occurrence in Indiana County and lack of universal concern and response commensurate with the seriousness of the situation especially since public and economic health are interdependent. Surveillance data strongly suggest that Indiana is on the verge of a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Indiana County Pennsylvania COVID-19 Dashboard (https://

tinyurl.com/y6y97wur) shows a clear rising trend in reported cases, not simply due to more testing. Since June 1, the number of weekly cases has steadily increased from 1 to 54, and more importantly, percent positive tests have increased from 0.8 percent to 10.4 percent.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard (https://www.health.pa.gov/

topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Monitoring-Dashboard.aspx), over its most recent seven days (as of July 23) Indiana was tied for the second-highest percent test positivity in the state (higher than Allegheny County), and was fourth for incidence of cases (higher than Philadelphia) (standardized as number of cases per 100,000 population).

The Harvard Global Health Institute COVID Risk Levels Dashboard (https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/) shows on the basis of incidence over the last seven days (as of Aug. 3) that Indiana is one of only four counties in Pennsylvania designated COVID Risk Level Orange — Accelerated Spread, advising stay-at-home orders and/or rigorous test and trace programs.

To avoid compromising our health, businesses, and schools, we all need to wear face coverings, wash hands and physically distance. The time to act is now so we do not cause an epidemic curve that will have to be painfully flattened later.

Tom Simmons

Indiana