NORRISTOWN, PA — Montgomery County achieved a milestone on Wednesday, recording its lowest percent positivity rate on all coronavirus tests since the beginning of the pandemic. The 2.36 rate is lower than the 2.4 percent rating achieved all the way back on Aug. 10.
The intervening seven weeks saw a slight rise in cases which was classified by officials as “concerning” in late August and early September. However, all key metrics, including the oft-cited positivity rating, have dipped notably since that time.
"Montgomery County residents earned this," State Rep. Joe Webster said in a Thursday statement. "I am so proud of my community for doing what's necessary to keep ourselves and those around us safe."
The county has “suppressed” the virus, defined as keeping a positivity rate below 5 percent, since June 18.
Additionally, from Sept. 11 through Sept. 25, 24,373 Montgomery County residents were tested. It marks the largest number of people tested in any two-week period countywide.
“The fact that we are testing so many people, really shows that we are doing good surveillance of our community, and that’s what we want,” Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh said in a news conference Wednesday.
In addition to widespread testing, helped along by a partnership with a North Carolina lab which has vastly improved the response time of results, contact tracing has been another reason for the county’s recent success.
Arkoosh noted that they are still having trouble getting into contact with 30 to 40 percent of the people they need to get in contact with. Repeated phone calls and voicemails go unanswered.
Contact tracers are “highly trained” and “non-judgmental,” Arkoosh said, and exist solely to help keep the community, and any potentially exposed individuals, safe.
Over the past week, the county has seen 257 new cases of the virus. The average daily rate for the past 14 days is at 35.4, nearly seven lower than it was two weeks ago.