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'Evidence Of Community Spread': Westmoreland County Battling Increase In Coronavirus Cases

WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) -- The increase in coronavirus cases in Westmoreland County continues at an alarming rate.

When it comes to the coronavirus, October has been a bad month for Westmoreland County.

"The numbers are rising and it is a concern," said Bud Mertz, the director of Westmoreland County Public Safety.

In just seven days, there have been 493 new cases. Tuesday's numbers were a near-record, tallying 89 confirmed infections. Why is this happening?

"Our seasons have changed a little, and we're moving back indoors again. There is definite evidence of community spread," Mertz said.

Westmoreland Manor and the county jail are both seeing increases in coronavirus cases, and county commissioners halted operations last week after Commissioner Doug Chew contracted coronavirus.

Mertz also told KDKA that Westmoreland County is getting higher numbers because the county is getting better at finding cases.

"There's more mandatory testing being done by different groups, the contact tracing is becoming more effective now," Mertz said.

According to the state, coronavirus cases in Westmoreland County stand at nearly 3,000, with 64 dead as a result. But county officials say knowing the numbers and stopping the spread are two different things.

"Don't become that social media expert out there, where you are calling other people's opinions," Mertz said. "Read up on the legitimate web pages that are out there providing information, like the CDC and Department of Health. The washing of hands, the distancing, the wearing of masks are important factors."

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