The Westmoreland County Commissioners on Thursday issued a plea to county residents to continue practicing coronavirus (COVID-19) safety measures over the Independence Day holiday weekend.

The reminder to keep following social distancing guidelines and the statewide order requiring the wearing of masks comes as Westmoreland County has seen a recent uptick in confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday reported 37 new cases in Westmoreland County, marking the fifth time in six days that the county showed a double-digit increase in total cases.

As of noon Thursday, according to the state health department, there had been 685 confirmed coronavirus cases in Westmoreland County and 26 probable cases. The department lists the county’s COVID-19 death total as 38, with the last coronavirus death in the county recorded May 10. The Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office website reflects a COVID-19 death total of 32 for the county, with the last death recorded May 7. There had been 18,115 negative coronavirus tests in the county as of the latest update from the state health department.

“Through the tremendous efforts of the residents of Westmoreland County, we worked together to successfully transition from yellow to green. The commitment of the citizens of Westmoreland County has been nothing short of extraordinary. We have as a whole changed our daily activities for the benefit of our fellow residents,” county commissioners Gina Cerilli, Doug Chew and Sean Kertes said in the press release. “As cases spike throughout the country, we need to maintain the united effort that we have demonstrated over the past few months. We would urge you to stay safe this holiday weekend by practicing the measures that have been put in place for our community as a whole.”

The measures outlined by the commissioners to help prevent the spread of coronavirus include:

  • Wearing a mask, unless an exception applies, in accordance with the Secretary of Health’s July 1 order concerning masking;
  • Maintaining social distancing of 6 feet;
  • Avoiding large gatherings in excess of 250 people;
  • Businesses following occupancy limits as previously set by Gov. Tom Wolf;
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick and staying home if you are sick;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Covering your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

“We cannot stress the importance of being safe this weekend in order to keep our numbers low and to keep our economy open,” the commissioners said. “We have learned that additional restrictions could be placed on Westmoreland County if our numbers continue to increase. The measures that you practice will enable the county to stay in the green phase, protect the health of residents, continue the path towards economic recovery, and prevent the governor from placing additional restrictions on Westmoreland County.

“As always, we cannot thank the citizens of Westmoreland County enough for their cooperation and understanding during these unprecedented times. Let’s show the other 66 counties in Pennsylvania how we avoid COVID in Westmoreland County!”

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