COVID-19 cases in the region continue to climb, and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients remains high, while Fayette and Washington counties recorded more COVID deaths, the state Department of Health said Thursday.

Fayette County tallied an additional 192 cases, raising the county’s total COVID cases to 26,615.

Additionally, one more person died from COVID, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 566.

In Greene County, where the total number of COVID cases reported in the last week has been the highest since the pandemic began, 48 more cases were recorded, bringing that county’s total to 7,300 cases.

No new deaths were reported there.

An additional 446 positive cases were recorded in Washington County on Wednesday, bringing the total number of COVID cases to 45,065.

The DOH also reported four more coronavirus deaths, raising the death toll to 557 in Washington County.

Meanwhile, ICUs in the counties are full or near capacity. In Washington County, COVID hospitalizations are up 58% from the average two weeks ago; in Fayette, the number of COVID patients in the hospital has risen 19% from the average two weeks ago; in Greene County, that figure is 18%, according to data.

Also, the DOH announced that new, free COVID-19 sites will be open this week, including a testing site at Greene County Airport, 417 East Roy Furman Highway, Waynesburg, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

“Testing is one of the commonwealth’s most important tools in the fight against COVID-19,” said Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter. “We encourage anyone who feels they need or wants a test, especially if they think they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, to take advantage of the free COVID-19 testing closest to them.”

In Pennsylvania, 39,093 people have died from COVID-19. With the addition of 15,295 new cases, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth has reached 2,523,589.

Nationwide, more than 858,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

With transmission rates – fueled by the omicron variant – as high as they are, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control now recommends that people upgrade from cloth masks to the highly protective N95 or KN95 masks.

Starting Jan. 24, Washington Health System will require all patients and visitors to wear a surgical mask, a KN95 or an N95 mask while in any of the health system’s facilities.

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