KITTANNING — Over the past several days, the first cases of the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed in Armstrong and Butler counties.
After Butler Health System confirmed last week the first case in Butler County, followed by several more identified cases, ACMH Hospital confirmed yesterday (Tuesday) the first case in Armstrong County.
“As of Tuesday, March 24, ACMH Hospital has its first patient with coronavirus in-house,” the hospital said in a news release. “This is the first positive case identified in Armstrong County. ACMH has notified the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Individuals with known sustained contact with the patient are being identified and contacted, as appropriate.”
The hospital said that ACMH officials continue to follow specific procedural and safety measures as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to ensure patient and staff safety.
ACMH Hospital officials are asking that patients who are attempting to come in for routine lab work or other procedures contact their ordering provider to see if it is medically necessary to come at this time – or if the testing can be postponed.
After the first cases were reported Saturday in Butler County, Butler Health System officials said the patient, who had been sick, was directed by his physician to be tested at BHS’s outdoor site earlier in the week.
The patient, a Butler County resident, is recovering at home.
BHS has notified Pennsylvania Department of Health and Butler County of the confirmed case.
Hospital officials said BHS works collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Department of Health in the ongoing care and monitoring of this patient, as it will with any future confirmed cases.
Butler Health System’s Medical Director of Infectious Diseases, John Love, MD, PhD, issued the following statement:
“Butler Health System has been prepared for COVID-19, and has implemented the proper protocols and infection control best practices. In addition to its internal processes and controls, BHS adheres to CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines. The top priority at BHS is the safety of patients, staff and the community. BHS continues to care for all patients throughout its network.”
BHS emphasizes that if you are not feeling well, before visiting a doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency department, call your primary care doctor or BHS Care Center at (833) 602-CARE (2273) for guidance.
As of Tuesday, five cases had been confirmed in Butler County, one in Armstrong County, one in Mercer county and zero in Clarion, Jefferson, Venango and Forest counties. Across the state, 851 cases have been confirmed as of Tuesday.
Armstrong County Department of Public Safety was made aware of a positive COVID-19 test Tuesday, March 24, at 9:30 a.m. by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) via PEMA.
“We have been in contact with local healthcare providers, emergency medical services and municipalities to support any unmet needs they may have,” a press release from the county states.
All public access to the Courthouse Annex building is being restricted at this time. Anyone who has business with the departments housed in that building can call, email or use the county website to contact the various departments.
County officials encourage residents to continue to use the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for social distancing, handwashing and self-quarantine.
“If you are exhibiting symptoms similar to or associated with COVID-19, please stay home. Call your primary care physician and discuss your medical care,” the county urged. “If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1 and advise the dispatcher of your symptoms and any possible exposure so the appropriate response personnel can be sent to you.
“We will continue to assess the situation within the county and provide support for our partners and the public.”