School Event Occurs Despite COVID Outbreak, Causes Montco Spread

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA — While the fall coronavirus surge is chiefly attributed to cooler weather and more time spent indoors, officials say that decisions made by both institutions and individuals have also been instrumental in foiling suppression.

One string of cases in Montgomery County was traced to a recent recreational event which was held at a private school in Philadelphia. The event occurred even though school officials and participating students knew of a recent outbreak in the school.

>>Montco Warns Of ‘Exponential’ COVID Surge, Hospitalizations Rise

A student from Montgomery County attended the event, and became contagious without showing symptoms, according to Commissioner Val Arkoosh. Not knowing he was infected, he attended a different recreational event in Montgomery County days later, passing the virus on to at least five adults.

Two of those five adults were coaches of youth sports teams, Arkoosh said. Those two coaches then spread it to children on their teams.

“This is an illustration of quickly this can spread, how individuals who are contagious, who don’t have symptoms, can infect a number of individuals,” Arkoosh said. “And how those individuals can continue to spread the virus.”

The county did not specify the nature of the event in Philadelphia or provide details on where the spread occurred in this instance in Montgomery County. But transmission has been everywhere, especially in schools that have reopened.

There have been a total of 564 “close contacts” with the virus in schools that have reopened across the county thus far this school year, officials said Wednesday. They did not say how many of those individuals had tested positive.

The number was a result of the county’s robust contact tracing program. A close contact is defined as any student who is within six feet of a student who is infected.

Where these contacts take place largely depends on the school. Many schools are large enough, or have been able to plan their reopens carefully enough, that students are almost always six feet away from one another in classrooms.

However, there are many places where this is impossible. One infected student could easily become a “close contact” for dozens throughout a single school day, officials note.

This article originally appeared on the Norristown Patch

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Montco Had 4 Percent Of PA’s Protection From Abuse Orders In 2019

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA — Montgomery County had one of the largest percentages of protection from abuse orders granted in Pennsylvania in 2019.

That’s according to newly released statistics from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, which analyzed nearly 40,000 different petitions. PFAs are civil orders issued by the state to protect victims or potential victims of domestic violence, usually from a partner or family member.

>>Domestic Violence Rises In Montco: Where To Turn If You Need Help

Montgomery County trailed only Philadelphia (22 percent), Allegheny (9 percent), and Delaware (5 percent) in the largest share of PFAs issued in 2019.

The latest statistics come as Montgomery County sees a rise in domestic violence cases in 2020 since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Isolation and quarantine have exacerbated underlying issues and caused increased stress in many cases, officials say. In the early months of the outbreak, cases of reported domestic violence increased by 9 percent in the county.

There’s also been a rise in relationship-related homicides in the county in 2020. They account for nine of 2020’s 14 homicides, per the District Attorney’s Office.

The county kept the courts working through the pandemic so that residents could continue to file PFAs.

PFAs can require that a domestic abuser have no contact with the victim or children. They can also order the abuser to leave the home where the abuse is taking place, or pay fines related to the abuse.

Statewide, the total number of PFAs filed increased to 39,132 in 2019. It’s a number that’s trickled steadily upwards since 2015, when 37,563 orders were filed.

There are numerous other resources available for victims in Montgomery County:

Laurel House

  • Open 24/7

  • Provides immediate, safe shelter for victims and children of victims

  • Provides counseling via Telehealth

  • Call 800-642-3150

  • Website

Women’s Center of Montgomery County

  • Open 24/7

  • Partners with law enforcement to provide counseling, relocation assistance, help with protection from abuse orders, and other advocacy to victims

  • Call 800-773-2424

  • Website

Victim Services Center

  • Open 24/7

  • Offers crisis counseling, medical exam support, help with protection from abuse orders, and more

  • Provides counseling via Telehealth

  • Call 888-521-0983

  • Website

Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center

  • Mental health treatment, resource referrals, medical care

  • Trauma therapy offered through Telehealth

  • Open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Call 484-687-2990

  • Website

This article originally appeared on the Norristown Patch

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