Feb. 18 – JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Conemaugh Health System Chief Medical Officer Elizabeth Dunmore shared positive news with area business leaders during a Zoom call Friday regarding the status of the COVID pandemic -19.

“We, like the rest of the country, are seeing the numbers go down,” she said. “And this week we’re averaging 25-50 cases a day, so we’re definitely seeing an improvement there.”

Dunmore addressed a group of about 20 attendees at the event, hosted by the Cambria Regional Chamber.

Amy Bradley, president and CEO of the chamber, led the discussion.

“I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Dunmore for many years at Conemaugh and I can tell you she is passionate about good healthcare,” Bradley said.

Bradley went through a list of questions for Dunmore, ranging from reducing caseloads and lifting restrictions to advice for business owners.

“In a commercial setting…we always experience high transmission, so you want everyone to be masked and encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” Dunmore said.

Bradley asked what kind of face covering is best to wear, and Dunmore told him medical masks are.

“Surgical masks or medical-grade masks are specifically designed to help block droplets, splashes, sprays or splashes,” she said. “All of these things can have viruses or bacteria in them, so that’s what they’re designed for.”

However, she said a cloth mask is better than no face covering.

Dunmore also addressed the rumored fourth hit of COVID-19 and addressed mental health issues in the workplace.

Although immunocompromised people already have four inoculations, there is nothing specific at this time about an additional booster for everyone else, she said.

Regarding mental health, she advised those on call to keep an eye on their employees and colleagues. “We have to be very aware of what’s happening to the people around us,” Dunmore said.

Business leaders should also keep a positive attitude, while encouraging good diet, sleep habits and mindfulness practices, she said.

On Friday, the region added 352 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths.

Cambria County has recorded 37 additional cases and two deaths; Somerset, 27 and one death; Bedford, 13; Blair 35; Indiana, 24; Clearfield, 49; Center, 52; and Westmoreland, 115 and five deaths.

Across the Commonwealth, 2,902 cases have been reported by the state Department of Health for a new total of 2,738,475.

Pennsylvania also added 69 deaths and now has 42,686 deaths since the virus was first detected in March 2020.