READING, Pa. — The Berks County commissioners heard the weekly COVID-19 report Thursday morning and learned that testing data is no longer available in the weekly update.
Brian Gottschall, the county's director of emergency services, explained that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has made huge alterations to the way the data is available because so many people who had tested negative, after having a new exposure, now test positive.
"Rather than show faulty data, we will show no data and, moving forward, only track cases," Gottschall said.
Gottschall said there really was nothing new to report, as the recent surges of more than 1,000 new cases per day have been well-publicized in the media.
Finding a bright spot in the report, Gottschall said there has been a dramatic drop in new influenza cases, which may be due to people voluntarily taking mitigation measures, such as wearing masks in public.
Gottschall reminded the public that the county, in conjunction with the state health department, continues to offer drive-up public COVID-19 testing through at least Jan. 29.
The test site is located on the parking lot of Directlink Technologies at 2561 Bernville Road (Route 183) in Bern Township. It is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
But because the site has been allocated 450 tests per day, Gottschall said it must close once that number has been exhausted.
In addition, because of the overwhelming volume of testing, results have now been pushed to 96 hours from the previous 72-hour turn-around.
Also Thursday, during the unusually short commissioner's meeting, the commissioners made several reappointments to community boards: Courtenay Dillard, Wyomissing, and Josephine Torres-Boykins, Reading, to the Council on Chemical Abuse's board of directors for 3-year terms, and Kelly Kulp, Birdsboro, to the Berks County Mental Health/Development Disabilities' advisory board for a 3-year term.
Also, there was a new appointment of Raymond Blydenburgh, Mohrsville, to the Reading Regional Airport Authority for a 5-year term.