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COVID-19 Update 8/11: State announces partnership to expand testing capabilities

August 11, 2020 News Extra

State officials announced a new partnership that could bolster COVID testing capabilities statewide.

In a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf said the state has partnered with OraSure to expand its production as the company continues to research two new tests related to COVID-19.

OraSure, headquartered in Northampton County, is developing a rapid antigen, self-test to detect active COVID-19 quickly. The company also is working on an tests that would detect COVID-19 antibodies.

OraSure will expand its manufacturing operations in the Lehigh Valley, creating 177full-time jobs.

OraSure received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $531,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $531,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs.

Wolf said the new development will help Pennsylvanians in regard to high wait times for COVID-19 testing at national labs.

“The hot spots are getting priority, which I understand, but that means we're paying the price here in PA in our efforts to mitigate the virus,” he said. “This is going to do a lot to help us in the commonwealth to fill a testing need that we have. We have built a lot of capacity.”

According to a report Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Butler County added six confirmed cases Tuesday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has 618 confirmed cases and 15 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

The following numbers on the coronavirus pandemic were compiled from regular news releases from the state Department of Health and Butler Health System.

Tuesday's COVID-19 statistics:

Butler County

Confirmed cases: 618

Probable cases: 59

Negative tests: 14,370

Deaths: 15


New cases: 788

Total cases: 120,281

New deaths: 35

Total deaths: 7,352

Recovered: 77 percent

Surrounding Counties

Allegheny: 8,769 confirmed cases; 123,466 negative; and 254 deaths

Armstrong: 221 confirmed; 4,303 negative; and 8 deaths

Beaver: 1,295 confirmed; 13,505 negative; and 92 deaths

Clarion: 77 confirmed; 2,132 negative; and 2 deaths

Lawrence: 338 confirmed; 5,556 negative; and 16 deaths

Mercer: 383 confirmed; 8,395 negative; and 11 deaths

Venango: 50 confirmed and 3,628 negative

Westmoreland: 1,512 confirmed; 32,367 negative; and 47 deaths.