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Westmoreland Commissioner Doug Chew tests positive for coronavirus for second time ...

Westmoreland Commissioner Doug Chew tests positive for coronavirus for second time ...

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Westmoreland County Commissioner Doug Chew said Wednesday he again has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Chew, a first-term Republican, said he has been at home this week and is experiencing symptoms from the virus.

“Today is the worst day of congestion and breathing,” Chew wrote in an email. “It’s expected this is Omicron because natural immunity doesn’t seem to touch Omicron as well. Besides congestion, breathing, coughing, I’m just extremely tired.”

For Chew it’s the second time he’s contracted the virus. He first tested positive for coronavirus in October 2020. By the end of 2020, all three county commissioners had tested positive for covid-19.

Chew was at the courthouse last week and attended one public meeting on Jan. 3.

The coronavirus swept through the courthouse in late 2020 and in early 2021. That prompted county officials to close specific offices at times to halt the spread of the illness among staff.

Despite the recent surge in cases throughout the country, state and in Westmoreland County that has been attributed to the omicron variant, officials have not altered any core government functions.

Westmoreland County Human Resources Director Alexis Bevan said there were 57 employees off work on Wednesday because the coronavirus.

The Pennsylvania Health Department has reported more than 3,400 new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in Westmoreland County over the past seven days, including 770 on Tuesday.

Scientists from South Africa reportedly found the risk of reinfection during the recent omicron wave is substantially higher than the risk seen during the country’s earlier beta and delta surges.

Chew said he was prescribed Pfizer’s new antiviral drug Paxlovid to help his recovery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month approved an emergency use authorization for the oral medication for high-risk patients.

“I started Paxlovid shortly after testing positive, which is why I think I feel so congested today. Paxlovid is working,” Chew said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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