Allegheny County: Shutdown ordered over COVID-19 spike

Henrietta Strickland
July 4, 2020

The order is to take effect after midnight Thursday, the county's health director, Dr. Debra Bogen, said, ahead of the July Fourth holiday when health officials fear that the virus will spread through packed holiday celebrations.

The move comes as Pennsylvania on Thursday reported its highest one-day total of confirmed coronavirus cases since May, and Allegheny County reported its highest one-day total of positive tests that officials called a larger increase than expected.

"We know that significant numbers of people get very sick from the virus, not just seniors, but younger adults as well, in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and that would overwhelm the hospitals", Levine said.

In addition to being the largest single-day new case total since May 21-when the state also reported 832 cases of the disease-the total announced Thursday also reflected a almost 30 percent increase in new cases in just 24 hours.

The Department of Health is reporting 832 new cases statewide, which is the most since May 21st. Bogen said earlier this week that the rise in recent cases were linked to people going to bars and traveling out of state, not attending recent protests.

Cases have been found at 702 facilities in 53 counties. "However, the virus has not gone away, and we are seeing cases rise, especially in southwest Pennsylvania". My mask protects you, and your mask protects me.

Notable exceptions to the requirement to cover one's face in public are for children under the age of two and individuals who can not wear a face covering because of a medical condition. They were protesting that the county ordered bars closed and stopping the sale of on-site alcohol consumption in restaurants.

Mask wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home.

A number of other health and safety requirements specifically for eating and drinking establishments were outlined in a news release by the governor on Wednesday.

Wolf's administration has not singled out any neighboring states yet. Failure to comply risks citation by the BLCE, a fine of up to $1,000, and possible suspension and/or revocation of the liquor license. On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York) issued a statement that Pennsylvanians traveling to 14 states now experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and others, quarantine at home for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. However, testing has also increased, although Pennsylvania's per capita testing rate for COVID-19 remains one of the lowest in the country.

The Department of Health confirmed that there are 634 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 89,375.

The state has reported more new coronavirus cases in recent days, regularly topping 600 new cases in the past week.

For more information, visit the PA Department of Health's COVID-19 website.

In an interview on KDKA-AM radio in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf's top health adviser, Health Secretary Rachel Levine, was asked if now is the time is try herd immunity.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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