COVID is ‘Everywhere’ in Allegheny County, No New Restrictions Planned

Changing individual behavior is the only way to curb the virus, says the Allegheny County health director.
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PHOTO BY CHUCK BEARD

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues its steady rise, Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen says slowing the spread is a matter of personal responsibility.

“The behavior of the virus in our community has not changed,” Bogen said at a briefing Wednesday. “But as we move indoors, we must change our behavior.”

Since 40% of those who contract COVID-19 do not have any symptoms, Bogen says stopping the spread is particularly challenging.

“We do not have any plans at this time for new restrictions. But no matter what restrictions we do put in place, if we ever did, we’re not going to slow the virus unless everyone checks their own behavior and takes steps as we’ve outlined to really reduce the spread.”

Bogen says events such as weddings, funerals, dinners and birthday parties are significant sources of virus transmission. She suggests smaller and fewer in-person gatherings.

She also recommends:

  • Working from home as much as possible
  • Limiting time spent outside the home
  • Wearing face masks
  • Complying with the county’s contact tracers

The county recorded 3,500 cases in October, up from 2,000 in September; 240 hospitalizations and 52 deaths were tied to COVID-19 last month. For comparison,  during the entire flu season last year, 177 people were hospitalized and 15 people died from influenza.

“This virus is not a normal flu virus,” Bogen says.  “We now have data from March to the end of October, and it’s quite alarming.”

Categories: The 412