Risky Behavior and Virus Variants Blamed for Increase in COVID-19 Cases

In addition to more cases, Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen says hospitalizations are on the rise in Allegheny County.
03 04 20 New Health Director 18


Pleas by Allegheny County health officials to continue to social distance, avoid crowds and wear a mask are being ignored, resulting in a steady climb in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19.

Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen says the county has a “foundation for a surge.”

“We are back to where we were in mid-January,” she said during a virtual news briefing Wednesday.

Case investigators have traced outbreaks to high school and college sports, small and large gatherings, and workplaces. Bogen says there was one outbreak after a large party attended by children outside of school where no one was wearing a mask or observing social distancing. The outbreak forced the closure of an elementary school, which Bogen did not identify. The presence of a more contagious variant of the virus, first discovered in Great Britain, isn’t helping matters.

Allegheny county’s test positivity rate rose from 6% to 7.7% last week.

“Short of everyone being vaccinated — we are all working as hard as we can to accomplish that — the only way this pandemic will subside is if we all adhere to the tried and true mitigation strategies,” Bogen says.

More 70% of county residents who are 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Of those ages 50 to 64, 40% have gotten their first shot.

The state says everyone will be eligible for the vaccine beginning April 19.

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