At the briefing, Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen expressed concern over the spike in recent COVID cases. She said the county saw 174 COVID-related deaths in October, making it the third-deadliest month since the start of the pandemic, and the county’s COVID positivity rate increased by 8%.
“While rates and cases in many other parts of the country have dropped, that is not the case here or in many of our surrounding counties, and frankly, that worries me,” said Bogen.
She warned the county could see an even more significant spike in cases with the weather getting colder and people gathering for the holidays. Bogen said the county sees no indication that the numbers of cases will be dropping any time soon.
To help lower the number of cases in the county, Bogen and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald urged those eligible to get vaccinated and/or the booster shot. She also encourages residents to follow CDC guidance like practice social distancing, and wear masks when indoors with non-household members.
Fitzgerald said nearly 830,000 Allegheny County residents have received their first vaccine shot, and 740,000 have been fully vaccinated. He thanked companies who require employees to be vaccinated and wished more companies would follow suit.
“I want to thank them for stepping up and helping us to be healthy,” said Fitzgerald. “I am now asking all of the other companies and organizations to do the same. We're in a war, we've been in warfare against it [since] March of 2020, with a virus that has taken many lives. And I want to thank the 830,000 patriotic Allegheny County citizens who have stepped up to keep all of us safe.”
The county’s health department reported 599 new COVID-19 cases on Nov. 10. There have been 9,003 total hospitalizations and 136,799 total coronavirus cases in Allegheny County since the pandemic started.