The World Health Organization has deemed COVID-19 a global pandemic and confirmed that cases have grown exponentially in countries like Italy, China, South Korea, and others. Experts expect confirmed cases to grow in the U.S. as well. The virus has infected hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and resulted in thousands of deaths, primarily seniors.
There are now more than 1,000 known cases in the U.S. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 173 Pennsylvanians have been identified for testing, with 100 tested negative and 14 presumptive positive cases. There have been two confirmed positives and 57 test results are pending.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto tweeted that city officials “have spent the past 3 days working with national health experts” and that the city is making decisions and recommendations based on their input and to “protect the greater community.”
To help slow the spread of the virus, Pittsburgh city officials suggested several “social distancing” measures, with a special emphasis on this weekend’s St. Patrick Day’s festivities, though the parade has been canceled.
The recommendations include:
In addition to today's announcement, #Pittsburgh is implementing other measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.— City of Pittsburgh (@CityPGH) March 11, 2020
The measures include internal protocols & messaging to outside groups. Mayor @billpeduto will speak on these steps this evening. https://t.co/HjFZNAlXxk
Allegheny County Health Department also shared several recommendations for how to slow the spread of COVID-19. The county says that while there are no presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Allegheny County, there is increasing evidence in the U.S. that “local presumptive positive cases are likely to be detected in the near future.” New York, for example, has seen a fast spread of cases.
The county is “encouraging the most vulnerable groups, which include the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions, and those that are currently sick, to follow these proactive measures that will help stop the virus from spreading in our community,” according to a press release.
“These potential measures may include additional social distancing tactics such as school closures and postponing large gatherings,” reads a press release.
ACHD encourages people to go to alleghenycounty.us/coronavirus for more information and to subscribe to Allegheny Alerts at alleghenycounty.us/alerts. While there, subscribe to COVID-19 alerts under the categories of Health Department/Health & Environment.