Pittsburgh officials offer suggestions for how to avoid potential spread of coronavirus | Coronavirus | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh officials offer suggestions for how to avoid potential spread of coronavirus

click to enlarge Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Fri., March 6, 2020. - OFFICIAL PA. GOVERNMENT PHOTO
Official Pa. Government Photo
Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Fri., March 6, 2020.
Today, Pittsburgh city and Allegheny County officials issued a list of recommendations for how people in the area should respond to the growing outbreak of the disease COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus.

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:

  • Lower maximum occupancy numbers at bars for St. Patrick’s Day festivities
  • Cleaning bathrooms regularly and having access to hand sanitizer at all times
  • Using disposable cups at bars for St. Patrick’s Day festivities
  • Keeping high-contact surfaces clean
  • Telling staff to not come into work if they are sick
  • Recommending Pittsburghers self-quarantine if sick
  • Not sharing drinks and washing hands regularly
  • Not engaging in the St. Patrick’s Day holiday practice of kissing strangers


  • 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.

    click to enlarge RESOURCE GRAPHIC FROM THE PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH DEPARTMENT
    Resource graphic from the Pennsylvania Health Department
    The recommendations include:
  • Avoiding large events and mass gatherings, as well as other settings where you would have close contact (within six feet) with a large group of people
  • Continuing proactive hygiene measures such as washing your hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and frequently cleaning highly touched surfaces
  • Staying home if you are sick and call your primary care provider to discuss next steps
  • Reminding businesses and organizations that it’s particularly important to encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Emphasizing cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene
  • Performing routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Providing disposable wipes for employees to use on frequently touched surfaces
  • click to enlarge RESOURCE GRAPHIC FROM THE PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH DEPARTMENT
    Resource graphic from the Pennsylvania Health Department
    Allegheny County Health Department says there will be a coordinated effort with state and federal health agencies to implement procedures mitigating exposure, in case of a local community spread of coronavirus.

    “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.

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