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Allegheny County Moves From A 'Substantial' To 'High' Rate Of COVID-19 Transmission

Pennsylvania Daily Life
Keith Srakocic
Some visitors to the Three Rivers Arts Festival wear protective masks as they take in the exhibits Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The coronavirus transmission rate in Allegheny County has increased from “substantial” to “high,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This shift can be seen in Allegheny County’s Monday tally of coronavirus cases with 598 additional infections reported over a three-day period. This number is much higher than what the county was seeing less than a month ago, when the transmission rate for much of southwestern Pennsylvania was at a moderate level.

But due to the extremely infectious delta variant and an absence of both countywide and state coronavirus mitigations, much of the region has moved from moderate, to substantial, and now to high transmission. Allegheny County’s relatively high vaccination rate has helped limit hospitalizations, though these numbers are increasing.

The CDC defines high transmission as 100 or more cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, or a 10% test positivity rate. Allegheny County currently has 104 cases per 100,000 residents, and a positivity rate of 5%.

The CDC recommends universal indoor masking in areas with substantial or high transmission rates, even for people who have been fully vaccinated. County officials have not issued such a mandate for Allegheny County residents, nor has Gov. Wolf for all Pennsylvanians. Philadelphia issued a city-wide mask order, though masks are not mandated in non-essential businesses that require proof vaccination.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.
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