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Allegheny County's COVID-19 community level falls from 'high' to 'medium'

Gene J. Puskar

The level of COVID-19 in Allegheny County has fallen so much in the past two weeks that on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped the county’s community level down to “medium” from “high.”

The community level is based on hospitalizations, staffed hospital beds and case numbers.

The decrease of COVID-19 in Allegheny County is reflected in two key metrics monitored by public health officials.

Wastewater analysis shows that the concentration of the coronavirus declined 60-70%, day over day, during the first week of June, according to Allegheny County’s health department. Omicron remains the dominant variant.

The drop in COVID-19 in the county’s sewage tracks with a decline in reported cases. Last week, ending June 8, there were 2,616 cases, roughly 500 fewer than the previous week and nearly 1,800 down from the week before that.

Despite these promising numbers, severe COVID-19 illness continues to rise, which is not surprising as it takes some time for people to become dangerously sick.

Hospitalizations saw a 25% increase with just under 200 new admissions. Also, 18 people died this past week, a slight increase from the 16 who died the previous week.

Because Allegheny County’s COVID-19 community level is now at medium, the CDC does not advise that people here wear masks while indoors, unless they are at high risk of severe illness. However, not taking this precaution increases the odds that COVID-19 transmission will again increase in the community.

Regarding the rest of southwest Pennsylvania, Washington County is the only other county with a medium rating. The rest of the region is categorized by the CDC as low.

Updated: June 10, 2022 at 10:37 AM EDT
The story has been updated to include CDC community level information.

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. As a contributor to the NPR-Kaiser Health News Member Station Reporting Project on Health Care in the States, Sarah's print and audio reporting frequently appears on NPR and KFF Health News.