As the weather gets colder and coronavirus cases continue to climb, Allegheny County’s top public health official says people must change their behavior.
“This might mean a return to takeout instead of dining in,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the county health department. "Zoom calls, instead of in-person visits. It might mean going out of your house for only essentials, like food and medicine. And working from home as much as possible."
Bogen made the request aduring a press conference Wednesday after noting that in October the county saw nearly 3,500 new coronavirus cases, a huge increase compared to the 2,000 reported in September. Last month 52 county residents died from COVID-19.
“Please consider reducing the size and frequency of your personal gatherings, which remains by far the largest source of case in our county,” Bogen said. “Birthday parties, sleepovers, dinners before and after sporting events, weddings, funerals, and anything you can imagine, we’ve heard it.”
It’s not all bad news out of the health department. Bogen says medical providers are reporting that large numbers of people are requesting the flu vaccine.
“We are hearing from pediatric offices, pharmacies, health care organizations and others that they are vaccinating at records rates,” she said. “So thank you, it is so important that you get your flu vaccine this year.”
The department recently launched a map that displays places and times where people can get the shot.
Health officials have been urging the public to get vaccinated in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Though far less deadly than COVID-19, thousands of people die or are hospitalized every year due to the flu. Reducing influenza illness frees up medical resources for coronavirus patients.