Allegheny County's Coronavirus Numbers Are 'Gloomy,' According To Health Department Director

Oct 21, 2020

The strong resurgence of coronavirus cases that’s been seen in other parts of U.S. has reached western Pennsylvania.

“It’s been raining and gloomy the past few days, and so have our numbers,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, at a Wednesday press conference.

Bogen’s tone was markedly more solemn from a week ago, when she described the trajectory of the virus’s increase as “slow and not rapid.”

During the first two weeks of October the county averaged just 79 new cases a day, which was a modest uptick from the first two weeks of September when the average was 68 cases. But during the third week of October numbers began climbing sharply with the county averaging about 120 cases daily.

An increase of coronavirus infections during the fall has been long anticipated, though many thought it would come earlier in the season and coincide with the start of the academic year.

The health department reports that infected county residents range across all age groups, with case investigation data showing that people contract the coronavirus from a variety of sources. 

“It’s being spread among private parties, both small and large, workplaces, school groups and restaurants,” Bogen said. “It’s in most of our neighborhoods and municipalities.” 

Bogen said keeping case counts low is particularly important due to the upcoming holiday season.

“There are ways to celebrate safely, but differently,” she said. ”Including staying outdoors whenever possible, staying physical distanced, wearing masks, and keeping your groups small.”

The health department says it has brought on more staff to keep up with case investigations.