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Allegheny County Announces First Cases Of COVID-19

Ariel Worthy
90.5 WESA
Dr. Debra Bogen of the Allegheny County Health Department, announcing two positive cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, March 14, 2020

Allegheny County announced its first two cases of COVID-19 on Saturday afternoon. The two are adults in their 60s and 70s who live in the same household. They are both city of Pittsburgh residents. They are believed to have contracted the virus while traveling out of state.

Both individuals were evaluated at the emergency department of Allegheny Health Network's West Penn Hospital and were discharged home for quarantine. They are continuing to be monitored. The tests were through their primary care doctor, and sent to a commercial lab.

The county is currently conducting an investigation into close contacts of the individuals.

According to Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen, the ACHD has sent 26 specimens to the Pennsylvania state lab for testing. Bogen said an unknown number of specimens have been sent to commercial labs, but the ACHD is only notified if those tests are positive.

Dr. Kristin Mertz of the ACHD said "there is no evidence of community spread" of coronavirus at this time.

As of Saturday at 2 p.m., the Pennsylvania Department of Health has now counted 47 positive cases across the state. Western Pennsylvania has a total of three positive cases—two in Allegheny County, and one in Washington.

Bogen also advised people out celebrating St. Patrick's Day this weekend to practice "social distancing. No hugging, no kissing. If you are sick, please do not go to the South Side."

Patrick Doyle oversees WESA's digital news. Previously, he served as WESA's news director. Email: pdoyle@wesa.fm.