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County Data Show COVID-19 Patients Are Going To Fewer Bars And More Parties

People gather at the North Shore Tavern in Pittsburgh on Sunday, June 28, 2020.

Bars and restaurants still top the list of the most common places visited by people in Allegheny County prior to testing positive for COVID-19. But county data show that compared to previous weeks, the number of visits to these venues has fallen.

On the other hand, there’s been an increase of COVID-19 patients going to private parties, gyms and religious services. Weddings and funerals are also common locations.

Credit Allegheny County Health Department

“At weddings, funerals and churches services, avoid congregating inside and outside the building," said Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday. "And try not to hug or shake hands with others. But if you do, use your hand sanitizer before and after."

Case investigation information cannot confirm where someone was infected with the virus. But tracking the locations of patients can shine light on where people are possibly contracting the virus, or exposing others.

Bogen also commented on the increase in hospitalizations, which are to be expected as cases in Allegheny County have been extremely high in the past month, compared to this spring.

There have been at least 613 hospitalizations among Allegheny County residents since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 80 admissions from the past couple weeks.

“We know that there are areas of the county, like Texas, Florida and California, who are warning of hospital and ICU bed shortages, but we are not in that situation here,” said Bogen. “We flattened the curve at the beginning of the pandemic to give our hospitals time to prepare and they are well prepared.”

Bogen said local medical systems assure her they have the capacity to add beds to accommodate COVID-19 patients, if needed.

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.