Allegheny County doctor warns of potential rise in COVID-19 cases after Memorial Day weekend

PITTSBURGH — The weather is shaping up as people are hitting the road ready for a big Memorial Day weekend, but as you plan picnics and parties, local doctors have a warning about COVID.

“Our practice alone is getting hundreds of calls a day,” said Dr. Marc Itskowitz with AHN.

That’s hundreds of calls about positive COVID-19 tests. Dr. Itskowitz said there is no doubt that Allegheny County is getting thousands of new positive cases a day.

“We are at a very high level of transmission in Allegheny County that’s something most physicians can relate based on the call volume. The at home testing which most people are taking advantage of does not get reported to a centralized system,” Dr. Itskowitz said.

So when you look at the county or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention transmission website, Dr. Itskowtiz said it’s not an accurate reflection of the spread. This sharp uptick in cases has been going on for about four weeks.

“The omicron variant has multiple subvariants and with each one is more contagious and prior infection doesn’t necessarily protect from future reinfection,” Dr. Itskowitz said.

His best advice to stay safe is to avoid indoor gatherings or events, wear a mask and get your second booster if you qualify.

“We initially hoped we could wait until the fall to make that recommendation but with the amount of cases circulating it seems like a good idea to protect the people at risk,” Dr. Itskowitz said.

He went on to say that the virus is hitting all age groups, including school children. As for bringing back masking for the last few weeks, he doesn’t foresee districts mandating it but encourages parents to do it.