Allegheny Co. Health Dept. concerned about COVID-19 in kids, spread at football games

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — With rising COVID-19 cases, especially among children younger than 12, Allegheny County officials said Wednesday they’re worried about the numbers and that events like football games could be canceled.

“We continue to see an increase in cases among children, especially among children who are not old enough to get vaccinated,” said Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen.

At a news conference Wednesday, Bogen said there were 157 cases in children younger than 12 in July. That number skyrocketed to 773 cases in August.

“Pediatric COVID cases have been a concern of mine for weeks,” Bogen said.

She said the county reported 450 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, with more than half of them classified as probable cases.

“We definitely have cases in schools, but the increase in cases in children started even before school started,” Bogen said.

She said cases are being tracked back to large and small gatherings, weddings, parties, concerts and youth football games.

Those games could be on the chopping block, though, if cases continue, according to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

“We’re also seeing around the region and around the country many more cancellations of big events that are happening,” Fitzgerald said. “The case numbers are going up.”

Fitzgerald said there are more than 702,000 people in the county who are fully vaccinated, with another 70,000 partially vaccinated.

Football games have also been a concern at the national level. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said images of crowded stadiums are a cause for concern.

“People want to say we’re done with COVID. But COVID’s not done with us,” Fauci said during a recent interview. “That’s really the problem, that you can’t wish it away. I would hope that most people in that stadium were vaccinated.”