Allegheny Co. officials hope modified order will stop surge in COVID-19 cases

Allegheny Co. officials hope modified order will stop surge in COVID-19 cases

ALLEGHENY CO., Pa. — The Allegheny County Health Department modified restrictions and extended an order banning indoor dining and large gatherings for the next two weeks, starting Friday.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald told Channel 11′s Rick Earle they hope this measure will give them time to stop the spike in new COVID-19 cases.

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“Allegheny County went from one of the lowest per-capita in just a few weeks to one of the highest, if not the highest, in the state right now,” Fitzgerald said. “We need to get these cases down. Obviously, we get concerned when the hospitalization numbers start to pick up.”

In response to the rising numbers, health officials announced Wednesday that bars and restaurants will remain closed for two more weeks, but outdoor dining will be allowed until 11 p.m. with a three-drink limit.

Fitzgerald said the health director, Dr. Debra Bogen, is taking a more targeted approach.

“We don’t want to have to shut down other parts of the economy and other activities that we all enjoy and are able to work at. So, I think Dr. Bogen and her team are trying to be very strategic and try(ing) to isolate where the problem is as opposed to letting it shut everything down,” he said.

Fitzgerald doesn’t know if Gov. Tom Wolf’s office will impose restrictions on any surrounding counties, but he would not be surprised.

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“My sense is we are not an isolated case. We’ve seen the cases go up in the surrounding counties as well because so many of our folks in southwestern Pa. cross county lines,” said Fitzgerald. “We have family members there. We often times live in one county and work in another.”

The new modified order will last until July 24, or until it gets supplanted by new guidelines.

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