County leaders asking for patience as COVID-19 vaccine doses slowly arrive

County leaders asking for patience as COVID-19 vaccine doses slowly arrive

PITTSBURGH — A child under the age of 10 is among the 20 new COVID-19 deaths reported Wednesday in Allegheny County, according to the Allegheny County Health Department. This comes after the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced a major expansion of who is eligible to get the vaccine.

“I would love to tell you that we can vaccinate all of you, but the reality is the current vaccine supply makes it unachievable at this time,” said ACHD director Dr. Debra Bogen.

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Bogen said the state’s expansion of vaccine eligibility now includes nearly one-third of the state’s entire population. About 200,000 doses of the vaccine are distributed across the state each week, and Allegheny County only gets fewer than 20,000 of them. So far, the state has received about a million doses. She continued to stress that people need to be patient until the supply of the vaccine drastically increases.

“I am worried though, when I look at the news from LA and other places, that we have variants that are more contagious,” Bogen said.

She said the state’s mitigation efforts are working and are contributing to the drop in cases we’re seeing locally. She said people in the later phases of the distribution plan will now have to wait longer after the state’s changes to the plan. Bogen also said we have a long way to go until we know the impact the vaccine will have on case numbers and the spread of the virus.

The percent positivity rate in the county was down from 11.5% to 9.3%, cases were dropping and hospitalizations were trending downward Bogen said during a news conference Wednesday. She said 92 county residents have died so far in January from the virus, which is a sharp drop from the same time in December.

Allegheny County reported one of the deaths announced Wednesday occurred in August, nine were in December and 10 were in January. No additional information is being released about the child’s death. Two people who died were in their 60s, five people were in their 80s, and eight people were in their 90s.

There were 463 new COVID-19 cases reported in Allegheny County, with patients ranging in age from one month to 99 years old. Positive tests were taken between Jan. 2-10.

Since March 14, there have been 65,577 cases of COVID-19 among Allegheny County residents, 3,832 hospitalizations and 1,245 deaths.

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