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Health Department: 244 new COVID-19 cases in 7 days, youngest patient is 4 months old

PITTSBURGH — Health officials in Allegheny County reported one of the largest daily increases in coronavirus cases in weeks, with 61 new cases confirmed on Friday.

This marks the second-highest daily total ever for Allegheny County, health officials said.

To date, 379 people had been hospitalized and two more people have died bringing the total number of coroanvirus-related deaths in the county to 186.

Health officials said Friday’s numbers mark a week in which there were 244 new cases of coronavirus. The cases were “overwhelmingly among younger people who were traveling, visiting bars and restaurants, and out in the community” the county said in a news release.

The new cases ranged in age from four months to 97 years old with an average age of 31. Two thirds of the new cases were among people aged 19 to 49.

The department said in the news release that case investigators traveled all over the country, including Myrtle Beach, Houston, Nashville, and places in Florida such as Miami, Tampa and Naples.

County officials said the patients told them they had recently been to bars and restaurants all over the area. Some of the new cases included bar and restaurant staff members. Patients told investigators they had been to 15 different bars and restaurants and five of those facilities were reported multiple times. Health officials said they were in contact with those facilities where people have tested positive.

There were no apparent clusters identified in the travel destinations or activities of the new patients, the news release said. But it is not known where or when people contracted COVID-19: before vacation, during a trip or once they returned home.

Pennsylvania health officials are looking closely at areas where COVID-19 infection rates and deaths are ticking back up, threatening to turn back progress against the pandemic, the state’s health secretary said Friday.

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“We are doing quote-unquote a deep dive into all of the counties that have had increases,” Dr. Rachel Levine said, warning that “community spread” is occurring in some parts of the state.

The rise may be attributable to the gradual reopening that has been taking place in Pennsylvania, as well as more extensive testing, Levine said.

Statewide, health officials reported 600 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 84,370 since the outbreak began. There were also 22 more deaths from the virus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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