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Stay-at-home, stop social gatherings advisory issued for Allegheny County as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

PITTSBURGH — A stay-at-home and stop social gatherings advisory has been issued for Allegheny County as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen is asking people to stay home unless they are going to work, school or need essentials, like groceries or medical care.

She is also asking residents to not have guests in their home, unless they are essential workers like childcare or home healthcare workers, and to cancel any Thanksgiving plans they have with people outside of their household.

“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials, and wear masks. I’m done asking and today, I’m telling you that these are things we must all do to bring down the level of spread and keep our community safe,” Bogen said.

Bogen said if cases increase, she can issue an order -- which can be enforced.

Bogen said she’s concerned about stressing our hospital systems and not having enough healthcare workers to handle this surge.

This advisory will remain in place for 30 days or until the health director determines that a change to the guidance is appropriate, according to the department.

Here is the advisory broken down from the health department:

Beginning immediately, Allegheny County residents are asked to stay at home to stop social gatherings to stem the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county.

Residents are advised to only leave home to go to work or school, for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, getting food, or the like.

Residents must always wear a face mask and practice physical distancing by staying at least six feet away from others in accordance with the Nov. 17 state masking order.

Additionally, residents are strongly encouraged to:

  • Not have guests in their homes unless they are essential workers (e.g., home healthcare providers,
  • childcare workers or educators).
  • Cancel traditional Thanksgiving celebrations and celebrate virtually with non-household members.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Limit social event gatherings.

• Social event gatherings mean any pair or group of individuals who reside in different households

who are in close proximity of one another for more than several minutes who come together for

non-business-related activities. Social event gatherings include, but are not limited to,

celebrations, parties, dinners, barbeques, and the like.

• Except as described below, there should be no indoor gatherings of more than 10 persons that

includes individuals from more than one household in a residence or other private indoor

location, other than to provide necessary care for a family member or as necessary due to

emergency circumstances.

• Except as otherwise described below, there should be no outdoor social gatherings of more than

20 persons including people from more than one household held outside of private residences

(e.g. yards), parks, or recreational spaces or event spaces.

• These limits do not supersede industries that have specified capacity guidelines in place from

the Commonwealth; however, a meeting or social event that is outside of normal operations

should be within the 10 (indoor) or 20 (outdoor) person limit.

Click here to read more about the advisory on the county’s website.

You can watch the entire news conference below:

In Allegheny County, there were 620 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths reported Wednesday.

According to the Allegheny County Health Department, 506 of the new cases are confirmed cases from 2,797 tests -- an 18.1% positivity rate. The remaining 114 cases are probable cases.

Over the last 10 days, positivity rates have consistently stayed between 15% and 20%. Medical experts and county health officials want that number below 5%.

New cases range in age from 1 month to 99 years, with a median age of 40 years. The dates of positive tests were from Oct. 26 to Nov. 17.

Thirty-seven of the positive tests are more than a week old, with nearly all of them from an unidentified local university, the Health Department said. Close contacts of those cases were identified and quarantined in a timely fashion.

The two new deaths were a person in their 80s and a person in their 90s. They died on Nov. 5 and Nov. 9. One of them was associated with a long-term care facility.

Since March 14, there have been 21,434 cases of COVID-19 in Allegheny County residents, 1,685 hospitalizations and 464 deaths.

Also on Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers spokesperson Lauten said that players are exempt from wearing masks during an NFL game:

“We have received guidance from the Governor’s Office that our players are exempt from wearing masks during an NFL game. All other personnel working at an NFL game are required to wear masks. In addition, we will continue to enforce our protocols that require all fans entering Heinz Field to wear a mask.”

State numbers

With 6,339 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, Pennsylvania again broke its record for the highest daily increase.

There are 2,737 people hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Of that number, 579 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older.

As of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, there were 110 new deaths reported for a total of 9,465 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Most deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older.

Statewide, there has been a total of 281,852 coronavirus cases since the pandemic started.

There are 2,608,986 people who have tested negative to date.

County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.