Allegheny County reports 68 new COVID cases; race disparities in worsen

by PublicSource Reporters

The Allegheny County Department of Health [ACHD] reported 68 new COVID- 19 infections Wednesday and nine COVID-related fatalities. The newly reported cases bring the total count since March 14 to 10,444 infections.

The case tally released Wednesday came from 1,088 tests conducted from August 24 through September 1.  The new infections were among patients aged 2 to 97 years old, with the median age being 40. Roughly half were in people younger than 50.

The new fatalities were in individuals in their 50s to 90s, with six of the deaths being associated with a long-term care facility, which include nursing homes. All the fatalities were between Aug. 20 and 28.

To date, the county has had 343 deaths and 985 people hospitalized because of the virus.

During the Allegheny County Health Department’s board meeting Wednesday, board member Joylette Portlock expressed dismay at the fact that the racial gap between Black and White residents had increased during each of the two major times COVID-19 cases spiked in the county. During the April outbreak Black residents were twice as likely to have a confirmed COVID-19 case as White residents. And during the July outbreak that disparity had increased: Black residents are now three times as likely to have tested positive for COVID-19.

To emphasize the importance of limiting cases even among young people, Dr. Bogen highlighted one teenager whose infection led to 40 additional infections, including among adults. Bogen also disputed the notion that COVID-19 wasn’t much worse than the flu by comparing a chart that showed expected flu deaths and COVID-19 deaths. The chart showed that there have been 22 times as many COVID-19 deaths this year in Allegheny County, compared to the expected number of flu deaths.

The health department says it has inspected more than 2,000 restaurants for suspected health infractions and found more than 200 restaurants that weren’t in compliance with the county’s mask and occupancy guidelines. Several board members added that compliance had been “quite variable” and they had seen mask infractions at health care organizations, salons and retail establishments.

A new Keystone Research Center report on Pennsylvania’s economy released Wednesday underscored the disproportionate impact the COVID recession has had on women and communities of color. Stephen Herzenberg, the center’s executive director and co-author of the report, called the economic shutdown a “cruel triple whammy” that either shuttered industries such as restaurants and bars that employed these workers, put their health at risk as essential workers or shut them out of federal aid.


A patient sample that is awaiting testing for the coronavirus. (Photo by Kimberly Rowen/PublicSource)



Allegheny County reports 68 new COVID cases, 9 deaths; race disparities in Allegheny County worsened

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