by PublicSource Reporters
Allegheny County Health Department [ACHD] Director Dr. Debra Bogen announced a stay-at-home advisory Wednesday, recommending that individuals stay home except for work, school or to obtain essentials like food and medicine.
“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,” Bogen said. “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.”
An advisory differs from an order in that it does not come with enforcement, something Bogen said she hopes to avoid. “We can do this without an order if everybody cooperates and follows those recommendations,” she said.
The county did not announce any new business restrictions. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the data suggests the cases are coming from social gatherings outside of businesses and schools.
“It’s after work and after school where we let our guard down and where these numbers have really escalated to a dangerous level,” Fitzgerald said.
Bogen and Fitzgerald both discussed a dance held in Westmoreland County by Plum Borough School District parents. This event, unsanctioned by the district, contributed to the spread of the virus, according to Bogen. She also noted that the event did not follow state capacity restrictions, and the parents have yet to share a list of attendees with the district or health department to help with contact tracing.
“This level of disregard for public health in our community frankly makes me quite angry and is disheartening and truly disappointing,” Bogen said.
The advisory follows record-high numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported in both Allegheny County and Pennsylvania Wednesday, which came after several other instances of record-breaking increases at both levels in recent weeks.
On Thursday, the county reported 609 new COVID-19 infections, just shy of the record-breaking 620 cases from the day before. The county on Thursday reported 1 new COVID-related fatality. The newly reported cases bring the total count since March 14 to 22,043 infections.
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