Allegheny County reports 1,322 new COVID cases; Gov. Wolf announced new restrictions

by PublicSource Reporters

Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced new restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. Among them are the suspension of indoor dining, extracurricular activities at schools and indoor activities at casinos, theaters and similar venues. Retail will be limited to 50% of its indoor capacity.

The new restrictions take effect Saturday morning and will run until Jan. 4 at 8 a.m. In announcing the new restrictions, Wolf noted the rising death toll from the pandemic and concern for hospital capacity.

“The problem we’re all facing is this virus continues to rage in Pennsylvania, and over the past several weeks it has become clear that we need to take further mitigation actions to protect Pennsylvanians and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf said in a Thursday press conference. “We all hoped it would not come to this. The current state of the surge in Pennsylvania though will not allow us to wait.”

Both Pennsylvania and Allegheny County have announced record-high cases in recent days, with deaths rising, even as a vaccine is expected to be rolled out by the end of the month.

Most recently, the Allegheny County Health Department [ACHD] reported 1,322 new COVID-19 infections Friday and 33 new COVID-related fatalities. The newly reported cases bring the total count since March 14 to 38,029 infections. 

Allegheny County’s tally of 1,322 cases released Friday came from 2,507 tests conducted from Nov. 25 through Dec. 10. The new infections were among patients aged 6 months to 95 years, with the median age being 42. A little under half of the cases were in people younger than 40.

To date, the county has had 658 deaths and 2,413 people hospitalized because of the virus.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health [DOH] reported 12,745 new infections and 225 deaths Friday, bringing the statewide tallies to 470,034 cases and 12,235 COVID-related deaths. 

In announcing the new restrictions, Wolf acknowledged the dire financial impact the pandemic has had on bars and restaurants, particularly around the holiday season.

“It has been crushing crushing for restaurants and bars,” Wolf said. “Unfortunately, COVID-19, that virus thrives in places where people gather together.”

In-person gatherings are also limited to 10 people. Places of worship are specifically excluded from the order but are urged to comply. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 50 people.

Officials noted that serious efforts must be taken to stop the pandemic’s spread. But there are signs of hope.

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Allegheny County reports 1,322 new COVID cases; Gov. Wolf announced new restrictions

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