Heightened COVID restrictions to lapse Monday, Wolf says; Allegheny County reports 525 new COVID-19 cases

Gov. Tom Wolf confirmed Wednesday that mitigation orders announced a few weeks ago that temporarily banned in-door dining, extracurricular school events and gyms among other restrictions will expire, as planned, on Jan. 4. These orders were intended to be targeted specifically to control the virus’ transmission during the holiday season, Wolf said. 

“Our mitigation efforts over the past several weeks have done what they were intended to do, and I thank everybody who abided by the restrictions put in place to protect us,” Wolf said. 

COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to surge. The Allegheny County Health Department confirmed 525 new COVID-19 cases and 47 new deaths from the virus Wednesday. The Pennsylvania Department of Health [DOH] confirmed 8,984 new COVID-19 cases and 319 new deaths Wednesday, bringing the new statewide totals to 631,333 cases and 15,672 deaths. 

There are 6,022 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, about 19.5% of which are in intensive care units. Nursing and personal care homes account for abou 56% of the state’s death toll.

Wolf made clear that there are still several other orders in place that must be followed. 

“I keep saying, we can’t ignore the reality that the virus is out there,” Wolf said. “And whatever we do, this is not me, this is not Secretary Levine talking, this is the virus, saying ‘I’m gonna getcha!’”

Allegheny County’s 525 new cases arose from positive tests between Nov. 22 and Dec. 29, occurring in individuals from age 3 to 99. with a median age of 51. 

The deaths occurred in one person in their 40s, two people in their 50s, seven people in their 60s, 11 people in their 70s, 16 people in their 80s and 10 people in their 90s. ACHD associates 27 of these deaths with long-term care facilities. 

To date, ACHD has confirmed 52,998 COVID-10 cases, 945 deaths from the virus and 3,161 past and present hospitalizations.

Vaccination & mitigation efforts in PA

Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced a new order Wednesday that mandates all vaccine providers, such as hospitals and pharmacies, to set aside at least 10% of vaccines for healthcare providers not directly employed, such as emergency medical technicians. 

“Many locations receiving vaccine have already voluntarily begun vaccinating these providers, and we are very thankful for their efforts,” Levine said during a Wednesday press briefing. “But today’s order formalizes this process and works to eliminate any confusion between the vaccine providers and those healthcare personnel in Phase 1A.” 

The county also launched a vaccine dashboard Wednesday, which provides frequently updated information about the numbers of vaccine doses administered by county and also shares demographic information about those vaccinated. Across the state, 96,045 doses of the vaccine have been administered.


Heightened COVID restrictions to lapse Monday, Wolf says; Allegheny County reports 525 new COVID-19 cases

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