Following a steady local trend of declining COVID-19 transmission, the Allegheny County Health Department [ACHD] reported an average of 25 new COVID-19 cases a day in the past two weeks.
“Which is really remarkable, when you consider that just two and a half months ago, we were firmly entrenched in a fourth wave and experiencing daily cases of around 500 a day,” said ACHD Director Dr. Debra Bogen at a June 16 press briefing. “So, once again, the ‘why’ is not a mystery: It’s the vaccines.”
Among those fully vaccinated, the county is aware of 420 COVID-19 cases, 11 hospitalizations due to the virus and five deaths from the virus, according to Bogen.
More than 75% of the adult population has been at least partially vaccinated, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at the briefing. He applauded initiatives by the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium to give away free tickets to those who get vaccinated.
“It’s wonderful to see so many people coming together to work to get us as many people vaccinated as we can to get us back to the normalcy,” Fitzgerald said.
Bogen underscored how vaccines are allowing residents to return to more normal life.
“People are venturing outside again,” Bogen said. “They’re filling restaurants and enjoying arts festivals and the parks, they’re going to ball games and concerts, and they’re really rediscovering their sense of comfort. And that’s what vaccines bring: comfort.”
Bogen has made a habit in the past few months of ending her briefings with a plea to residents to get vaccinated, but she decided not to this week.
“If you’re paying attention to me, chances are, you are already vaccinated,” Bogen said. “So instead this week, I ask you, the vaccinated, to reach out, in a caring and thoughtful way, to people in your lives who have not yet been vaccinated. Listen to their concerns, and then do what you can to comfort them and convince them to get vaccinated.”
Pennsylvania expects to lift its mask mandate on or before June 28, citing broad success in vaccinating adults.
Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen (courtesy of Allegheny County)
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