Allegheny County officials see COVID cases increase ‘concerning but not surprising,’ urge more vaccination

by PublicSource Reporters

Allegheny County has seen a recent uptick in reported COVID-19 cases amid an increase of cases in both Pennsylvania and nationwide and growing concerns about the spread of the Delta variant.

Allegheny County reported 52 cases Tuesday and 70 cases on Monday, a notable increase from earlier this month, though counts have varied, including 16 cases reported on Sunday. Pennsylvania reported 494 cases Tuesday and 598 cases the day before, a noted spike from a low point of 96 cases reported on July 5.

“These numbers are concerning, but not surprising,” Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said in a Wednesday statement. “Give the virus an opening, and it will enter. Unfortunately, we are giving it an opening, not only here, but across the country.”

Bogen attributed the increase in cases to the combination of the contagious Delta variant and large numbers of people who are not vaccinated. To reduce cases, she urged that people follow CDC safety guidelines and encourage more vaccinations. While touting the importance of vaccination, Bogen also noted that vaccines are not a guarantee against infection, though they offer strong protection against serious illness.

Bogen also stressed the importance answering contact tracing calls, which she said have been unanswered half the time.

“This hampers our ability to reduce the spread of infection and makes it difficult for us to track vital data, such as the percentage of cases who are vaccinated or not,” Bogen said.

About 66% of Allegheny County residents ages 10 and older have been at least partially vaccinated and about 60% have been fully vaccinated, according to information released at a July 14 briefing.

“What it means to me is that we still have work to do to get more people vaccinated in the county,” Bogen said at that briefing. “Our team is waiting for an updated data set from the state so we can dive into the details to really better identify communities and areas that have lower rates of vaccination than others. And that will allow us to target specific areas and populations.”

 

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Allegheny County officials see COVID cases increase ‘concerning but not surprising,’ urge more vaccination

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