Allegheny County facing ‘substantial’ COVID spread; CDC recommends masking indoors

Allegheny County is now classified as having ‘substantial’ community spread of COVID-19. Regardless of vaccination status, masking in indoor public spaces is recommended under federal guidance.

As of Tuesday morning, Allegheny County had 58.47 cases per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s online data tracker.

Last week, county officials were wary of rising cases but noted that the county at that time was well below the 50 cases per 100,000 threshold for indoor masking. During a July 28 briefing, Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said she’d encourage all residents to follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], which at that time did not call for broad masking indoors.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at the briefing that the county wouldn’t be reinstituting a mask mandate but didn’t rule one out if cases continue to climb.

“I don’t think we’re there yet,” Fitzgerald said. “But we’re going to monitor those numbers closely.” He also applauded the Steelers and other Pittsburgh businesses encouraging or requiring employees to get vaccinated

Bogen said that contact tracing showed the county’s unvaccinated population remains the driving force behind the Delta variant’s spread. Over 55% of the county’s population has been fully vaccinated. 

She stressed the continued importance of vaccine outreach and education to curb future transmission. 

“This is really a pivotal moment in the pandemic, the latest in many pivotal moments,” Bogen said during the July 28 briefing. “This time, we have the solution. This time, we know exactly what we need to do to protect our community. The question is, are we united and brave enough to do the right thing?”

— By PublicSource intern Chris Hippensteel

 

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Allegheny County facing ‘substantial’ COVID spread; CDC recommends masking indoors

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