COVID cases plateauing in Allegheny County; hospitalizations still increasing

Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen (courtesy of Allegheny County)

COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County are stabilizing for the first time in months, mirroring national declines in new cases, County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen said at a Wednesday briefing. The county reported about 350 to 400 new cases per day over the past week. 

As cases plateau, Allegheny County reported 90 COVID-19-related deaths in September, the highest since April. Of the deaths, 25 occurred among people ages 25 to 64, a majority of whom were not vaccinated. Misinformation about the safety of vaccines is one of the leading reasons people are not getting vaccinated, Bogen said. 

“Many, and probably most, of those deaths could’ve been prevented, but misinformation is literally killing people,” Bogen said.

About 75% of Allegheny County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Oct. 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported

To avoid spreading misinformation, Bogen recommended people read peer-reviewed, scientific studies about the safety of vaccines, rather than gathering information about them from social media platforms like Facebook. 

COVID-19-related hospitalizations are also increasing in Allegheny County. Bogen expected this because trends in hospitalizations typically lag two weeks behind trends in cases, meaning the county may see hospitalizations stabilize or decrease in the coming weeks. 

Allegheny County has continued to report a high level of pediatric COVID-19 cases since the start of the school year, with 507 cases reported over the past week.

Last week, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said announced that all county employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 1.  The county will provide its vaccinated employees with 10 days of paid leave if they contract COVID-19 or are directed to quarantine, Fitzgerald added. 

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