PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When asked about when we might see a peak in COVID-19 cases and how it will impact our state’s health care system, Secretary of State Dr. Rachel Levine says the answer is complex.

The state Department of Health has been working with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health and using its model that projects outcomes of the coronavirus outbreak.

On Tuesday at a press conference, Dr. Rachel Levine compared it to forecasting the weather. A meteorologist uses models to forecast an incoming storm, but the direction of wind or a change in temperature can make the difference between two feet of snow and a light flurry.

Modeling infectious diseases is complex, and she says there are several factors like how the disease is spread, the effects of social distancing the percent of people hospitalized.


In the state, about 10 percent of people who test positive for COVID-19 are hospitalized. This data is consistent with data from across the country as well.

This rate is lower than the rate of hospitalizations in China, Dr. Levine says. And this new data changes how models are interpreted.

“We’re working with the University of Pittsburgh and they’re updating some of the information in their model and we are waiting for those results,” she says.

According to Dr. Levine, we also need to see the impact of Gov. Wolf’s mitigation efforts which could “significantly impact the models.”

“What we do know: if we do not stay home and stay safe, we will see the worst case scenario in all of these models, including the potential overwhelming of our health care systems,” said Rachel Levine.

Currently, a stay-at-home order has been issued for dozens of counties, including Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

More information on the Coronavirus pandemic: