PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As coronavirus cases rise in Allegheny County, KDKA’s Andy Sheehan spoke one-on-one with Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine about the concerning trend.
The Allegheny County Health Department reported 109 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.
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The county-wide total now stands at 2,760 since March 14. This includes 2,614 confirmed cases and 146 probable cases.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says since COVID-19 cases were first confirmed in the state, the county now leads the state in the number of new cases. The county responded by halting on-site alcohol consumption at bars and restaurants.
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Dr. Levine commended Allegheny County Health Department Director Debra Bogen and other county officials for being proactive.
“We certainly think she is doing a great job increasing testing, working on appropriate isolation and contact tracing and quarantine. But also completely agree with her and the county in terms of the alcohol ban in restaurants and bars in order to do a targeted mitigation to prevent the spread,” Levine said.
Sheehan: There are some complaints, as you could imagine, from the restaurant community, doesn’t feel like banning alcohol drinks at table is an appropriate step. Your opinion?
Levine: We agree with everything Dr. Bogen and the county commissioners have done. We feel that it is quite a surgical mitigation effort as opposed to a widespread going back to yellow. We think it was well-done and are hopeful it will be effective.
Sheehan: Do you believe we can stay in the “green” phase and still arrest this virus if the populus follows the safety protocols?
WATCH: KDKA’s Full Interview With Dr. Rachel Levine
Levine: Yes, but I want to emphasize the if. It is very important, very important for people to take this very seriously, to stay alert and to stay vigilant. We need everyone to wears these masks when they go outside. If they are going to be in the public in any way … they need to wear a mask. They need to practice social distancing and stay six feet apart. They need to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer. The data that Dr. Bogen has and we have, really this outbreak is being driven by particularly young people who were out at night, out socializing without masks, without social distancing and that is, as we have seen, extremely dangerous and it’s leading to this outbreak we are seeing. We need people to change their behavior.
On Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf praised Allegheny County officials for their decision to ban on-site alcohol consumption as case numbers surged.