PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen may issue a new order on Wednesday to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus as the county has seen several days of triple-digit new coronavirus cases.
At a press conference Tuesday, Dr. Bogen says she hopes to issue a new order and is considering limiting event sizes, as well as and addressing food and beverage service.
“I hope to release a new order by later tomorrow afternoon,” says Dr. Bogen. “I am considering modifying the event limits and restrictions for outdoor food and beverage service at restaurants. I leave this open to change depending on our cases and the other metrics we use in making those decisions.”
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Dr. Bogen says she doesn’t think shutting down the entire community is effective but said Allegheny County will take it “one step at a time.” This comes as she says the county has seen more positive coronavirus cases in the past two weeks than the first two months.
Last week, the county ordered a week-long shut down of restaurants, bars and the casino and the cancellation of events and activities with over 25 people.
Before that order, the county prohibited the consumption of on-site alcohol to help stem the surge of new coronavirus cases.
She says there’s too much of a delay in cases to tell if the order is working. It may take a week or two to see the impact.
The state’s positivity rate is about 4.5 percent, with Allegheny County’s rate now around 7.5 percent.
“It was only 20 days ago that we had zero positive cases,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at the press conference.
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Restaurants, which had been just hanging on, have begun to close. Just this week, the popular NOLA in Market Square and Spoon in East Liberty called it quits, saying COVID and the restriction put them over the edge.
Restaurants are limited to takeout only, and deli owner and meat wholesaler Jeff Cohen said accommodations like allowing indoor dining and alcoholic drinks must be made to stop the carnage.
“This isn’t going away. So we’re going to have to figure out a way to work through this, being open, staying in business unless they want us all just to close and go under,” Cohen says.
The county says new mitigation efforts would balance public health and the economy, but the best advice remains to stay at home.
“And if we follow that good advice, we will continue to make progress on this very, very deadly virus we are at war with,” Fitzgerald said.
The county says other industries should not expect restrictions.
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