PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dr. Rachel Levine says we are now at the start of a “fall resurgence” of coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health said now is not the time to let our guard down. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is pushing everyone to get a flu shot by the end of the month.
The state is also in the process of distributing 250,000 rapid antigen tests to communities that need it most.
“We believe we are at the start of a fall resurgence,” said Dr. Levine.
Levine said Wednesday marked the ninth straight day with more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases statewide, an indication that the spread of the virus will continue to grow as colder weather forces Pennsylvanians to rely on indoor activities.
“There’s no way to know what peak will be in terms of what we saw in the spring versus now, but we are certainly seeing the change in the last number of weeks,” said Levine.
The difference between now and last spring is that we have more resources. Levine said testing and contact tracing have increased and our health care systems have more PPE.
On top of that, the state is in the process of handing out the first round of rapid antigen test kits to communities with more cases. Those tests are being provided by the federal government.
“Pennsylvania is being allocated on a per capita basis. Over 3.8 million rapid antigen tests from now to the end of December,” said state Department of Health Director of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff.
This round will not be coming to counties in western Pennsylvania but instead to counties with the highest number of coronavirus cases. The state is also preparing for a vaccine.
“We know that when the vaccine becomes available, it will be distributed in a phased approach,” said DOH Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Cindy Findley.
In Allegheny County, the health department says it’s seen a gradual increase in cases. So far, that’s attributed to the reopening of things like weddings and gatherings.