PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County Health Department is enacting a stay-at-home advisory, saying people should only leave their homes for work, school and essential activities amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
Allegheny County leaders held their weekly coronavirus briefing on Wednesday as the Pittsburgh area continues to see what County Executive Rich Fitzgerald called “alarming numbers.”
WATCH: County Officials Give Update On Coronavirus
Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen announced the advisory, which is effective immediately, saying the rise in cases was “very concerning.”
“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials and wear masks,” Dr. Debra Bogen said.
“I’m done asking, and today I’m telling you that these are things we must all do to bring down the level of spread and keep our community safe. Today I am issuing a stay-at-home and ‘stop social gatherings’ public health advisory.”
CLICK HERE: TO READ THE FULL ADVISORY
It’s not an enforced stay-at-home order, but rather clear recommendations about staying home and stopping social gatherings.
She says people can only leave their homes for work, school and essential activities like medical care or grocery shopping.
People also shouldn’t have guests at their home, and she’s asking people to cancel their traditional Thanksgiving gatherings involving members of other households.
WATCH: KDKA’s Royce Jones Has More
It comes as Allegheny set another single-day record with 620 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. Two more deaths were attributed to COVID-19 Wednesday.
Dr. Bogen said this increase in cases threatens our health systems because more people are being hospitalized. An increase in deaths also trails a few weeks behind a rise in case, she said.
She said this sharp increase in cases isn’t because of increased testing, and that percent-positivity rates continue to climb.
Fitzgerald said case numbers are escalating because of after-work and after-school activities. With a vaccine possibly months away, he says now is not the time to let our guard down.
“We can do this,” he said. “I know we can do this.”
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He also called on people to mask up, calling wearing a mask “patriotic.”
Amid a fall resurgence of coronavirus, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine strengthened the mask mandate and issued a testing order for out-of-state travelers Tuesday.
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Statewide, masks are now required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you’re away from home.
Anyone who visits from another state is required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering Pennsylvania. If they can’t or choose not to get a test, or they’re still waiting on results, they have to quarantine for 14 days. The same goes for Pennsylvanians visiting other states and returning home.
Allegheny County’s stay-at-home advisory is in place for 30 days or until Dr. Bogen determines it’s appropriate to change it.