County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the county doesn't want to see another spike in cases like it did after Halloween.By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There will be no St. Patrick’s Day parade in Pittsburgh for the second year in a row. But there will be parties across the region and the county is urging that they be small.

After a few weeks of falling COVID cases, the numbers in the past two weeks have plateaued in Allegheny County and across the nation. County officials do not want to see another spike.

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County Executive Rich Fitzgerald noted that the last spike came in October after Halloween and warned that gatherings in bars and at parties on St. Patrick’s could result in the same.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until next week, but in Pittsburgh, people are expected to party on Saturday and again on the day itself. The governor hasn’t issued any new restrictions but bars still need to be limited to 50 percent capacity and the county is also urging small gatherings — preferably outside.

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Fitzgerald says with COVID cases going down and vaccinations going up in number, the end of the pandemic is in sight. And we don’t want to see another unnecessary spike to derail the progress.

He says we may be able to have bigger parties and gatherings come Memorial Day and into summer month. Just not now.

“We’re very, very close and I think this year for Memorial Day, hopefully we’ll be able to do a lot more things that we did as we head into May, June and the summer month, as more and more people get vaccinated and we get kind of on the other side of this thing in a good way,” he said.

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That is the message: stay diligent until we’re out of the woods and maybe we can have a real St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration next year.