By: Lindsay Ward

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on Wednesday predicted that the end is in sight.

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“So let’s keep getting vaccinated, let’s keep those numbers down, keep protecting each other, and hopefully, we’re a month or two away from taking the masks off and getting back to normal,” he said during the Allegheny County Health Department’s weekly COVID-19 update.

While many have been vaccinated, he says it’s still a long what from what is required to achieve herd immunity.

Fitzgerald encouraged everyone to sign up for a vaccine appointment.

Meanwhile, County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen says that new COVID-19 cases are down to about 350 per day, but the county is still in what’s being considered the fourth wave of cases.

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She urged people who have been vaccinated to share their experiences with friends and family who could be hesitant.

“Don’t forget why we’re vaccinating in the first place – COVID-19 is a deadly virus, it has contributed to the deaths of nearly 2,000 Allegheny County residents in just 13 months,” she said. “The U.S. rate of deaths from COVID is about 60 times the rate of death from car accidents.

As of now, anyone 18 years or older can walk into any vaccine clinic run by the county without an appointment.

Dr. Bogen also said the county is loosening restrictions on where some people can look to get their second dose – mainly students.

“Everyone’s encouraged to get their second dose at the same location where they got their first but we are well-positioned to accommodate students who want to receive a second dose here,” she said. “The supply and lifted restrictions allow people to receive a second dose at locations other than where they receivd their firs. In short we have more vax appointments than people seeking vaccinations.”

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