While the mitigation orders are lifted and masks are near the end, it could be months before we put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror.By Nicole Ford

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Despite the virus falling from the headlines, it’s still at the front of health leaders’ minds.

“We still have COVID-19 circulating, people are still being hospitalized, people are still dying from COVID,” said Pennsylvania Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson.

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But many states across the country, including Pennsylvania, have reached a point in vaccinations where the people who want it got it.

“COVID is still going to be around. I mean the reality is right now, in Allegheny County, it’s not around very much and that is a factor of herd immunity from vaccination and combination of infection,” said Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher with Allegheny Health Network.

Dr. Crawford-Faucher said despite the good news, the virus won’t end with herd immunity. There are pockets of unvaccinated people who are still spreading the infection and even dying.

“It’s not over until the whole world has beat it and when you have such diversity of vaccination rates, like 3 percent of India is vaccinated and we have such international travel across the world,” Dr. Crawford-Faucher said.

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Allegheny Health Network has switched its tactics to targeting those small communities to reach the hesitant populations.

At UPMC, doctors are treating COVID-19 patients with antibodies and educating anyone who comes in the door to get vaccinated.

While the mitigation orders are lifted and masks are near the end, it could be months before we put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror.

“Here in Pennsylvania, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, but that won’t be declared by us that will be declared by the World Health Organization,” Johnson said.

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If you have any questions about the vaccine, you are encouraged to contact your doctor.