By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pennsylvania is seeing a “steep increase” in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the Omicron variant continues to rapidly spread.

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The state and county health departments released weekly COVID data Wednesday. From Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, Pennsylvania averaged more than 18,000 cases a day and hospitalizations rose by more than 22%, the state Health Department said.

Allegheny County reported 13,000 new cases for Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Nine percent were reinfections and 46% were in unvaccinated people, though the health department said it was missing the vaccine status for a “substantial” amount of newly reported infections. Forty-one more people died.

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“Pennsylvania, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a steep increase in the number of COVID-19 cases,” Acting Pennslyvania Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter said in a news release. “This should not cause panic, but it should be a call to immediate action.”

Klinepeter said Pennsylvanians should get vaccinated and boostered, wear a mask inside public places regardless of vaccination status and get tested then follow the latest quarantine guidance if they’re exposed or develop symptoms.

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Slightly more than 74.1% of Pennsylvanian adults are now vaccinated. Nearly 37,000 Pennsylvanians have died. Doctors predict it could be weeks before the current surge plateaus.