COVID-19 cases drop across state, officials still urge caution as second surge is seen
By Alex Topor
The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths are far less than numbers recorded in March and April, but cases continue to fluctuate across Pennsylvania and Allegheny County.
During the period of June 1–13, seven people died from the coronavirus in Allegheny County. There were 128 positive tests in the same timespan. The numbers are much lower compared to a deadly span from March 20 to May 2 when 50 deaths and 232 positive tests were recorded.
There isn’t a definite trend in the numbers though. On June 13, there were two new cases of COVID-19, but on June 17 there were 20 new cases. Data for June 17 is still a preliminary number, but the day-to-day trend fluctuates dramatically.
While numbers are down, there is still a high risk of infection according to Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. She estimates about 3% of the population has beenexposed to the virus, leaving 97% of people vulnerable.
“We are not through the pandemic. We are making good progress, but we are still in the early stages. The virus is still spreading and hundreds of thousands of us are at risk of infection,” Bogen said during a June 17 press conference. “If you look around the country we see increases in places that opened up too early, so it's important that we follow guidance and instructions.”
In Allegheny County, stats mirror that of the entire state with lower case and death numbers. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a press conference that everyone in the county is doing a great job following guidelines.
“We have seen great levels of cooperation from individuals and businesses. People are listening to our medical experts but we don't want to get complacent. The virus doesn’t treat us better than those living in other states so we must keep it up,” Fitzgerald said. “Around the country we see other places are not doing so well. Some of these places are starting to talk about shutting down again and we certainly don’t want to do that here.”
On a state level, Pennsylvania is one of three states in the country to have a reduction in cases for more than 42 days, Gov. Tom Wolf said in a press conference June 17.
Wolf credited the drop in cases to not reopening too soon or too much and the use of masks.
“Pennsylvanians have done an excellent job at demonstrating how to balance business and public health,” Wolf said. “If we keep this up, we can continue to be a model to other states and a leader at saving lives and livelihoods during this pandemic.”