South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

County bans on-premises alcohol consumption beginning Tuesday, recommends quarantine for travelers

 


County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen announced additional mitigation measures are being taken in Allegheny County in response to recent one-day increases in new cases.

"For the first time since COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state, Allegheny County led the state in the number of new COVID-19 cases," said Mr. Fitzgerald. "We're going the wrong direction. While most resident and businesses have been following the rules, these requirements and mitigation measures address the hot spots that have been identified during case investigations. These are severe steps, but we have to take steps now to limit the community spread that endangers those who are older, high-risk or otherwise immunocompromised."

The Allegheny County Health Department is finalizing an order to take effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30 which will restrict on-premises alcohol consumption at any business establishment in Allegheny County. Consistent with the state's order, masks will be required in all businesses. The county has additionally ordered that masks in restaurants must be worn even when seated and may only be removed when eating or drinking. Violations reported will be investigated with businesses being ordered closed for a minimum of a week. Restaurants will also be held to the physical distancing requirements, the limitation of 50% of stated fire code maximum occupancy and will be asked to prioritize outdoor seating.

"As the director of the Allegheny County Health Department, it is my duty to protect the health and safety of all Allegheny County residents and while we've taken significant steps to track and reduce the spread of this virus, we are still seeing significant increases," said Dr. Bogen. "We're taking these steps today to further protect the health and safety of all residents through my authority under the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law."

Dr. Bogen also recommended a 14-day quarantine for those traveling out of state or to have two negative tests at least 48 hours apart for the quarantine to be lifted. Case investigators over the last week have heard many new cases that they have traveled out of state, often to hot spots in the country like Florida, Texas and the beaches along the Carolina coast. A map of testing locations in Allegheny County is available at https://bit.ly/ACTestingSiteMap

"Recommending quarantine and testing after travel will help reduce spread from those individuals and I am confident our county has the testing capacity to handle it," Dr. Bogen continued. "Locations such as the Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rite Aid, CVS and MedExpress will offer testing to people who have traveled, even if they aren't showing symptoms."

Sunday's report of 96 new cases brings the total for the week to 393. These numbers reflect a very rapid increase in cases as well as a significant rise in the percent positive among those tested. From a low of 1-2% just two weeks ago, the percent positive has now increased to 6% for the past couple of days.

Finally, Dr. Bogen offered the additional reminders. If you are going to travel or have vacations planned:

• Consider rescheduling, changing or postponing plans if the destination is seeing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases

• Avoid crowded locations and close contact with others

• Wear a mask even if they aren't required

• Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. This is especially important after being in public places, touching high-use surfaces such as door knobs and counters, and before and after eating, drinking or smoking

Everyone should remember to:

• Get tested if you're sick and stay home

• Limit trips out of the house

• Wear a mask if you do go out. Masks are required in all businesses.

• Avoid large groups and keep 6 feet away from others

• Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently

The department continues to track and investigate all cases of COVID-19.

 

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