PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County Health Department says an increase in coronavirus cases in the Pittsburgh area has been linked to several bars, and not protests.
The Health Department reports 83 new cases Monday, the county-wide total now stands at 2,651 cases.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says that since COVID-19 cases were first confirmed in the state, the county has led the state in the number of new cases.
“We have seen some alarming peaks. We have seen more cases in the past two days than in the previous two weeks, “Fitzgerald said.
The case investigator asks people to provide information about any massive gatherings they may have had in the days leading up to the test or showing symptoms. In those investigations, a variety of bars and restaurants were named, and several of them appeared multiple times.
Authorities say the number of times someone has attended a protest is in the single digits, and most of the time they weren’t even at the same protest.
In response, the county is banning on-site alcohol consumption in bars and restaurants.
It will be the last call soon at the Highland Bar in West View. Owner James Brink says bars can’t prove it by serving Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
“Everybody is pulling us in three different ways and that ultimately means we have to shut down, right then and there.” It is leaving 14 or 15 people out of work, “he said.
But the county health department said three consecutive days of record COVID-19 cases demanded decisive action. It appears that most of the young vacationers returning from critical states brought the virus with them, and Fitzgerald says that it has now been spread by customers and / or employees of about a dozen bars in Oakland, South Side and Lawrenceville, North Hills. and South Hills.
“It really has been a peak among bars and restaurants and mainly young people,” says Fitzgerald.
The positivity rate just two weeks ago was 1 to 2%, and now it’s averaging 6%, with some days even more than that.
The next two weeks will be critical in controlling the virus, and Fitzgerald is asking for public cooperation.
“If you are outdoors, if you wear your mask, if you are socially estranged, very, very little to spread it. We need companies and people to be responsible, “he said.
Masks are still required for all businesses, which means they must be worn in restaurants when seated and can only be removed when eating and drinking.
If any bars violate the order, officials say they will be investigated and ordered to close for at least a week.
Bars and restaurants can continue to serve food on-site and offer cocktails to go.
Meanwhile, Highland is offering beer prices in the next 24 hours.
“Just to get rid of all the inventory, because we don’t know how long they are going to shut us down. It could be a week, a couple of days, who knows? says brink