With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Allegheny Co. mulls new dining restrictions

    The Pittsburgh skyline (Pittsburgh Current photo by Jake Mysliwczyk)

    PITTSBURGH — As Allegheny County continues to see a sharp uptick in new cases of COVID-19, county Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said Tuesday she’s considering modifying the event limits and restrictions for outdoor food and beverage service at restaurants. 

    “I leave this open to change depending on our cases,” Bogen said at a press conference Tuesday. She said she expects to release the new order by Wednesday afternoon.

    Allegheny County moved into the “green” phase of the state’s reopening schedule on June 5. But a surge in new cases over the past several weeks led the health department to close bars, restaurants and casinos for one week as of July 3. The county has traced many of the new cases to bars and out-of-state travel. 

    “Only 20 days ago we had zero cases,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at the press conference Tuesday. “We had weeks when we didn’t have 200 cases, now we have 200 in a day.” 

    With COVID cases at a nearly two-month high, Casey, Toomey join Wolf to urge Pa. residents to wear masks

    Allegheny County reported 204 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with seven new hospitalizations. The county also reported Tuesday a total of six new COVID-19 related deaths between April 5 and June 13, and said all the deceased were 65 or older. 

    “Allegheny County has had more new cases in the past two weeks than in the previous two months combined,” Bogen said. 

    Bogen and Fitzgerald both stressed that the county ist trying to be “strategic” in deciding whether to close or modify business operations. “I really don’t think it’s great to shut down our entire society again,” Bogen said. “We’ll take it one step at a time.” 

    Correspondent Kim Lyons covers Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania for the Capital-Star. Follow her on Twitter at @SocialKimLy.