PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County officials said they are still monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant but are still not considering mask requirements at this time.
At a news conference Wednesday, Allegheny County Health Department director Dr. Debra Bogen said the county was in the substantial category for the rate of transmission of COVID-19 and that more than two-thirds of cases in the area are from the delta variant. She said the percent positivity rate has climbed to 3.7%, up from 2.7% last week. She said actual reported cases may only be “the tip of the iceberg,” however. Bogen said many people are not getting tested when they fall ill and others display no symptoms.
“The delta variant is very contagious and is driving the current wave of the pandemic across the U.S. Locally, cases are rising quickly,” she said. “Even the fully vaccinated can get the virus.”
Bogen reiterated several times during the briefing that people who are fully vaccinated can still get sick in what are known as breakthrough cases. She said the CDC estimates about 20% of cases in Allegheny County over the last 28 days are people in this category.
“Vaccinated people are likely to represent a larger portion of COVID-19 cases,” Bogen said.
She said that as more and more people get vaccinated, she expects to see higher numbers of people with the vaccine get sick.
As for children and schools, Bogen pointed back the CDC’s guidelines which suggest having in-person learning, having people who can get vaccinated and wearing masks indoors.
“I don’t want children to get the virus,” Bogen said. “We don’t know the long term effects of the virus on health and development.”
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