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Allegheny Co. Health Officials Prepared To Handle Coronavirus Spike As Southwestern Pa. Moves To The 'Green' Phase

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- In less than 12 hours, most of Southwestern Pennsylvania will be in the 'green' phase of Governor Tom Wolf's reopening plan.

Gyms, hair salons, and restaurants will welcome customers inside their establishments.

As KDKA's Lisa Washington explains, Allegheny County health leaders say that they are prepared to handle an increase in COVID-19 patients if there is a spike as the area moves to the 'green' phase.

Cupka Joe's Coffee Shop on Pittsburgh's South Side is only open for takeout now, but on Friday, customers will be allowed to sit inside and enjoy their cup of joe.

"We have people who come from out of town, a lot of college students, but it's definitely a nice group of regulars, we know them by name," said Jenna Vojtecky from Cupka Joe's.

At half capacity, the neighborhood coffee shop can have a maximum of 18 customers dining inside.

It's not the small gatherings that county leaders are concerned about in the green phase, it's the larger gatherings.

"The virus has not gone away. We have not developed a vaccine or a cure, so we really want people to make sure they remain safe," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed in the 'green' phase.

As for the large crowds of protesters in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County in the past few days and the potential increase of Coronavirus cases that could come as a result, the County Health Department says it won't be doing anything differently, because it is already prepared.

"We have a lot of ability to increase the numbers of case investigators and contact tracers to address any rise that we see, so we're not making any changes as a result of the protests," said Dr. Debra Bogen, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

"There hasn't been a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases since Allegheny County moved from the 'red' phase to the 'yellow' phase.

The County has increased its COVID-19 testing and contact tracers, and will continue to do so in the 'green' phase.

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