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As Neighboring States Trace Coronavirus Cases Back To Myrtle Beach, Local Doctor Reminds Pittsburghers Going On Vacation To Stay Safe

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen said 45 cases is the highest daily number of new cases she has seen in the county in more than six weeks.

As states in certain parts of the country continue to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, Pennsylvania remains low. But will the numbers change as Pittsburghers hit the road for their summer vacations?

Health experts say the key to preventing the spread of COVID-19 is remaining vigilant no matter where you travel, and if you feel like you have even the slightest symptom, get tested right away.

"The key is Pennsylvania was far more conservative than other states in terms of reopening," said Emergency Physician with Allegheny Health Network Arvind Venkat.

This has paid off so far.

But Dr. Arvind Venkat said that doesn't mean we should take the drop in COVID-19 cases for granted. He said it's now up to the citizens to control the spread of the virus.

"We need to maintain social distancing where we can, avoid large crowded events, be very diligent about washing your hands and most importantly, wear cloth masks to protect others and to provide some degree of protection for ourselves to the spread of the disease, especially when you're indoors," said Dr. Venkat.

That also means you should follow these rules if you decide to take a vacation this summer. Popular Pittsburgh destinations like Florida and South Carolina are seeing a surge in cases, specifically the Myrtle Beach area.

In nearby Preston County, West Virginia and Belmont County, Ohio, there have been a number of cases traced back to Myrtle Beach.

"Going on vacation where you're going to be in a hugely crowded area is probably not the best thing to do. If you are going to do that, it makes sense to quarantine yourself when you return to Pennsylvania," said Dr. Venkat.

As for the Allegheny County Health Department, Dr. Debra Bogen said she is hopeful the county can keep cases low.

"I think the guidance hasn't changed and I think we have the ability to contain the number of cases by continuing our case investigation and contact tracing. That's really the most important part of an outbreak, and it's worked -- tried and true method of containing infections," said Dr. Bogen.

Dr. Bogen said there hasn't been an increase in hospitalizations, but said that tends to lag about a week behind positive COVID numbers. She also wants to remind people, if you don't have symptoms but think you were exposed to the virus in some way, it's important to get tested.

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