PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Has Allegheny County passed the test to reopen?
By all the measures laid out by the governor, Allegheny County appears to pass with flying colors. Still, that's no guarantee that the county will be in the first wave of May 8 reopenings.
New case numbers remain low, the hospital system has never been strained and while the testing capacity could be more robust, county leaders say it's sufficient.
"We have done well," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Allegheny County more than meets the governor's complicated formula, which calls for less than 50 new cases a day per 100,000 residents over a 14-day span. In the past two weeks, the county has had 369 new cases for an average of 30 per 100,000.
The 11-county southwestern Pa. region has had 908 new cases for an average of 33 cases -- well under the bar.
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And the region's hospital system has never been stressed.
UPMC now has less than 50 COVID-19 patients in all of its regional hospitals. While the county has tested less than 2 percent of its population, it says its team of contact-tracers has already identified and contained some spikes in the virus.
But will all of this be enough to green-light a lifting of restrictions?
"The governor has said many times that we will not be beholden to this scheme for the health regions within the Department of Health," Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.
Despite all Allegheny County's good metrics, Fitzgerald says it's likely our region will not be in the first wave of reopenings and will follow counties in central Pa., which have even better numbers.
"I am sure for some people it's not going to be fast enough. Some people may think we're not moving slow enough," said Fitzgerald. "It's a tough balancing act. You've got the crisis of health and you've got the crisis of economics."
Governor Wolf is expected to announce Friday the counties and regions where he will be lifting his stay-at-home orders and begin reopening the economy.
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