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Allegheny County covid cases skyrocket as omicron spreads - TribLIVE

The number of new covid-19 cases in Allegheny County has grown exponentially this week, with nearly 2,000 new cases reported Thursday — a sign health director Dr. Debra Bogen said is a likely due to the quick-spreading omicron variant.

From Monday to Tuesday, the county recorded 654 new cases, followed by 1,701 from Tuesday to Wednesday and 1,980 from Wednesday to Thursday.

“That significant rise only underscores the message that we provided earlier this week about the spread of the omicron variant,” Bogen said in a statement.

She said a record number of people are being tested for the virus. Just through the county’s Curative testing sites, 17,000 people have been tested this week. The high number of people being tested has not diminished the positivity rate: the seven-day average is 15.2%, up 4% from the previous seven days.

Bogen said the continued increase in positivity rate is an alarming trend, noting that in many cases, people do not show symptoms.

“This is why it’s imperative to wear a properly fitting mask when out in public,” she said, “especially indoors.”

The situation in Allegheny County mirrors that of the state as a whole: Pennsylvania’s new case count jumped more than 70% over just 11 days, from 51,377 on Dec. 19 to 88,649 on Thursday, state data shows.

The state on Thursday surpassed 2 million total cases since the start of the pandemic. More than 36,000 people have died, including more than 2,700 in Allegheny County and 1,100 in Westmoreland County.

“I again ask everyone to take this seriously and do their part to slow the spread of this virus,” Bogen said.

Hospitalizations also have risen. Across the state, the average number of people hospitalized with the virus over the past week was about 4,575, according to the state Department of Health. That’s a 36% increase over the average number a month ago.

Bogen urged those who can stay home to do so. For everyone else, she said, “If you’re going to participate in events and parties, take precautions.”

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .