PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – New restrictions aimed at flattening the curve are now expected Thursday, with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald saying “shutdown” is “much too strong” a term.
It comes after Fitzgerald alluded to new mitigation efforts Tuesday, saying an announcement from Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday would dovetail with local measures.
That announcement has since been postponed, and Fitzgerald said at the press conference he now expects the restrictions on Thursday.
“I think what we have learned since the beginning of this pandemic is more strategic strategies to isolate where the risky behavior or the risky potential exists. So I think the term ‘shutdown’ is much too strong. I think what you’re going to talk about is limiting certain gathering numbers and activities and times and those types of things,” said Fitzgerald.
Allegheny County reported 34 new deaths from the virus and 727 new cases Wednesday. Statewide, more than 5,500 people are hospitalized.
In November, Allegheny County lost 138 residents — enough to fill three Port Authority buses “and then some,” says Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen.
Dr. Bogen says hospital admissions of residents are rising, and she doesn’t expect a peak until January or even February without “serious” mitigation efforts.
Area hospitals are being overwhelmed with patients. So far they’re handling it, but there are serious concerns about the coming weeks.
Fitzgerald admits these restrictions will be a hardship for businesses hoping for holiday revenue. He’s hoping for a new federal aid package to help out.
“These decisions are not made easily. These decisions are not made without a lot of angst, a lot of sleepless nights, because we know the impact that this has on people’s lives from the owners themselves to the workers who work in these businesses,” he says.