The following is from the Allegheny County Website As Of March 18, 2020. Complete Information Can Be Found At This Link
Information for Residents
People most at-risk of contracting COVID-19 are those who have traveled to places where the virus is occurring. Other vulnerable groups include the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and those that are currently sick.
The intent is not to scare people or cause panic. ACHD wants to ensure that it is being honest with the community and being certain that as many people as possible understand the challenge we are all facing, and that we can all play a part in meeting it.
There is still much that is unknown about this virus and the illness it causes, but there are some things we know already. And it is because of those things that we know, that we’re taking action now.
- We know the virus is or will soon be spreading in virtually every community in the US and indeed in the world.
- Given the contagiousness of this virus, we know that it will not slow down on its own until it has infected most people in every community.
- We know that among people who are infected, about 80% will not need any medical attention and will get better on their own.
- However, based on information from other countries, about 20% of those who are infected will need to be hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, about one quarter will need intensive care and breathing support.
- When we apply these numbers to the 3 million people who live in southwest Pennsylvania region, we estimate that tens of thousands will need intensive care and breathing support to survive and recover.
- Our world-class hospitals can only handle a very small portion of this number at any one time. This is a very grave situation.
- The best hope we have for averting this catastrophic outcome is to take aggressive action to dramatically slow down the spread of the virus in our community. By slowing down the spread of the virus, the slower rate of spread will allow our hospitals to handle the volume of critically ill patients.
- To slow the spread of the virus, we must take strong, immediate action. We have seen that when strong action was taken late, as happened in Wuhan and Northern Italy, the hospitals got overwhelmed, and people died. We have also seen that taking strong action early, as in South Korea and the rest of China, the death rate is much, much lower.
- Looking at other communities and our own data, Southwestern PA is about 2-3 weeks away from overwhelming our hospitals. As a result, we need to take very strong action immediately to save lives.
This is an unprecedented time in our community. Our region has always been at its best when we work together, and this challenge is no exception. We need everyone to step up and play a part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our region. We understand that this may cause hardship for some, and frustration for others, but it’s imperative that we work together to do what’s best for our community.
These steps are recommendations at this time. The state and county are asking businesses and individuals to help us do what is right.
Non-essential businesses have been asked to close for at least 14 days – beginning on Monday, March 16 – to limit the spread of the virus through personal contact and surfaces. Our goal with this recommendation is to further emphasize social distancing. Of particular concern are those areas where people congregate together. Specific locations that would fall under this recommendation include child care centers, senior centers, community and recreation centers, gyms – including yoga, spin, barre and other similar facilities, hair salons, nail salons and spas, casinos, concert venues, theaters, sporting event facilities, golf clubs, social clubs, and non-essential retail facilities including shopping malls.
Restaurants and bars in the state are included in this recommendation. Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars is temporarily prohibited.
This recommendation does not impact supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations.
Essential services and sectors include but are not limited to food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and healthcare, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.
Although these businesses may remain open, the Wolf Administration continues to encourage them to employ social distancing practices and encourages Pennsylvanians to be thoughtful in their visits.
Other businesses, including but not limited to, legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services are encouraged to have employees work remotely or telecommute. If that is not possible, they should employ social distancing best practices.
Travel and Outdoors Activity
People are still free to travel. People should not feel as if they need to lock themselves away in their homes. For healthy people, this simply means making certain that they are practicing social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other people.
Residents should continue practicing good hygiene measures to help stop the spread of germs. It’s also important to clean highly-touched surfaces and objects frequently. Read the EPA’s approved list of disinfectants to use for COVID-19.
People Who Are Ill
We cannot stress this enough. We need everyone working together to minimize the spread of any illness. People who are ill should not go out. They should not go to grocery stores, but instead have food delivered or ask friends or family to pick up what they need. They should remain semi-isolated so as not to further spread any virus or disease. If they need to seek further medical care, they should contact their medical provider by phone and, if an emergency, contact 9-1-1.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath, please stay at home and contact your primary-care provider to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you need to seek immediate medical care, please call 9-1-1 for assistance, or phone ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency department to allow staff at these locations to prepare for your arrival.
In order to best serve residents with questions and concerns about COVID-19, ACHD has partnered with United Way 211 to offer a 24/7 hotline. Please call 888-856-2774 to speak with a representative. You can also contact the Health Department via its COVID-19 online form.
- Testing – Are you feeling sick and believe you might have contracted COVID-19? Learn how to get tested for the virus. Providers in our area are testing for COVID-19. Visit UPMC and AHN for more information.
- Isolation and Quarantine – Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have COVID 19. Learn the difference between isolation and quarantine.
- Health Insurance– Governor Tom Wolf announced that all major health insurers providing comprehensive medical coverage in the commonwealth will cover medically appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic testing and associated treatment for consumers and have committed to waive any cost-sharing for the testing. Learn more about the Governor’s announcement. You also will find the answers to frequently asked questions related to health insurance coverage and COVID-19.
- Medicaid and CHIP Coverage – Governor Tom Wolf announced that the commonwealth’s Medicaid program, Medical Assistance (MA), and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will cover COVID-19 testing and treatment for recipients, and he lifted some prior authorization requirements to ease access to necessary testing and treatment. Learn more about these changes.
- Children and Pregnant Women – There is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19, but pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to the virus. You can learn more about how it may affect pregnant women. You can also find the answers to frequently asked questions related to children and COVID-19.
- Breastfeeding – In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus was not detected in breast milk. However, it is not known whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk. Learn more about COVID-19 and breastfeeding.
- Stop the Spread of Germs – Stopping the spread of germs is vitally important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn simple steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Cleaning Surfaces/Areas – Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 might remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best-practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 in community settings. View recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of rooms or areas of those with suspected or with confirmed COVID-19 have visited.
- Frequently Asked Questions – The CDC has provided a helpful resource to residents seeking information about COVID-19. View the answers to the most frequently asked questions related to the virus.
- Emergency Declaration For United States – View President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration related to COVID-19.
- Emergency Declaration For Pennsylvania – View Governor Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania related to COVID-19.
- Emergency Declaration For Allegheny County – View County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s emergency declaration for Allegheny County related to COVID-19.
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