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"Wear the mask": Young people driving up cases of coronavirus in Western PA, says UPMC

Leaders at UPMC strongly suggested for everyone to follow health guidelines that included wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing

Younger people under 30 are driving the spike of coronavirus cases in Western PA, said UPMC. So, Thursday leaders gathered to reiterate a message to everyone across the state: wear masks, wash hands, and social distance.

“For slightly more than 2 weeks now we’ve seen the number of people test positive for COVID-19 in Western Pennsylvania increase significantly. Our testing data and that of our partners at the county and state health departments indicates that these cases are largely linked to younger people who contracted the virus either while traveling or while socializing without masks or proper distancing,” said Dr. Graham Snyder, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology at UPMC. "The median age of those testing positive in Allegheny County is under 30."

Allegheny County's Health Department announced a 2-week order July 8 that closed indoor dining and ordered outside dining service to end at 11 p.m. The order also limited customers to a 3-drink maximum. Allegheny County experienced an increase of COVID-19 cases with 90 new cases June 27, 96 on June 28, 109 on June 30, 110 on July 1, 233 new cases July 2, 177 new cases on July 3, 150 new cases July 4, 127 new cases July 5, 218 new cases July 6, 204 new cases July 7, and 230 cases July 8. The testing positivity rate as of July 8 stood at 11% for the month of July.

"If I can see your nose, I know you're not wearing it properly," said Tammi Minnier, chief quality officer at UPMC as she thanked those who do wear masks and whom enter UPMC facilities with their masks properly on their face.

UPMC officials say hospitalizations systemwide for COVID-19 still stand around 118 people, all over the age of 60. They add, hospitalizations from COVID-19 still only account for 2% of its patient population.

When asked his thoughts on sending students back to school, Dr. Donald Yealy said, "we`re here not to make the decision for school districts or for policymakers but to help people understand what are the best steps to achieve the goals that they want."