Gov. Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks in this photo from 2020.

At an appearance at a vaccine clinic in McKeesport Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf said he hoped that Pennsylvania adults who want to receive a coronavirus vaccine will have received at least one shot by the second week of May.

That comes as Pennsylvania has opened vaccine eligibility for individuals who work in manufacturing, public transit and other areas, and is due to open it next week for people who work in banking, housing construction, the media and other professions. All adults in Pennsylvania and across the country will be eligible April 19.

When vaccines first became available in the state in January, some websites crashed thanks to the number of people trying to land an extremely limited number of appointments. Wolf said outside McKeesport’s Bethlehem Baptist Church that he hopes that does not happen again.

“We’re not planning to have the surprise and the logjams we had the first time around,” Wolf said. “We think we can do this.”

Wolf was joined on his tour of the vaccine clinic by Rich Fitzgerald, the Allegheny County executive, and Dr. Debra Bogen, the director of the Allegheny County Health Department. At their weekly coronavirus briefing later in the afternoon, Bogen reported that the county was “well into a fourth wave” of infections, with the culprits being large, maskless gatherings and variants of COVID-19.

“We’re back to where we were in early January,” she said.

Fitzgerald explained, “The number of cases is higher than they should be. We may be a month or two away from getting to the point where we really need to be.”

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there were 418 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 88,573. Washington County added 64 new cases, bringing its total to 15,566. Greene County added eight new cases. It now has a cumulative total of 2,950. All told, there have been 11,503 cases in Fayette County since March 2020, with 42 new ones added over the last 24 hours. There were 119 new cases in Westmoreland County, for a total of 30,005.

Also, there were two new deaths in Allegheny County, for a total of 1,826, according to the state health department. There were also two new deaths in Westmoreland County, for a total of 711, and three new deaths in Fayette County, for a total of 294. There were no new deaths reported in Washington or Greene counties.

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.