COVID-19 DOH Testing Lab

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Pennsylvania is weeks away from reaching herd immunity against COVID-19, the state’s acting physician general said Tuesday.

Now that more than 70% of Pennsylvania adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine, it will take a few weeks before enough of them get a second dose and become fully vaccinated.

“We have the power to end COVID-19,” Dr. Denise Johnson said when she visited UPMC Outpatient Center South Side to promote the vaccines.

Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen joined the virtual meeting and said nearly 100% of adults 65 and older in Allegheny have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

“These vaccines really work,” Bogen said.

Donald Yealy, UPMC’s chief medical officer, said 75% of UPMC employees have been vaccinated.

The majority of COVID-19 patients at UPMC have not been vaccinated, and it’s seeing occasional breakthrough cases involving the vaccinated, Yealy said. The breakthrough patients often have underlying health problems and respond better to treatment, he said.

“These things really will keep you and your family safe,” he said.

As of June 10, the state experienced a seven-day increase of 2,044 virus cases, a number that was 1,006 fewer than the previous week, the Gov. Tom Wolf administration said.

The statewide percent-positivity decreased to 1.9%, down from 2.9% from the previous week.

Despite the progress, the state is still reporting hundreds of new virus cases a day, Johnson said.

The state reported 453 new cases Tuesday, bringing the cumulative total to 1,209,136.

There were 24 new statewide virus deaths, none of which involved residents of Washington, Fayette or Greene counties.

Fayette reported 25 new virus cases, taking its total to 13,366 since March 2020. Washington County saw 16 new cases added to its total of 17,885. There were two new cases reported in Greene, taking its total to 3,341.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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