Allegheny County Covid-19 rates soared after reopening of bars and restaurants, county health department says

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Amie Downs, the county's executive director of communications, told CNN on Tuesday that the numbers have increased dramatically since mid-June, when bars and restaurants were reopened.

Since then, the county has closed them back to on-site consumption, but cases continue to rise.

"According to the director of our health department, before mid-June, the cases came from household contacts or other identified locations," Downs said. "In mid-June, it changed to people who didn't know where they had obtained it, so there was a greater dissemination of the community."

Allegheny County data provided to CNN shows that daily case rates were in single digits or adolescents in early June before increasing in the second half of the month, peaking at 109 new cases identified on Tuesday.

Downs said the county health department was able to determine that the bars and restaurants were largely to blame after ruling out protests. The protesters who became ill were often isolated cases, he said.

"The people who reported that they attended a protest or other mass gathering have not agreed, which means they went to different protests or rallies," Downs said. "There were no commonalities."

Allegheny County is not officially tracking exact numbers by location, but by tracking contacts, the county has found that people who attend the same bars and restaurants have contracted the virus in "dozens and dozens," he said.

The county had previously entered its green phase of reopening, and Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine said at a news conference Monday that the county would not return to the yellow phase despite the recent increase in cases.

The county banned all alcohol sales on bars and restaurants as part of a more "surgical" approach, Levine said.

However, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said Monday that he was not considering extending the state's alcohol ban.

"We don't need to do the broad, draconian things that we did three months ago," he said. "Some of these more specific and surgical solutions appear to be much more appropriate."

As of Tuesday, Pennsylvania has had at least 91,139 confirmed coronavirus cases and 712 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

CNN's Anna Sturla contributed to this story.

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