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SW PA: First the bad news, then the bad news

We live in West Berlin, PA, for one thing. That means that as blue and savvy as Pittsburgh is, we are surrounded by some pretty, well, let’s just call them dedicated Trump cultists. We outnumber them but unfortunately, viruses propagate profligately. Allegheny county reopened mid June. I popped into a local brewery that first weekend and was surprised to see it packed, PACKED with people in the late night demographic. They were all wearing masks, so that was good. I think the proprietors of Inner Groove in Verona are pretty smart people. But there was just a general outpouring of pent up party attitude everywhere in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. (Inner Groove just happens to make some mighty fine brews so I thought I’d mention them, not because they were doing anything wrong. They weren’t.)

Anyway, that must have been the week when Covid did a Walker and came back all snarly and ravenous. It started jumping from bar goer to bar goer, mostly in the Oakland area, which has a lot of students off campus, and on the South Side, which has a bar about every 10 ft on Carson Street.

It was pretty easy to figure out where everyone was picking it up. Plus, Mix some people from the stubborn FREEDOM! contingent with your average everyday person and voile! It started spreading like wildfire.

The mayor, Bill Peduto, tried to reason with everyone in a “please go easy on the bars and wear your masks” style to “Don’t make me come back there!” messaging. Nothing worked. So, he grounded us and closed the bars again. That’ll learn us.

Regrettably, we went from a nearly flattened curve to about 200 cases/day. The good thing is it’s kind of a plateau at 200 cases/day. The bad thing is it’s sort of stuck there and Allegheny county looks like a very slow learner compared to the rest of the state.

The virus is circulating among young people and I now finally know ONE person who has tested positive. I have only met him a couple times downtown and not since we all started working from home. He’s the boyfriend of a friend.

So, the friend started feeling (or started to imagine feeling?) under the weather too. She got a script from her PCP to get tested yesterday, took it to a testing lab and found…

There are no COVID tests left in the region.

You heard that right. There are no more tests in the region. Anywhere. This is a recent development. It happened in the last few days. Who knows if this is related to the Feds cutting off the tests on June 30 and leaving it to the states. Maybe they had enough left over to get through the first week of July then poof! No more tests!

That could be problematic in Allegheny county. Because even if the fire is blazing out of control in Phoenix, Miami and Houston, we are still at the stage where we can do contact tracing here in Pittsburgh. But not if there are no tests.

Sooo, there’s that…