Native COVID instances are the second lowest among the many benchmark areas

COVID-19 cases rose 29 percent in the first two weeks of the month in Allegheny County. Still, the county’s infection rate is only half the national average – an indication of how cities across the United States are battling to cushion the most aggressive surge in the coronavirus since the pandemic began nine months ago.

Allegheny County had 1,097 cases of COVID per 100,000 population as of October 15. Only Seattle King’s King had a lower rate among the 16 U.S. metropolitan areas that Pittsburgh Today tracks as benchmark regions, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Infections in Milwaukee County and Davidson County, Tennessee, home of Nashville, were more than three times higher than Allegheny’s numbers. The US average of 2,412 cases per 100,000 population was more than double that.

The rates are part of monthly regional COVID analyzes conducted by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development using data reported by the Johns Hopkins Center, the Allegheny County Health Department, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The data suggests that while southwest Pennsylvania has managed to control the spread of the virus better than most U.S. metropolitan areas, a developing trend risks losing ground in the coming weeks. Infection rates in 10 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania rose nearly 68 percent from October 1 to October 15. Pennsylvania as a whole also saw an increase, but at a rate of less than 43 percent.

The increase in cases was unevenly distributed across the region. Westmoreland County was hit hardest, with confirmed cases increasing by nearly 225 percent in the first two weeks of the month. In Butler and Lawrence counties, the infection rate rose more than 125 percent.

At the same time, infection rates in Allegheny, Beaver, and Indiana counties rose to below 30 percent. In Greene County, the infection rate dropped 28 percent. This was the only county in the region where cases decreased in the first half of the month.

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