PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 News is committed to keeping you informed about the coronavirus, the impact on our community and your lives. Below you’ll find all of today’s updates, including the latest numbers and information from local and state officials.
We’re also covering positive stories in our communities. You can find the most recent ones HERE.
UPDATE 9:08 p.m.: The Port Authority has announced that another employee, the fourth so far, has tested positive for coronavirus.
According to a release, the employee was a driver who worked out of the East Liberty garage.
The employees last shift was early in the morning on April 9.
“After the employee reported they had tested positive for COVID-19, Port Authority mobilized a maintenance crew to perform a deep cleaning of the East Liberty garage and the buses the employee would have been in contact with," the release said.
UPDATE 7:25 p.m.: Pennsylvania residents collecting unemployment can expect to see an extra $600 per week starting with their next payment.
Gov. Wolf announced Friday that this extra money, which was included as part of the CARES Act, the federal COVID-19 stimulus bill, will begin being disbursed early next week.
A release from the governor’s office included the reminder if you have federal tax taken out of your regular unemployment check that money will also be withheld from these payments.
In the same release, it was announced that the state is building a new system for people who are self-employed, contractors or gig workers to file for unemployment assistance.
This system is expected to be online within the next two weeks.
This is because the relief bill requires these claims and payments be tracked separately from traditional unemployment.
UPDATE 4:35 p.m.: Officials with Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania said they are in support of Gov. Wolf’s decision to include protections for victims.
Gov. Wolf issued an executive order to create a temporary program to reprieve prison sentences for non-violent offenders due to the coronavirus.
“Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania is pleased that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our state government have demonstrated a concerted effort to protect the rights of victims during this unprecedented time,” said Jennifer Riley, State Director of Marsy’s Law for Pennsylvania, a statewide advocacy organization for victims of crime.
UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: The number of deaths from coronavirus is also higher in Westmoreland County. County officials said the deaths are now at 11, and the patients were from three nursing homes. Four of them died in local hospitals.
UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: According to the Beaver County Coroner, the number of deaths in the county has risen to 18 as of early Friday afternoon.
This is an increase of 5 more people who have died in the county.
UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: A staff member at the Southwestern Veterans Center has tested positive for coronavirus. No residents have tested positive. The facility is a nursing home in Pittsburgh.
UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a number of new programs to help people in Pennsylvania deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
Available online, the resources include information about:
- landlords prohibiting from evicting tenants who still have rent payments due
- companies with less than 500 people must give 2 weeks of paid sick leave to quarantined employees
- the maximum amount for unemployment is now double
CLICK HERE to for more information from Shapiro’s office
UPDATE 2:52 p.m.: Governor Tom Wolf announced a new loan program - the Hospital Emergency Loan Program or HELP - to give short-term financial aid to hospitals dealing with caring for coronavirus patients.
The package, $450 million in loans, will be available to make sure hospitals have sufficient staff, equipment and PPE.
The funding was dispersed by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and will be administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania First Program (PA First). It was approved by Treasurer Joe Torsella, who played a crucial role in the expedited release of this emergency funding.
UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: Over 900 health care workers have tested positive for coronavirus across the state, according to Secretary of Health Dr. Levine.
As on noon Friday, over 2,000 patients were hospitalized in the state for coronavirus. 598 of those people are on ventilators or breathing machines. Further, nearly 70% of available ventilators are still not being needed.
The state has also issued nearly 2 million N95 masks to facilities to help with the coronavirus outbreak.
UPDATE 2:02 p.m.: The Department of Human Services announced new rules for admitting people to state-run facilities.
DHS has implemented the following protocols for admission to state facilities in order to protect the health of residents and staff:
- Individuals are required to be screened for COVID-19 and provide documentation of screening prior to admission to a state facility. Screenings should include taking the individual’s temperature and discussing possible exposure to COVID-19 or related respiratory symptoms such as a new or worsening cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath.
- A medical clearance attestation from a physician within 72 hours prior to the requested admission date is acceptable for admission if the individual was screened with a negative result. If the screening raises risk of potential infection but the individual does not have a COVID-19 test result, the individual will not be admitted until at least seven days from symptom onset, three days without a fever, and improvement of other symptoms.
- If an individual has had close contact with someone suspected to have, or diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual should quarantine for 14 days from the last time they had contact, and admission to a facility should not occur until after the 14-day quarantine is complete and the admission screening outlined is #1 above is completed.
UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that Clearview Federal Credit Union was joining the PA CARE Package to help consumers through:
- Expansion of small and medium business loan availability
- 90-day grace period (at least) for mortgages not already covered by the CARES Act’s 180-day grace period
- 90-day grace period for other consumer loans such as auto loans
- 90-day window for relief from fees and charges such as late, overdraft fees
- Foreclosure, eviction, and motor vehicle repossession moratorium for 60 days
- No adverse credit reporting for accessing relief on consumer loans
UPDATE 12:00 P.M.: There are now 19,979 cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania, according to the state Department of Health.
Here is the breakdown of cases in our region:
- Allegheny Co.: 788 cases, 20 deaths
- Butler Co.: 123 cases, 3 deaths
- Beaver Co.: 139 cases, 13 deaths
- Washington Co.: 66 cases
- Greene Co.: 21 cases
- Fayette Co.: 49 cases, 1 death
- Westmoreland Co.: 202 cases, 5 deaths
- Armstrong Co.: 22 cases
- Indiana Co.: 26 cases
- Clarion Co.: 10 cases
- Venango Co.: 5 cases
- Lawrence Co.: 45 cases, 3 deaths
- Forest Co.: 5 cases
- Mercer Co.: 36 cases
State health officials said there are 93,040 people who have tested negative to date. There are 78 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 416.
UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: Officials with the City of Pittsburgh announced they distributed 4,611 meals to kids and seniors in need this week. That number is nearly double the previous week of 2,813 meals.
The surge, according to officials, is largely due to Pittsburgh Public Schools students being on spring break.
Total meals for children: 1078
Total meals for seniors: 1813
Both Salvation Army locations in Homewood and Westside distributed about 1600 meals, 80 meals were taken to the Light of Life mission and 40 were distributed to Operation Safety Net. The meals were made by Parkhurst Dining.
UPDATE 11:25 a.m.: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered Department of Corrections officials to establish a temporary program to reprieve sentences of incarceration.
“We can reduce our non-violent prison population and leave fewer inmates at risk for contracting COVID-19 while maintaining public safety with this program,” Gov. Wolf said. “I am pleased to direct the Department of Corrections to begin the process to release vulnerable and non-violent inmates at or nearing their release dates in an organized way that maintain supervision post-release and ensures home and health care plans are in place for all reentrants.”
The program only applies to “state prison inmates who have been identified as being non-violent and who otherwise would be eligible for release within the next 9 months or who are considered at high risk for complications of coronavirus and are within 12 months of their release,” a news release said.
About 1,500 to 1,800 inmates would be eligible, though officials said the number will likely be less than that.
The releases could begin as early as Tuesday.
“While on temporary reprieve, individuals will be monitored similarly to parolees and will be supervised by parole agents. Upon expiration of the order, individuals would be returned to prison to complete any remaining portion of their sentences,” the news release said.
As of Friday morning, there are 11 COVID-19 cases at SCI Phoenix in Montgomery County, officials said.
UPDATE 11:10 a.m.: The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will hold a drive-up emergency food distribution Tuesday in Butler County.
The distribution will take place at Alameda Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Each vehicle will receive 2 boxes of food.
The food bank said it will be able to serve up to 575 vehicles.
All traffic will enter Alameda Park via Pool Drive. The Butler County Sheriff’s Office will help direct traffic.
The food bank is asking people to follow these guidelines:
- For everyone’s safety, individuals attending the distribution must stay in their vehicles at all times, except when using the outdoor restroom facilities. This will help us maintain six-foot social distancing guidelines. Leaving cars to socialize is strictly prohibited.
- After pulling into the distribution area, please put your vehicle in park and unlock your trunk or backseat for food to be loaded. Volunteers will not load food into vehicles until in park. Please stay in your vehicle.
- Attendees will not be required to fill out a registration form in order to receive food.
- Stay alert and follow the guidance of Food Bank staff and police as they direct cars through the distribution area.
UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: There are 29 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 788, the Allegheny County Health Department announced.
Officials said 124 people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and eight more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 18. All deaths in the county have been people over the age of 65, the Health Department said.
Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:
- 0-4 years: 2
- 5-12 years: 4
- 13-18 years: 9
- 19-24 years: 66
- 25-49 years: 316
- 50-64 years: 221
- 65+ years: 170
Of the cases, 414 are female and 373 are male.
UPDATE 7 a.m.: The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank worked with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Public Safety to help families in need.
On Friday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., those in need drive to PPG Paints Arena to pick up boxed meals.
Officials said they believe this will be the biggest food distribution drive they have had so far -- serving more cars than any of the previous five events.
1,300 cars were given two 25-pound boxes of food. Roughly 65,000 pounds of food was distributed. Several hundred cars had to be turned away due to high demand.
UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania grew to 18,228 Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced. Of those cases, 1,446 are in western Pennsylvania.
Statewide, 338 people have died after contracting the coronavirus.
As a stay-at-home order remains in place, Gov. Tom Wolf announced all schools in the state will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
The extended school shutdown order affects more than 1.7 million students in public and private K-12 schools. It means children will spend the rest of the year learning remotely.
Staying in line with the school closures, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association announced all remaining winter and spring sports and any championships have been cancelled.
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