TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 6

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 News is committed to keeping you informed about 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.

Have questions about the spread of the coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

PennDOT reopens additional roadside rest areas

UPDATE 6:34 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reopening indoor facilities at five additional rest areas in the state.

Additional cleaning and maintenance will be performed at all reopened locations.

The following four locations will reopen today (Monday, April 6):

  • Interstate 70 eastbound in Washington County, 3.5 miles east of Exit 1
  • Interstate 81 northbound in Franklin County, 1 mile north of the Maryland state line
  • Interstate 81 southbound in Susquehanna County, .5 miles south of the New York state line
  • Interstate 90 westbound in Erie County, .5 miles west of the New York state line

The following location will reopen tomorrow (Tuesday, April 7):

  • U.S. 15 southbound in Tioga County, 7 miles south of the New York state line

EPA donating personal protective equipment across U.S.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has identified around 225,000 pieces of personal protective equipment available to support the COVID-19 response.

The EPA said they will develop a plan over the coming days for rapid distribution to FEMA or state and local governments in need.

UPMC waiving out-of-pocket costs

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.: Officials with UPMC Health Plan announced the company is waiving all deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays for all in-network ,inpatient COVID-19 treatments for members of the fully-insured group, ACA and Medicare Advantage plans as well as self-insured employer plans that opt into the coverage.

The police change is effective immediately and will stay through June 15.

Giant Eagle limiting number of customers allowed inside stores

UPDATE 2:54 p.m.: Giant Eagle stores will now be limiting how many people at one time are allowing inside stores.

The company said it will admit up to 50% of occupancy allowed by the fire code and personal protective equipment will be given to team members to wear. The number of people allowed inside each store will be posted near the front entrance.

Employees will be monitoring shoppers’ social distancing and alert people as needed. Only every other checkout line will be used as well.

UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: A Pittsburgh police officer has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a release from the department.

The officer started showing flu-like symptoms on April 1 and was sent home. The officer was tested the next day and results came back positive Sunday. That officer is now in self-isolation at home.

The officer is an instructor with the Police Academy and was recently in contact with recruits. Police officials are in the process of identifying and notifying everyone who had contact with the officer and placing them in self-quarantine.

All equipment and gear the officer used has been thoroughly cleaned. Officials are checking in daily with the officer.

For privacy reasons, Public Safety is not releasing the officer’s name.

The following is a statement from Chief Scott Schubert on the positive test of a PBP officer:

“The safety and well-being of our officers is always a top priority for me and my Command Staff, but officer health is especially important now as the men and women of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police are on the front lines of this battle day in and day out. Simply put, for us to help the public, we need officers to be healthy.

“For that reason, and out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily suspended a 28-person recruit class as we identify who among them might have been exposed to a firearms instructor that has tested positive for COVID-19. Any exposure would have occurred at the outdoor Police firing range in Zone 5 and not in the Academy.

“We’ve made several adjustments as we face this virus, including the suspension of all in-service training more than three weeks ago. We suspended the training of a new recruit class, but continued the training of this class because they were close to satisfying their training requirements. The class was isolated from other officers and was instructed to maintain social distancing. It is not known where the officer who tested positive contracted the virus. We have instructed numerous recruits who might have come into contact with him at the range to self-quarantine, and we will be monitoring their health daily. Anyone who shows symptoms will be tested. At this time, one recruit has shown symptoms and has been tested, but the results are not in yet.

“These are stressful times. And First Responders simply cannot work from home. I stand in awe of my officers for the way they have dedicated themselves to our communities during this most difficult time.”

A statement from Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich on the positive test:

“We are taking every possible preventative measure to ensure the safety of all our First Responders. But we are dealing with an unprecedented and unpredictable threat. This is our first officer to test positive, and the second member of Public Safety after a firefighter tested positive last week. Hopefully we will have no more positive tests. But as we have seen in other cities, First Responders are often deeply impacted by this virus.”

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: Dr. Levine, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, said at a Monday afternoon news conference there were over 500 positive cases of coronavirus in healthcare workers.

Dr. Levine said as of noon, across the state healthcare system, 51% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds and nearly 70% of ventilators were still available if needed. There are more than 5,000 ventilators across the state at healthcare facilities, there’s a stockpile with the Department of Health and the state has ordered additional units. There were 1.5 million N95 masks distributed by state agencies to facilities that needed the equipment.

There is also significant community spread occurring across the state, according to Dr. Levine.

Gov. Wolf is also asking businesses what they need in terms of supply chain needs and manufacturing capability in the state to help with the coronavirus fight.

UPDATE 1:35 p.m.: 83%: that’s how much park usage has increased in Allegheny County according to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

Agency officials said they were not surprised to see such a large spike in usage.

City parks remain open and usable unless deemed otherwise by the City of Pittsburgh. The City of Pittsburgh has temporarily closed all City playgrounds, basketball courts, and overlooks. Group sports also are prohibited in City parks.

Park facilities and restrooms operated by the Parks Conservancy are closed until further notice. Facility closures include the Frick Environmental Center (2005 Beechwood Blvd.), Parks Conservancy South Side office (45 S. 23rd St.), Schenley Plaza maintenance building (4100 Forbes Ave.), Schenley Park Café and Visitor Center (101 Panther Hollow Rd.), and the horticultural and forestry facility (1 English Lane).

In addition, the Parks Conservancy has postponed all programming and special events through May 10, 2020. The Conservancy is working to reschedule most postponed events.

UPDATE 1:05 p.m.: Officials with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium announced about a third of their full-time staff will be furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Veterinarians will continue to care for the animals and the zoo’s executives will continue working without pay.

MORE DETAILS: Pittsburgh Zoo to furlough employees due to coronavirus shut down

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: Giant Eagle stores are now offering dedicated shopping hours for healthcare workers and first responders.

Every Thursday and Friday, stores will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for those individuals. The list includes police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and other trained members of organizations connected. The company said it is just one small way it could thank them for their efforts.

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued the new numbers of coronavirus positive cases in our region.

  • Allegheny Co.: 642 cases, 4 deaths
  • Butler Co.: 91 cases, 2 deaths
  • Beaver Co.: 96 cases, 6 deaths
  • Washington Co.: 53 cases
  • Greene Co.: 12 cases
  • Fayette Co.: 29 cases, 1 death
  • Westmoreland Co.: 157 cases
  • Armstrong Co.: 13 cases
  • Indiana Co.: 17 cases
  • Clarion Co.; 6 cases
  • Venango Co.: 5 cases
  • Forest Co.: 4 cases
  • Lawrence Co.: 24 cases, 2 deaths
  • Mercer Co.: 18 cases

Across the state, there are just under 13,000 positive cases of coronavirus. There are 70,874 patients who have tested negative.

More Businesses Given Warnings For Staying Open

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Twenty-eight more businesses have been given warnings by Pennsylvania State Police for failing to comply with Gov. Tom Wolf’s order for non-life-sustaining businesses to close.

Since March 23, a total of 191 businesses have been given warnings.

>>STORY: Coronavirus: What businesses are considered ‘life-sustaining,’ ‘essential,’ or ‘non-essential’?

COVID-19 Cases In Allegheny County: Monday Update

UPDATE 11:04 a.m.: There are 37 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 642, the Allegheny County Health Department announced. Ninety-two people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and there have been four deaths.

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Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 3
  • 5-12 years: 4
  • 13-18 years: 9
  • 19-24 years: 56
  • 25-49 years: 274
  • 50-64 years: 180
  • 65+ years: 116

Of the cases, 327 are female and 315 are male.

Citizens Bank Joins PA CARE Package

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: Citizens Bank has joined the PA CARE Package, Pennsylvania’s consumer relief initiative, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced.

“By joining these efforts, Citizens Bank, along with the Office of Attorney General, will ensure Pennsylvania consumers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for additional economic relief,” a news release said.

To commit to the PA CARE Package initiative, financial institutions and banks must offer additional assistance to Pennsylvanians facing financial hardship due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Citizens Bank has been providing the following offers to customers and clients for several weeks:

  • Expansion of small and medium business loan availability
  • 90-day grace period for mortgages that are not covered by the CARES Act
  • 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

United Way Providing Meals To Students, Families

UPDATE 9 a.m.: The United Way’s Students and Families Food Relief Fund, which launched with a $1 million donation from the PNC Foundation, is expanding to provide meals to students and families in more local school districts.

Meals will be distributed at more than 20 sites Monday.

“Through both the fund and a large, coordinated region-wide effort, more than 36,000 meals are expected to be delivered this week to students and families in the Pittsburgh Public School District, Duquesne City School District and Clairton School District,” a news release said.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Emergency Drive-Up Distribution

UPDATE 7:30 a.m.: An unprecedented number of people in our area have resorted to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank since the coronavirus pandemic triggered widespread layoffs.

Officials there tell Channel 11 it’s so critical, they’ve seen a fivefold increase in people desperate for food.

The food bank will hold another emergency drive-up food distribution Monday at its warehouse in Duquesne from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m.

>>STORY: Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank holding another emergency drive-up distribution Monday

Coronavirus In Pennsylvania: Monday Morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: There are 11,510 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania and 150 deaths as of Sunday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Also as of Sunday, 66,261 people have tested negative for COVID-19.

As the spread of the virus continues, Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine are asking people to wear cloth masks in public and when leaving home.

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They said people do not need the N95 respirator masks or surgical masks. A simple cloth mask or even a bandana across your nose and mouth can work to help protect people from each other.

>>STORY: How to make fabric masks during COVID-19 pandemic

The Department of Health posted guidance on masks on its website.