TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 27

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.

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


Another Port Authority worker tests positive

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: An 11th Port Authority worker at the West Mifflin garage has tested positive for coronavirus.

The employee last worked on Monday, April 20 and has been in self quarantine since then. The entire garage has been deep cleaned and sanitized twice in the last two weeks, according to Port Authority officials. On Sunday, the agency began taking employees’ temperatures before starting their shift. Any employee with a temperature of 100.4 or above will be sent home with pay until their doctor clears them to return to work.


Secretary of Health lays out challenges with COVID-19 testing, tracing

UPDATE 5:00 p.m.: Dr. Rachel Levine laid out some challenges the state still faces before things can fully reopen.

“We’re going to be looking globally at our ability to do testing. We’re going to be expanding testing through hospitals, health systems and other medical providers in that area,” Dr. Levine said.

Another challenge is keeping the coronavirus out of nursing homes. But the Pittsburgh region’s decline in cases is not the only factor determining when things can start to get back to normal.


Gov. Wolf: golf courses, marinas, guided fishing, campgrounds allowed to open Friday

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.: Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips, and privately owned campgrounds are allowed to open across the state starting Friday, May 1.

Gov. Wolf said the businesses will be required to follow updated life-sustaining business guidance and rules. Sate park campgrounds will stay closed through May 14. The guidelines will help keep people safe while they can get outside.

Plus, families are encouraged to follow these guidelines too:

  • Stay close to home: Pennsylvanians are encouraged to enjoy permitted outdoor recreational activities within their community and avoid crowding popular destinations.
  • Practice social distancing: Maintain the recommended minimum 6 feet apart from fellow recreationists. Pennsylvanians are also encouraged to wear a mask or protective garment that covers the nose and mouth any time they go outside. If a parking lot at a park is full or there are too many people on the same trail, find an alternate place to recreate. Cross the street to avoid running directly past another runner or wait longer at a golf hole for a fellow golfer to move forward.
  • Minimize risk to others: Individuals should only go out if they feel healthy and have not been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs and handrails.
  • Have a plan: Create a safety plan before heading outdoors. Explain to children the need to keep their distance from others, even if they happen to see a friend while outside. Discuss with partners, social distancing while on the golf course. Think through how to avoid other runners when waiting to safely cross a street at the same time.

Person with intellectual, developmental disabilities dies from coronavirus

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: A man at a care home for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities died from complications due to the coronavirus. Officials with Citizen Care said the man had been sick and hospitalized for the past three weeks.

“The people we are privileged to support are members of our family,” said Margaret Rothenberger, President and CEO of Partners For Quality, which is the parent organization of Citizen Care. “Our entire family of agencies is saddened by this loss. We offer our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of this person we supported as we keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”


UPMC to test all patients undergoing scheduled procedures

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: UPMC officials announced new changes in light of the state allowing elective procedures to happen.

In a statement, UPMC officials said.:

“We are happy to continue to report encouraging news: UPMC has not seen the surge in COVID-19 cases that we were prepared to handle. Our system-wide positivity rate for COVID-19 testing was 6.6 percent in the one-week period from April 14 to April 20, and COVID-19 patients are using only 2 percent of beds across UPMC. While this data is promising, we must continue being diligent in our efforts to mitigate the virus. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, we are committed to providing care for all patients, especially those in need of medically necessary, essential care. As a result, UPMC will offer COVID-19 testing to patients undergoing a scheduled, hospital-based procedure. By testing these patients, we will learn more about the prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities, which helps us make informed decisions on patient care and community protection. In the coming month, we also plan to offer patients and health care workers COVID-19 antibody testing.”


PA Secretary of Health gives daily COVID-19 briefing

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said there are over 40,000 people who have tested positive.

There are 2394 cases in health care workers. 7,037 of total cases are in 441 different long term living facilities including nursing homes and personal care homes. 1,597 people have died from the virus. 2,799 patients were hospitalized and over 600 people required a ventilator. 47% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds and 70% of ventilators are still available.

The Department of Health also put out new information for hospitals and medical facilities to conduct elective procedures. Dr. Levine said the state had to make sure the medical system in the state was not going to get overwhelmed.

In order to start elective procedures, facilities have to make sure there is enough PPE should there be a surge, patients can be treated above crisis-standards and facilities must have enough trained staff.

A target goal for reopening PA has been set at having fewer than 50 new confirmed cases per 100,000 population reported...

Posted by Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday, April 27, 2020

Gov. Wolf: race, ethnicity data must be included in virus testing

UPDATE 1:35 p.m.: On a call with reporters and Lt. Gov. Fetterman, Gov. Wolf said he wants medical facilities conducting coronavirus testing to include race and ethnicity demographics. He also said he wanted more free and accessible testing for minority and vulnerable populations.

Here are some remarks from that call with Gov. Wolf:

“All Pennsylvanians deserve the same access to testing and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s regardless of race, income, location, and every other factor. The goal for this task force is to help communicate issues with how the pandemic is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations.

“One of the problems we have is that we have heard how COVID-19 is hitting minority populations – in particular African-Americans – hardest across the United States and anecdotally in Pennsylvania, but we lack the statistics needed to determine the severity of this issue here.

“Despite a mandate by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, 69% of race data is still unreported and there is little to no data when it comes to ethnicity."


New information as construction projects set to resume

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: The City of Pittsburgh put out some new rules as construction projects are set to get back underway on Friday.

CLICK HERE for more details


City, partners distribute 4,288 meals to kids and seniors

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: The City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation, Salvation Army, Parkhurst Dining and Eat’n Park handed out 4,288 meals to children and seniors.

Total meals for seniors for the week = 1922

Total meals to children through help from Parkhurst and Eat'n Park = 826

Total meals via Salvation Army = 1500

Additionally, approximately 40 meals were provided to by Parkhurst and donated to families via a church


42,050 positive cases across the state

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: There are now 42,050 positive cases of coronavirus across the state according to the Department of Health. This includes 885 new positive cases, the lowest increase in a week.

Here is breakdown by local county of cases:

  • Allegheny Co.: 1,224 positive cases, 79 deaths, 14,765 negative tests
  • Armstrong Co.: 47 positive cases, 2 deaths, 606 negative tests
  • Beaver Co.: 387 positive cases, 46 deaths, 1,898 negative tests
  • Butler Co.: 170 positive cases, 6 deaths, 2,041 negative tests
  • Clarion Co.: 22 positive cases, 1 death, 464 negative tests
  • Fayette Co.: 79 positive cases, 4 deaths, 1,648 negative tests
  • Forest Co.: 7 positive cases, 0 deaths, 26 negative tests
  • Greene Co.: 25 positive cases, 0 deaths, 393 negative tests
  • Indiana Co.: 63 positive cases, 4 deaths, 598 negative tests
  • Lawrence Co.: 63 positive cases, 5 deaths, 667 negative tests
  • Mercer Co.: 65 positive cases, 1 death, 664 negative tests
  • Venango Co.: 7 positive cases, 0 deaths, 231 negative tests
  • Washington Co.: 107 positive cases, 2 deaths, 1,970 negative tests
  • Westmoreland Co.: 377 positive cases, 30 deaths, 4,188 negative tests

In our region, 30,159 people have tested negative so far.


PA Attorney General says another bank joining relief program

UPDATE 11:45 a.m.: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced First National Bank joined the state’s COVID-19 financial relief program.

Under the PA CARE Package program, banks and financial companies are working to comply with the federal CARES Act and other important protections for consumers.

To commit to the ‘PA CARE Package’ initiative, financial institutions and banks must offer assistance to Pennsylvanians facing financial hardship due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Expansion of small and medium business loan availability
  • 90-day grace period minimum 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 and overdraft fees
  • Foreclosure, eviction and motor vehicle repossession moratorium for 60 days
  • No adverse credit reporting for accessing relief on consumer loans

CLICK HERE fore more details


Monday’s update from Allegheny County Health Department

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: The Allegheny County Health Department reported since March 14, there are now 1,224 positive cases as of Monday. That’s an increase of 13 positive coronavirus cases over Sunday. This breaks down to 1,190 positive confirmed cases and 34 probable cases.

Six additional people have died for a total of 79 deaths. Of reported deaths, 72 are confirmed or had a positive test and 7 probable.

Of the 1,224 cases, 169 cases are in healthcare workers, or 14% of the COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County. The age group with the largest number of cases continues to be people aged 25-49.

Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 4
  • 5-12 years: 4
  • 13-18 years: 10
  • 19-24 years: 81
  • 25-49 years: 424
  • 50-64 years: 347
  • 65+ years: 354

There are 213 past or present hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

Highmark adds COVID-19 Symptom Checker Healthbot to website

UPDATE 10 a.m.: Highmark is introducing two additional online tools to help people find information on COVID-19 symptoms, find appropriate care and help members find customer service resources.

Highmark previously relaunched its website, highmarkanswers.com, to provide information on the coronavirus and details on what Highmark is doing for its members.

The website now includes the COVID-19 Symptom Checker Healthbot, which is a collaboration between Highmark, the CDC Foundation and Microsoft. It can be used to check symptoms and to get guidance on seeking appropriate medical care when necessary during the pandemic.

Highmark has also added a virtual assistant, or chatbot, feature to the website to help answer member questions and direct them to the right customer service resources.

Expanded curbside pickup at Pa. liquor stores starts Monday

UPDATE 7:00 a.m.: The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is expanding its curbside pickup service to 389 more Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores.

The expansion goes into effect Monday, bringing the service to a total of 565 Fine Wine & Good Spirits locations.

Stores will accept a limited number of orders by phone on a first-call, first-served basis. Most stores will have curbside pickup available Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pickup appointments will be scheduled.

CLICK HERE for the latest list of stores offering curbside pickup.

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Monday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Pennsylvania had 41,165 cases of the coronavirus and 1,550 deaths as of Sunday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There were 157,428 people who tested negative for the virus.

Over the weekend, Pittsburgh Public Schools announced a staff volunteer who helped pass out 12th-grade laptops and instructional packets at Pittsburgh Milliones on April 16, 20 and 21 is sick and has been tested for COVID-19.

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The district notified staff and families in a phone message, which said, in part:

“As a school district, we are taking all of the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during food, laptop, and instructional material distribution by requiring all staff and volunteers to practice social distancing, wear masks and gloves. We strongly encourage any child or adult visiting a site to pick up food, laptops, or instructional materials to wear protective gear.”

Also over the weekend, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration announced a second round of funding for Pennsylvania businesses that will give more than $13 million to 160 companies in 43 counties. The funds are going to restaurants, wellness centers, wineries and breweries. (CLICK HERE for a list of the businesses.)