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 9:32 p.m.: Rivers Casino has announced that it is furloughing most of its employees starting next week, and those remaining will be taking pay cuts.
The casino has been closed since March 15.
“This was an extremely difficult decision and one we desperately hoped to avoid,” said Greg Carlin, CEO of Rivers Casino.
A statement from Rivers said the furloughs are expected to last through June 30, and during that time employees will maintain their health benefits.
UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: The Port Authority has announced that it is now limiting the number of riders per bus / light rail train.
This is done in an effort to allow social distancing and help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- No more than 10 riders will be permitted on a 35-foot bus at one time
- No more than 15 riders will be permitted on a 40-foot bus at one time
- No more than 25 riders will be permitted on a 60-foot articulated bus or light rail vehicle at one time
The Port Authority said drivers have been ordered to not pick up additional passengers if their vehicle is at capacity, and it said extra vehicles are available if needed.
“First and foremost, we’re asking riders who don’t have to be on our vehicles to stay home,” Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman said. “There are a lot of essential workers keeping our region going right now and it’s important that they have a seat. Please stay off transit unless you’re heading to or from an essential job, or you’re traveling to the grocery store or pharmacy.”
UPDATE 3:22 p.m.: To go along with Gov. Wolf’s announcement that all schools will remain closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year, PIAA has decided to cancel all remaining winter and spring sports and any championships.
“The board’s position reflects a steadfast priority of keeping our student-athletes, officials and member schools’ staffs and their communities safe, while following the guidelines provided by the Governor, the Department of Health and the Board of Education,” PIAA said in a statement.
UPDATE 1:05 p.m.: Three additional people within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police have tested positive for COVID-19.
An instructor with the Police Academy, an officer working in the administrative branch, and a Police recruit have received positive test results. All three are in self-isolation at home.
Police officials are in the process of identifying and notifying anyone who may have had contact with these individuals and placing them in self-quarantine.
There are now four positive COVID-19 cases within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
Police are in regular contact with all four individuals and are closely monitoring their health and well-being.
Two City of Pittsburgh Environmental Services employees have also tested positive for the virus. Other Environmental Services employees who may have been in contact with the two are in self-quarantine as a precaution.
The names of the individuals impacted by the virus are not being released to protect their privacy.
UPDATE 12:05 p.m.: There are 1,989 additional positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 18,228, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Of the total number of cases, 1,446 are in western Pennsylvania.
In addition to the new cases, 29 more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 338.
Here is a breakdown of cases in western Pennsylvania counties:
· Allegheny County: 759 cases, 12 deaths
· Fayette County: 45 cases, 1 death
· Washington County: 63 cases
· Beaver County: 129 cases, 13 deaths
· Butler County: 113 cases, 2 deaths
· Lawrence County: 37 cases, 2 deaths
· Westmoreland County: 190 cases, 1 death
· Mercer County: 30 cases
· Greene County: 21 cases
· Armstrong County: 20 cases
· Indiana County: 21 cases
· Venango County: 5 cases
· Clarion: 8 cases
· Forest: 5
There are 87,374 patients who have tested negative, the Department of Health said.
Of the people who have tested positive, here is a percentage breakdown by age group:
- Less than 1% are aged 0-4;
- Nearly 1% are aged 5-12;
- 1% are aged 13-18;
- Nearly 7% are aged 19-24;
- 41% are aged 25-49;
- Nearly 29% are aged 50-64; and
- Nearly 21% are aged 65 or older.
UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: UPMC doctors and University of Pittsburgh researchers launched a clinical trial to fast-track testing of different therapies for patients showing COVID-19 symptoms.
Researchers plan to use a type of artificial intelligence to figure out the best treatment in a much shorter time-frame than most trials.
They will be testing the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, steroids and drugs that help your immune system.
“The solution is to find an optimal tradeoff between doing something now, such as prescribing a drug off-label, or waiting until traditional clinical trials are complete,” said Derek Angus, M.D., M.P.H., professor and chair, Department of Critical Care Medicine at Pitt and UPMC. “We’ve developed a way to do that with an adaptive clinical trial model that relies on a type of artificial intelligence known as reinforcement learning to identify the best, evidence-backed therapy for COVID-19 much faster than using the traditional scientific approach.”
Angus also said UPMC is working with local universities to 3D print additional nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing.
Click here to read more on UPMC’s website or you can watch the full news conference below:
UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: There have been 39 more cases of coronavirus confirmed in Allegheny County and two more people have died from complications.
Both of those people were 65 years or older. These are the ages of the other people diagnosed:
- 00-04 – 2 (less than 1%)
- 05-12 – 4 (less than 1%)
- 13-18 – 9 (1%)
- 19-24 – 61 (8%)
- 25-49 – 306 (40%)
- 50-64 – 215 (28%)
- 65 and older -- 162 (21%)
The Port Authority has also reported that a third employee has tested positive, a bus driver who works out of the West Mifflin garage.
That person has not been to work since March 13.
UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: The Pennsylvania State Police released data on actions taken on Wednesday against non-life-sustaining businesses that failed to comply with Governor Tom Wolf’s order closing their physical locations.
On Wednesday, police gave 16 warnings. They have given 224 warnings since starting enforcement on March 23. No citations have been given yet.
UPDATE 10:15 a.m.: HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania schools will remain shuttered for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic that has sickened thousands and caused hundreds of deaths statewide, under an order signed Thursday by the state's education secretary.
The extended 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.
The order applies through the last day of the current academic year, a date that varies among districts because calendars are set by school boards.
UPDATE 9:10 a.m.: The Wounded Warrior Project is committing $10 million to help wounded veterans who are in financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Starting immediately, WWP is reaching out to all its registered warriors to identify those who are in financial distress due to the loss of household income related to the coronavirus pandemic. Those unable to meet their needs for food or shelter can apply for emergency funds. Warriors who qualify will be granted $1,000 per household to help pay for groceries, utilities, rent or mortgage payments, and other essential expenses,” a news release said.
The WWP is asking companies and foundations to join its effort by matching the $10 million commitment.
UPDATE 8:40 a.m.: The U.S. Department of Labor released new jobless numbers Thursday morning that 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.
According to CNBC, that number is far higher than the original projection of 5 million claims.
UPDATE 6:15 a.m.: The U.S. Department of Labor will release new jobless numbers Thursday morning, and they’re expected to rise by millions for the third straight week.
Already, 10 million people have filed for unemployment across the country. More than 1 million of those people who are out of work are Pennsylvanians.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the number in the state means one-sixth of the workforce is unemployed. He said 283,000 people in Pennsylvania filed last week.
Shapiro said his office is taking action to help struggling Pennsylvanians by working to eliminate price gouging, ensuring no one can be evicted right now and asking banks to extend deadlines on both car loans and mortgage payments.
UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Another 1,680 cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania were announced Wednesday, the state’s largest single day jump.
There was a total of 16,239 confirmed cases and 310 deaths as of Wednesday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There were 82,299 people who have tested negative.
Allegheny County had 720 cases and 10 deaths confirmed Wednesday, though Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he is cautiously optimistic that the curve is starting to flatten.
Fitzgerald said people staying home and social distancing has helped, and he encouraged everyone to wear a mask when they go out in public.
“The last thing we want to do is take our foot off the gas at this point. We want to continue that, and hopefully those numbers will continue in that direction,” he said.
Gov. Tom Wolf also emphasized the need to continue social distancing.
“While we are no longer seeing exponential growth of new cases daily, this continued growth should serve as a reminder to everyone that we do not yet have this virus under control,” Wolf said. “Now is not the time to get complacent. We need to buckle down and eliminate as much contact as we can with people outside our homes. If we all continue to work together, we can push down that growth rate.”
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