TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 7

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: 240 deaths, 14,559 cases statewide

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.

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Gov. Wolf orders state flags to half-staff to honor coronavirus victims

UPDATE 7:55 p.m.: Gov. Tom Wolf ordered commonwealth flags on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings and grounds fly at half-staff until further notice to honor the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This doesn’t impact U.S. flags. More from the governor is below:

“Too many Pennsylvanians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and, unfortunately, many more will die,” said Gov. Wolf. “Already we have lost friends, parents, grandparents, and siblings. We have lost first responders. We have lost community members. Each of these Pennsylvanians is irreplaceable. Each deserves to be honored individually for their contributions to our commonwealth, but this cruel disease will not give us a respite to mourn.

“This virus prevents us from honoring the dead at traditional gatherings. We cannot have funerals, wakes, or sit shiva. I hope this flag lowering provides some solace to the grieving families and friends. And, I hope it serves as a reminder of the reason for the sacrifices Pennsylvanians are making to help their community survive this crisis.”

In the release, Wolf said state flags should be lowered to half-staff until further notice. All Pennsylvanians are invited to participate.

Beaver County raises number of COVID-19 deaths

Beaver County health officials told Channel 11 there are now 13 deaths from coronavirus in the county, which is four more than the nine deaths currently reported by the state health department.

Officials said the county reports updated numbers to the Pa. health department, so there may just be a lag in the state updating its information.

Dick’s Sporting Goods furloughing ‘significant’ number of employees

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Tuesday it will furlough a “significant number” of employees beginning April 12, a response to the closure of its more than 800 stores nationwide.

Dick’s said it is “increasingly evident that our stores are not going to reopen to public access anytime soon” and that the chain will continue to provide curbside, no-contact pickup at Dick’s and Golf Galaxy stores.

Furloughed employees will receive pay through April 11 and benefits throughout the furlough.

Small groups of workers will continue to work in the Dick’s stores, distribution centers and corporate office and follow social-distancing measures, the company said.

Some employees, including executives, will work at a reduced rate.

Flattening the curve in Southwestern Pa.

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pa. Department of Health Secretary, said southwestern Pennsylvania is starting to show promise and that cases in our area are beginning to level out.

“So far in the last number of days, we have seen a flattening of the curve in southwest Pennsylvania, which is very positive," she said. "But you have to remember that even one or two or three days data is not conclusive. We tend to look at three-day averages and then we look at seven-day averages as well to see if those trends continue.”

Levine said nothing is definitive yet, but there is some hope.

There have been 240 deaths confirmed related to COVID-19 so far across Pennsylvania, but in southwestern Pa. deaths account for only 8% of the state’s total. It’s broken down by county below, according to data from the state:

  • Washington County - 0
  • Westmoreland Co. - 0
  • Fayette County - 1
  • Allegheny County - 6
  • Beaver County - 9
  • Butler County - 2
  • Lawrence County - 2
Southwestern Pa. may be starting to flatten the curve, health secretary says

2 people die, 18 others test positive for COVID-19 at nursing home

UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: Two people at St. Barnabas Nursing Home in Gibsonia have died of COVID-19 and18 others have tested positive, officials announced Tuesday.

A spokesperson at the nursing home told Channel 11 it announced its first death and a handful of confirmed cases, including of a staff member, last week. The second death happened early this week.

Patients who have tested positive are being kept away from others in “isolation pods” in one corner of the building, while all residents in clinical facilities are to remain in their rooms.

Port Authority launches ‘Stay Home’ campaign

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: The Port Authority of Allegheny County has launched a campaign to remind customers that they should be staying home unless they are essential workers or traveling for life-sustaining reasons.

Port Authority said in a release that riders who must leave home for essential trips like going grocery shopping or picking up prescription medication should consider traveling between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when fewer people are using public transit.

“We want our customers to know we’re here for them if they truly need us, but need to save room for those trips that are absolutely essential,” said Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman.

29 positive cases reported at Kane Community Living

UPDATE 3:31 p.m.: Twenty-nine residents and staff members at the Kane Community Living Center in Glen Hazel have tested positive for COVID-19.

2 residents at Kane Community Care Center test positive for coronavirus

911th Airlift Wing airman tests positive for COVID-19

UPDATE 2:01 p.m.: An airman assigned to the 911th Airlift Wing tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

This is the first confirmed case at the installation.

According to a release, the airman is a traditional reservist and has no travel history to high-risk areas. They have not been on the installation since the February Unit Training Assembly almost two months ago and have not recently interacted with other personnel on base.

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The airman is currently at home in isolation.

“Steel Airmen continue to take deliberate and prudent measures to protect themselves, each other, and fellow Americans while still executing our mission in defense of this Nation,” said Col. John F. Robinson, 911th Airlift Wing Commander. “COVID-19 continues to pose a threat, and we will continue to collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies to protect our people and our communities.”

You can read the full release below on their Facebook page.

PRESS RELEASE: 911th Airlift Wing Airman tests positive for COVID-19 PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AIR RESERVE...

Posted by 911th Airlift Wing on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Stay at Home Order enforcement

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: State police released data on enforcement actions taken to enforce Gov. Wolf’s Stay at Home Order.

Across the state between April 1 and April 5, they have issued six warnings and two citations.

“Law enforcement is focused on ensuring residents are aware of the Stay at Home order and informing the public of social distancing practices and while the order is mandatory, voluntary compliance is preferred,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Troopers maintain discretion to warn or issue citations, and their decision is specific to the facts and circumstances of each particular encounter.”

State police release data on actions taken to enforce Governor Tom Wolf’s Stay at Home Order

City of Pittsburgh updated meal distribution sites

UPDATE 12:25 p.m.: The city’s distribution sites for schoolchildren and registered seniors will follow adjusted schedules for this week.

City schoolchildren grab-and-go meals will be distributed Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am-1 pm. Children will be provided enough meals at each pick up to last until the next distribution. Pittsburgh Public Schools’ spring break runs through Monday, April 13, so the first meal distribution for next week will be Tuesday, April 14.

The Department of Parks and Recreation will follow this schedule at these locations:

  • Arlington Rec Center – 2201 Salisbury St., 15210
  • Paulson Rec Center - 1201 Paulson Ave. 15206
  • Warrington Rec Center - 329 E. Warrington Ave. 15210
  • Salvation Army Homewood location- 8020 Frankstown Ave. 15221
  • Salvation Army Westside location - 1821 Broadhead Fording Rd. 15205

Meals for registered seniors will be distributed Monday and Wednesday from 11 am – 1 pm. Each senior will receive five meals to last them through the weekend. Senior meal distribution will return to Monday, Wednesday, Friday distribution next week.

Meal distribution sites for registered seniors will be at these Healthy Active Living (Senior) Center locations:

  • Glen Hazel – 945 Rosselle Court, 15207
  • Sheraden – 720 Sherwood Avenue, 15204
  • Southside – 12th St & 1 Beford Square, 15203
  • Lawrenceville – 4600 Butler Street, 15201
  • Homewood – 7321 Frankstown Avenue, 15208
  • Hazelwood – 5344 Second Avenue, 15207

COVID-19 Cases In Pennsylvania: Tuesday Update

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: There are 1,579 additional positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 14,559, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Of the total number of cases, 1,306 are in western Pennsylvania.

In addition to the new cases, 78 more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 240.

Here is a breakdown of cases in western Pennsylvania counties:

  • Allegheny County: 689, 6 deaths
  • Fayette County: 32 cases, 1 death
  • Washington County: 57
  • Beaver County: 116 cases, 9 deaths
  • Butler County: 107 cases, 2 deaths
  • Lawrence County: 29 cases, 2 deaths
  • Westmoreland County: 177
  • Mercer County: 26
  • Greene County: 15
  • Armstrong County: 18
  • Indiana County: 21
  • Venango County: 5
  • Clarion: 9
  • Forest: 5

There are 76,719 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
  • 7% are aged 19-24
  • Nearly 42% are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 29% are aged 50-64
  • Nearly 20% are aged 65 or older

COVID-19 Cases In Allegheny County: Tuesday Update

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: There are 47 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 689, the Allegheny County Health Department announced. Officials said 101 people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and two more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to six.

Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 3
  • 5-12 years: 4
  • 13-18 years: 9
  • 19-24 years: 58
  • 25-49 years: 286
  • 50-64 years: 191
  • 65+ years: 138

Of the cases, 352 are female and 337 are male.

Warning about “Zoom-bombing” and teleconference hacking

UPDATE 9:50 a.m.: As more people use video conferencing services, such as Zoom, to communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro are warning against “Zoom-bombing” and the hacking of teleconferences.

The Western Pennsylvania COVID-19 Task Force will investigate, disrupt and prosecute such hacking, officials said.

“Unfortunately, as the FBI has reported, there has been a rise in so-called “Zoom-bombing,” or video hacking across the United States, where uninvited hackers disrupt conferences and online classrooms with pornographic images, hate images and/or threatening language. These attacks have also targeted religious communities, minority groups, and vulnerable populations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Some hackers have planned coordinated attacks through websites and social media, including Discord and Instagram, in violation of the terms of use,” a news release said.

Anyone who hacks into a teleconference can be charged with state or federal crimes.

Officials said the following steps can be taken to reduce teleconferencing threats:

  • Do not make the meeting or classroom public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control which guests are admitted.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screen sharing options. In Zoom, change screen sharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
  • Understand the features of your specific teleconference platform, including how to close a conference call in the middle and how to kick out people who are disrupting. Zoom has posted these steps on their blog.
  • Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.
Pa. officials warning about “Zoom-bombing” and teleconference hacking

CMU, Facebook Launch Survey To Help Track COVID-19 Spread

UPDATE 7:30 a.m.: A link to a survey asking you to help track the spread of COVID-19 might start popping up at the top of your Facebook news feed.

The optional survey is run by Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Research Center and will help health researchers generate new insights on how to respond to the crisis, including heat maps of self-reported symptoms.

Using the results of the survey, health officials could learn which areas need resources and potentially when, where and how to reopen parts of society.

CMU, Facebook launch survey to help track COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus In Pennsylvania: Tuesday Morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Pennsylvania had 12,980 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 162 deaths statewide as of Monday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There have been 70,874 people who have tested negative.

Pittsburgh police announced Monday an officer tested positive for the coronavirus and is in self-isolation at home.

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

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Also on Monday, Giant Eagle announced it will be limiting how many people are allowed inside its stores at one time.

Giant Eagle said it will admit up to 50 percent 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.

Dedicated shopping hours for healthcare workers and first responders will now be offered by Giant Eagle every Thursday and Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Giant Eagle limiting number of people allowed in its stores during COVID-19 pandemic
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