TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 28

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.

Washington County officials hope to be on Gov. Wolf’s list of counties to reopen soon

UPDATE 11 p.m.: Washington County Board of Commissioners told Channel 11 that there are businesses in that area that are ready to safely re-open as soon as Wednesday, but they are following Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders — which seem to be ever-changing.

“It has been a challenge to try to know which course of actions to take in Washington County next because the info continues to change,” said Diana Irey Vaughan, chairman of the board.

On Tuesday, Wolf backed off the regional concept to re-open parts of the state.

"We had put out a map in terms of our health care regions, but the governor has said that we are not going to be beholden to any specific map or any specific scheme,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, Pa. secretary of health.

Wolf said he will consider reopening individual counties.

Washington County is hoping to be a part of that plan. There are 109 COVID-19 cases and two deaths there.

Wolf said he will be as objective as possible in evaluating the data and consider areas where hospitals have not been overwhelmed.

There are some counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania with extremely low COVID-19 numbers and no deaths.

12th Port Authority employee tests positive for COVID-19

UPDATE 8:00 p.m.: A 12th Port Authority of Allegheny County employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a release.

The employee works in maintenance at the West Mifflin garage and they last worked on April 21. They have been in self-quarantine since.

This is the 10th case at the West Mifflin garage and the eighth case involving a maintenance employee at the location.

Gov. Wolf backs off plan to reopen by region

UPDATE 5:00 p.m.: In a call Tuesday, Gov. Wolf backed off the plan to reopen the state by region, and instead will be looking at the state county-by-county.

Questions and confusion arose with Somerset County, with 26 cases and no deaths, was being lumped in the same region as Allegheny County, which has more than 1200 cases and 87 deaths.

“There’s some misunderstanding that we are wedded to specific regions. I think the health department has used their own regions in talking about things. We’re not going to be stuck with any one set of what a region is, or what a county is as we go through this process,” Wolf said.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine acknowledged the new approach.

“We had put out a map in terms of our health care regions but the governor has said that we are not going to be beholden to any specific map or any specific schema,” Dr. Levine said.

Body-temperature measurement technology installed in local facility

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Officials with the Sharon Regional Medical Center announced they have installed state-of-the-art screening technology to keep people safe. The technology measures the body temperature of people entering the hospital and can read the temperatures of multiple people to within a half of a degree.

Body temperature technology has most recently been installed in entrances within schools, airports, prisons and other public places with a large flow of people to conduct rapid temperature screening. Sharon Regional has cameras installed at both main entrances to the hospital, including at the East State Street entrance and at the security screening area at the entrance to the Emergency Care Center and Outpatient Registration.

Our staff was excited and thankful to receive over 100 face shields from Commodore Perry High School staff. Hats off to...

Posted by Sharon Regional Medical Center on Monday, April 27, 2020

Falling Rock at Nemacolin opening for limited guests to take a mini-vacation

UPDATE 3:08 p.m.: Falling Rock at Nemacolin is reopening on May 8 to a limited number of guests who want to get out of their house and take a short, relaxing trip away.

Limited to 40 guests, a private butler will contact guests once they make a reservation to develop a detailed itinerary. All guests will be provided with a VIP amenity packet that includes a mask, a 10 oz bottle of hand sanitizer and prepackaged snacks.

CLICK HERE for more details

112th Annual Lawrenceville Memorial Day Parade canceled

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. - The 112th Annual Lawrenceville Memorial Day Parade that was scheduled for Monday, May 25 at 10am, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The ceremony and festivities at Allegheny Cemetery have also been cancelled. The Cemetery issued this statement “For the first time since 1869, Allegheny Cemetery will not be hosting a public Memorial Day service. Memorial Day originated as a somber observance meant to provide an opportunity for our Nation to grieve the loss of so many Americans during the Civil War. Now, more than ever, we are realizing the full meaning of the freedoms we enjoy and we look forward to resuming the time-honored parade, service and picnic for Memorial Day 2021.”

Click here for a list of cancellations in our area.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has given out over 4.1 million pounds of food

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: Officials with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank report they have handed out more than 4.1 million pounds of food from March 18 to April 24. That’s enough food for more than 3.4 million meals for people in need during the pandemic.

In a press release, officials said the food bank “has never seen a need as large” during it’s 40-year history. The amount of food given away is a million pound increase from a typical month. So far there have been 12 drive-up food distributions serving nearly 12,000 vehicles with nearly 600,000 pounds of food. More than 100,000 pounds of food has gone to nearly 1,800 people through an emergency food assistance program at the warehouse.

There are two upcoming drive-up food distributions in the coming days:

Greene County Food Distribution, presented by Corner Cupboard Food Bank

Location: Greene County Fairgrounds

107 Fairgrounds Rd, Waynesburg, PA 15370

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2020

Time: 10 a.m. - noon

Capacity: 1,200 cars, no walk-ups permitted

One food share (two boxes) per car

Beaver County Food Distribution

Location: Pittsburgh International Race Complex

201 Penndale Road, Wampum, PA 16157

Date: Saturday, May 2, 2020

Time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Capacity: 2,000 cars, no walk-ups permitted

One food share (two boxes) per car

Latest information from PA Department of Health

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: As of 12 a.m. Tuesday morning, 1,214 new cases for coronavirus were detected. About 2,519 of total cases are in health care workers. About 7,360 of the total cases are associated with 452 long term care living facilities.

There have now been 1,716 deaths among people testing positive for coronavirus. Hospitals are reporting about 2,777 patients are currently hospitalized due to the virus. 611 patients have required a ventilator. Across the healthcare system, about 47% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds and 70% of ventilators are still available.

CDC prioritizing nursing home residents, workers for COVID-19 testing

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: According to Sen. Pat Toomey’s office, nursing home residents and workers will now be prioritized for coronavirus testing.

Toomey’s office said the CDC had previously categorized long-term care residents as Priority 2 and nursing home employees as Priority 3. Now, both will be categorized as high priority.

CLICK HERE for more from the CDC

State Supreme Court directs local courts to restore more operations

UPDATE 12:54 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered county courts to start restoring a wider range of operations.

With the exception of speedy trial calculations under Rule of Criminal Procedure 600, the statewide suspension of time calculations and deadlines provided for in the courts previous orders will end effective May 11, 2020. President Judges are given substantial discretion in the enforcement of deadlines, with due regard for public safety.

The Court’s previous orders regarding dispossession of property are extended until May 11, at which point they will end. As today’s order notes, however, there may be restraints on some actions related to dispossession of property imposed by other sources, including the federal CARES Act.

Jury trials (both criminal and civil) remain suspended and will be scheduled for a date in the future.

Tuesday’s numbers from PA Department of Health

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: The Department of Health reported 43,264 positive cases of coronavirus across Pennsylvania. There have been 1,716 deaths and 165,825 negative tests so far.

Locally, here are the numbers of cases by county:

  • Allegheny Co.: 1,235 positive cases, 87 deaths, 15,004 negative tests
  • Armstrong Co.: 50 positive cases, 2 deaths, 624 negative tests
  • Beaver Co.: 388 positive cases, 59 deaths, 1,905 negative tests
  • Butler Co.: 174 positive cases, 6 deaths, 2,066 negative tests
  • Clarion Co.: 23 positive cases, 1 death, 466 negative tests
  • Fayette Co.: 79 positive cases, 4 deaths, 1,682 negative tests
  • Forest Co.: 7 positive cases, 0 deaths, 27 negative tests
  • Greene Co.: 26 positive cases, 0 deaths, 395 negative tests
  • Indiana Co.: 62 positive cases, 4 deaths, 613 negative tests
  • Lawrence Co.: 63 positive cases, 5 deaths, 681 negative tests
  • Mercer Co.: 66 positive cases, 1 death, 673 negative tests
  • Venango Co.: 7 positive cases, 0 deaths, 235 negative tests
  • Washington Co.: 109 positive cases, 2 deaths, 1,985 negative tests
  • Westmoreland Co.: 383 positive cases, 30 deaths, 4,280 negative tests

Staff volunteer who handed out laptops at Pittsburgh school tests negative for COVID-19

UPDATE 11:45 a.m.: Pittsburgh Public Schools said Tuesday that the staff volunteer who helped pass out materials to students at Pittsburgh Milliones has tested negative for COVID-19.

Over the weekend, the district alerted the parents that the volunteer who helped distribute laptops and instructional packets to 12th-grade students on April 16, 20 and 21 was sick and was tested for COVID-19.

A phone message below was sent to all Pittsburgh Public Schools staff and families about the negative result.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announces COVID-19 funding for residents and small businesses

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced Tuesday plans to issue more than $12 million in new federal funds to organizations that support residents and small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding includes Emergency Solutions Grants, which will go to programs help finance homeless shelter improvements, rental assistance for low-income residents and coordination between street outreach personnel and Police Bureau community resource officers to care for homeless residents.

The funding also includes Community Development Block Grant money. This was part of the initial pandemic relief package passed by Congress. Organizations getting this new funding include the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh for business and housing grants, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and others offering help to residents.

Tuesday’s update from Allegheny County Health Department

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: The Allegheny County Health Department reported since March 14, there are now 1,235 positive cases as of Tuesday. That’s an increase of 11 positive coronavirus cases over Monday. This breaks down to 1,193 positive confirmed cases and 42 probable cases.

There are 222 past or present hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

Eight additional people have died for a total of 87 deaths. Of reported deaths, 78 are confirmed or had a positive test and nine probable cases.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 257 residents and 84 staff members at 31 long-term care facilities in Allegheny County have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been 58 deaths at those facilities.

Health care workers at local hospital wearing unmasked photos

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: Patients at Forbes Hospital will now be able to see who is taking care of them behind the head-to-toe protective equipment.

Caregivers at the Allegheny Health Network hospital are wearing unmasked photos of themselves, smiling along with their regular identification badges.

It lets their patients see the person behind the shield.

The badges are being provided to the employees as laminated badges and as stickers that can be placed on a disposable gown.

Reporting of actual Pa. job numbers impacted by coronavirus pandemic.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m.: The impact of the coronavirus on the job market has delayed the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting of Pennsylvania’s March 2020 job numbers, officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry said Tuesday.

The information won’t be available until the until the numbers can be finalized.

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Tuesday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately-owned campgrounds will be allowed to reopen across Pennsylvania starting Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday.

Gov. Wolf said the businesses will be required to follow updated life-sustaining business guidance and rules.

State park campgrounds will stay closed through May 14.

>>STORY: Golf courses, marinas, private campgrounds allowed to reopen starting Friday

Wolf’s announcement came as the state moves closer to a gradual reopening. Some areas are expected to start reopening May 8.

>>STORY: What to expect as Pa. starts to reopen from COVID-19 shutdown

In addition to reopening the recreational activities, construction projects are also set to get back underway Friday, as previously announced. The City of Pittsburgh has issued new guidance.

>>STORY: New info on permits, inspections, requests as construction set to begin

As of Monday, Pennsylvania had 42,050 cases of the coronavirus and 1,597 deaths. There have been 161,372 people who tested negative for the virus.

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