TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 29

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.

Local business owners looking for guidance on what to do when reopening

UPDATE 11 p.m.: With Gov. Wolf expected to announce which areas of Pennsylvania will be the first to begin getting back to normal on Friday, local business owners are trying to figure out what they will need to do.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said COVID-19 cases are trending significantly below the threshold set by the governor for reopening, but he believes the county will be in the second wave of re-openings -- around May 15.

Channel 11’s Amy Hudak talked to Ziggy Murin, the owner of ZIGsZEN Salon in Wexford, about what this means for him. Watch her report below to see what he had to say.

Mayor Peduto talks about financial struggles with several other mayors

UPDATE 5:00 p.m.: Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto joined a handful of mayors from across the country on a video conference call to talk about some of the financial struggles their now facing because of the pandemic.

“If we don't invest in those areas it's putting the final nail in the coffin,” Peduto said.

Peduto today issuing a warning about financial problems facing cities across the country, and urging congress to step in.

He joined four other mayors from cities like Arlington, Texas and Dayton, Ohio to discuss the financial implications of COVID-19 with Congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, who vowed to help.

“We are going to insist on our side that this package include, direct assistance to all of you,” Neal said.

Earlier this month, Peduto and other mayors sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for $250 billion.

Peduto said the loss of tax revenue will translate into a $127 million deficit this year.

He said the money is needed to pay for critical services. That sentiment was echoed today by the mayor of Dayton.

“We are not talking about facing things, we are talking about the direct services that are provided on the front line,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

And without that financial assistance, Peduto said some cities may never recover.

“Without this help you are going to see cities in financial disrepair that are not going to be able to continue the economic transformation,” Peduto said.

The mayor of Arlington, Texas, telling the gathering that this isn’t about the politics of red or blue. He called it a red, white and blue issue affecting everyone as he and the other mayors made their pitch for federal aid.

How close is Allegheny County to meeting Gov. Wolf’s COVID-19 threshold?

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: Allegheny County health officials said Wednesday that the county has been under the threshold set by Gov. Tom Wolf regarding new COVID-19 cases to reopen.

According to health department director Dr. Debra Bogen, there has to be no more than 50 new cases for every 100,000 people in order to begin reopening. Based on Allegheny County’s population of 1.3 million, the number of new cases would need to be lower than 650.

Bogen said that data showed Allegheny County has been under that threshold -- at 328 new or confirmed cases over the past 14-day period.

There has not been any new update from Wolf regarding when Allegheny County could reopen based on these numbers, however.

You can watch that full press conference below:

Gov. Tom Wolf, Pa. Secretary of Agriculture give update on food security efforts

UPDATE 3:00 p.m.: “Pennsylvanians will not go hungry.”

A promise from Governor Tom Wolf today after questions regarding the food supply chain and concerns that not only will there be enough food, but also that the staff for these key industries remain healthy.

Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture said he feels confident about safety measures put into place by Wolf last week which focuses on making sure workers don't get sick from COVID-19. Measures like mandatory PPE, social distancing and regular shift temperature checks.

“Providing priority Covid-19 testing for food supply chain employees working in regional hot spots. including but not limited to those working in processing and manufacturing, food warehouses, grocery stores and farm labor,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding.

Wolf says it's critical that these organizations stay in business for economic purposes but also to ensure we have enough food in our State. He said there are daily meetings to address who may need staff, volunteers or money.

"To the point of actually having a county by county breakdown of where there might be problems and we communicate every day with counties to make sure there are not problems,” Wolf said.

Pa. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine gives daily update

UPDATE 1:00 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the state has been working to consolidate data. Today’s data includes numbers from automatic death reporting system from the last 10 days, hence the jump in deaths.

“But it’s important to remember that social distancing and wearing a mask are still going to be important when we move from red to yellow,” Levine said.

Levine emphasized that red to yellow doesn’t mean we can go to back to normal and that guidelines still apply.

You can watch her full update below:

Wednesday’s numbers from PA Department of Health

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health there are 1,102 additional positive cases of coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number to 44,366 cases. Officials said there is an increase of 479 deaths as a result of their continued work to reconcile data from various sources. These deaths have occurred over the last two weeks. There are now 2,195 deaths in the state.

Of the total cases, 2,674 of them are in our area. Here is a breakdown by local counties:

  • Allegheny Co.: 1,273 cases, 86 deaths
  • Butler Co.: 175 cases, 6 deaths
  • Beaver Co.: 392 cases, 65 deaths
  • Washington Co.: 113 cases, 2 deaths
  • Greene Co.: 26 cases
  • Fayette Co.: 80 cases, 4 deaths
  • Westmoreland Co.: 386 cases, 30 deaths (According to the Westmoreland County Coroner)
  • Indiana Co.: 63 cases, 4 deaths
  • Clarion Co.: 23 cases, 1 death
  • Venango Co.: 7 cases
  • Forest Co.: 7 cases
  • Lawrence Co.: 64 cases, 6 deaths
  • Mercer Co.: 65 cases, 1 death

There are 170,518 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Nearly 1% are aged 0-4;
  • Nearly 1% are aged 5-12;
  • 1% are aged 13-18;
  • Nearly 6% are aged 19-24;
  • 38% are aged 25-49;
  • 27% are aged 50-64; and
  • 26% are aged 65 or older.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 7,698 resident cases of COVID-19, and 975 cases among employees, for a total of 8,673 at 461 distinct facilities in 42 counties. Out of our total deaths, 1,428 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here.

Armstrong County wants to move into northwest region for state’s re-opening process

UPDATE 11:48 a.m.: Commissioners have unveiled their plan to Governor Wolf that would move them out of the southwest region of the state and into the northwest.

“Our concern is that Armstrong County could have a slower re-opening because of the regional approach, rather than responding to the data and resources available,” said Commissioner Pat Fabian. “At the present, our community hospital and regional hospitals have excess of hospital capacity for beds, ventilators, and testing to care for citizens should the need arise.”

The request was sent to the governor on Tuesday.

Armstrong County has had 22 new cases in the last 14 days and with a case rate of 33 per 100,000 population, that means they meet the state’s criteria of 50 cases per 100,000 -- according to a news release.

Mayor Peduto calls for online SNAP purchasing options

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary in an effort to expand affordable food purchasing options, including delivery and online ordering, for vulnerable populations.

This letter follow’s calls by U.S. Senator Bob Casey and others to expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

COVID-19 in Allegheny County: Wednesday update

UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: An additional 38 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 1,273, according to the Allegheny County Health Department.

Of the 1,273 cases, 1,229 have been confirmed and 44 are probable.

The Health Department said there have been 86 deaths, one less than was reported Tuesday because of data that had been incorrectly entered into the reporting system. Seventy-six of the deaths were people who tested positive for COVID-19 and 10 were probable cases. All deaths have been people between the ages of 42 and 103.

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There are 228 people who have been or are currently being hospitalized.

Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 00-04 – 4 (less than 1%)
  • 05-12 – 4 (less than 1%)
  • 13-18 – 10 (1%)
  • 19-24 – 88 (7%)
  • 25-49 – 439 (34%)
  • 50-64 – 360 (28%)
  • 65 + – 368 (29%)

Of the cases in Allegheny County, 679 are female and 594 are male.

Golf courses at North, South Park reopening Friday

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: The daily hours of operation will be from 6 a.m. to dusk. These are the changes that are being made to stay in compliance with state orders:

  • Golf cart usage will be limited to one person per cart.
  • All practice greens and driving ranges will be closed.
  • Restrooms will be open, but shower facilities will be closed.
  • Sand trap rakes and ball washers have been removed.
  • Green cups will be blocked, so players will play to the pin.

Golfers are also asked:

  • Stay at home if you are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms, including chills, fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
  • Wear a face covering in and around clubhouses and maintain physical distancing.
  • Use a debit card or credit card instead of cash if possible.
  • Walk the course if you are able.
  • Only one person per golf cart is allowed.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet from all players and staff on the course.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a sleeve or elbow.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, especially after handling money/paying for golf fees and using the restroom.
  • Carry hand sanitizer in your golf bag and use it often.
  • Leave flagsticks in when you putt.
  • Do not pick up other players’ golf balls.
  • Do not shake hands or give high-fives.
  • When your round is over, go home.
  • Do not gather in the parking lot before or after your round.

To-go cocktails a possibility in Pa.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: Pennsylvania restaurants, struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic, would be able to serve to-go cocktails under a new bill.

The legislation, passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday, would allow restaurants and stores with r-licenses who have lost 25% or more of their business during the COVID-19 outbreak, to sell the to-go cocktails.

Click here to read more about this bill and what the next steps are.

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Wednesday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will look at the state county-by-county as reopening plans move forward, backing off an initial plan to reopen the state by region.

“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 during a call Tuesday.

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Pennsylvania 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,” Levine said.

As of Tuesday, Pennsylvania had 43,264 cases of the coronavirus and 1,716 deaths. There have been 165,824 people who tested negative for the virus.