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TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates May 18

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.

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Pennsylvania DPH updates number of COVID-19 deaths in Armstrong County

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: The Armstrong County Coroner posted on Facebook claiming the total number of deaths in the county had been inflated by the Department of Health.

According to the post, the state had been reporting six COVID-19 deaths when the coroner said the number should have been two.

“Where and how they came up with this number is unknown to me. The correct number for Armstrong County is two,” the post said. “As to their motives behind inflating the numbers, I haven’t a clue. However, I am positive that other counties are in the same position.”

Over the past two decades, serving both as Deputy Coroner and Coroner, I, as well as the staff of my office have always...

Posted by Armstrong County Coroner's Office on Monday, May 18, 2020

CDC to assist Pennsylvania with COVID-19 response

UPDATE 7:35 p.m.: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent three teams to Pennsylvania to help assist with the state’s coronavirus response.

It’s unclear exactly where the teams are working, but two are working with long-term care facilities and one is assisting food facility outbreaks.

“We are so pleased to have this level of collaboration and assistance from the CDC to help our teams working in the field in Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania Secretary of health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for congregate settings, including large workplaces, food industries and long-term care facilities. These teams are assisting us in our response in these hardest-hit areas as we work to protect the public health and safety of Pennsylvanians.”

Levine said the teams will be here for two weeks to help assess the situation, teach infection control practices and offer training on PPE and outbreak response.

Diocese of Greensburg to allow mass to begin on June 1

UPDATE 4:42 p.m.: The Diocese of Greensburg will allow parishes to hold mass starting June 1.

Parishioners will be required to wear masks and remain six feet apart. Additionally, the Sign of Peace will no longer include a handshake and holy water and baptismal fonts will be drained.

Some other changes:

• Those who feel vulnerable because of their age or health are encouraged to stay home, while those who are sick should not attend public Masses. Streaming Masses will continue.

• People will be seated at least in every other pew using social distancing guidelines.

• All communicants will be encouraged to receive the Sacred Host in the hand.

• The chalice of the Precious Blood will not be offered to the congregation.

• The Sign of Peace will no longer include a handshake, instead we will turn to the person next to us and offer a reverential bow.

• Musicians are being asked to limit music, and choirs are not permitted.

• At the discretion of the pastor, Masses are permitted in social halls, other large spaces and outdoors including parking lots.

• Confirmations and First Communions can recommence in July and should be divided into smaller groups if necessary. Receptions into the Church for RCIA can recommence immediately at the pastor’s discretion. Special consideration will be given to families who would like to delay sacramental celebrations until a later date.

Update from PA Secretary of Health

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: Dr. Rachel Levine, the Secretary of Health, said 4,479 positive cases are in health care workers. Over 13,000 cases are in over 500 nursing and personal care facilities around the state. 159 facilities in the food industry are reporting cases.

She said some counties will start seeing some changes in the numbers of deaths reported from coronavirus as the CDC has updated their guidelines. For example, if a resident of a nursing home dies in a county that is not the county of their residence, it will get reported in two different areas:

  • County of legal residence
  • Count of cases attributed to the facility

Levine said the plan for long term testing of nursing homes will be rolled out this week. She said not every facility will be tested and it depends on the numbers of cases in a facility.

In addition to the National Guard strike teams to help nursing homes, the CDC has sent teams to help facilities in the state, Levine said. She said the state is seeing progress in long term care facilities because of the work of the various agencies and teams.

COVID-19 and Mental Health

Feeling stressed or anxious about COVID-19? Take care of your mental health: 🌐 get information from reliable sources 🚫 take breaks from news + social media 🌸 focus on things that bring you joy 💬 ask for help if you need it

Posted by Pennsylvania Department of Health on Sunday, May 17, 2020

Gov. Wolf, head of PA National Guard update nursing home response

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Gov. Wolf, the head of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the head of the Pennsylvania National Guard held a news conference to discuss the Guard’s role in helping nursing homes deal with COVID-19.

The National Guard has been supporting mass testing sites and has assisted 10 nursing homes throughout the state, including Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County.

“Teams were built to include physician assistants, nurses, medics and general purpose forces to provide staffing assistance as well as any training on use of PPE, don and doff procedures, and decontamination measures as needed,” said Colonel Frank Montgomery, director of Military Support for the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Montgomery said the agency is still supporting five facilities.

Pittsburgh to begin parking meter enforcement

UPDATE 12:37 p.m.: Parking meter enforcement will start back up on Wednesday, according to city officials.

With businesses resuming under Gov. Wolf’s yellow phase, parking meter enforcement downtown will allow for more customers for shops and restaurants, officials said. Since the city shut down in mid-March, parking tickets were not being issued leading to complaints from businesses of vehicles staying parked all day.

Temporarily, the first 30 minutes of parking will be free.

Warnings were being issued starting Monday downtown. Parking garages will also stay open for workers looking for longer-term parking.

Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 update for Monday

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Pennsylvania has more than 63,056 positive cases of coronavirus, according to the Department of Health. There are 822 additional positive cases.

The total number of people who have died of COVID-19 across the state to 4,505. To date, 277,553 tests have come back negative.

Locally there are 3,341 cases in western Pennsylvania, and 294 deaths. Here is the break down by county:

  • Allegheny Co.: 1,603 cases, 143 deaths
  • Armstrong Co.: 58 cases, 5 deaths
  • Beaver Co.: 517 cases, 83 deaths
  • Butler Co.: 203 cases, 6 deaths
  • Clarion Co.: 24 cases, 1 death
  • Fayette Co.: 89 cases, 4 deaths
  • Forest Co.: 7 cases, 0 deaths
  • Greene Co.: 27 cases, 1 death
  • Indiana Co.: 84 cases, 6 deaths
  • Lawrence Co.: 72 cases, 7 deaths
  • Mercer Co.: 91 cases, 2 death
  • Venango Co.: 8 cases, 0 deaths
  • Washington Co.: 131 cases, 4 deaths
  • Westmoreland Co.: 427 cases, 32 deaths

38 new COVID-19 cases reported in Allegheny Co., 14 of them in long-term care facilities

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: The Allegheny County Health Department reported since March 14, there are now 1,641 cases as of Monday. That’s an increase of 38 coronavirus cases over Sunday. This breaks down to 1,553 positive confirmed cases and 88 probable cases.

Of the newly reported cases, 14 are associated with long-term care facilities. Testing dates range from May 12 to May 15.

Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 6 (less than 1%)
  • 5-12 years: 5 (less than 1%)
  • 13-18 years: 17 (1%)
  • 19-24 years: 105 (7%)
  • 25-49 years: 543 (34%)
  • 50-64 years: 389 (28%)
  • 65+ years: 395 (31%)

There are 294 past or present hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

There have been no additional deaths, bringing the total number coronavirus deaths to 143. Of reported deaths, 132 are confirmed or had a positive test and 11 are probable.

Gov. Wolf: Federal funding available for COVID-19 testing, treatment for uninsured patients

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that providers of COVID-19 testing and treatment services will be reimbursed for providing services to uninsured patients.

As part of the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act and CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will reimburse to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19 and treating uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

“All Pennsylvanians should have access to necessary testing for COVID-19 and this federal funding will help eliminate any financial burden on those both providing and receiving tests,” Gov. Wolf said.

The Department of Human Services is reminding uninsured Pennsylvanians that health coverage is available through through the state’s Medicaid program, known as Medical Assistance (MA), or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

New summer camp COVID-19 guidelines released

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: For 20 million kids across the country, including kids in the Pittsburgh area, summer camp plans are up in the air.

Each summer camp will be different, and decisions will be made on a local basis because each state is open in various stages.

The American Camp Association Monday released their operation guidelines for this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials with the American Camp Association said most day camps will operate, with some changes that include:

  • Shortened, smaller in-person sessions.
  • Screening campers and counselors for symptoms.
  • Frequent handwashing, and disinfecting of surfaces.
  • Campers and counselors wearing masks.

Officials with the American Camp Association said safety of the campers and counselors is the top priority.

PA Health Department to release information on COVID-19 cases in nursing homes, long-term care facilities

UPDATE 7:00 a.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health will start releasing information Monday on COVID-19 cases at specific nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state.

Until now, the Health Department has only released that information at the county level.

The Pennsylvania National Guard has been at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County since May 11. That center has had more than 70 COVID-19 deaths, which is the most in the state.

New management was brought in to temporarily Run the center, and Congressman Conor Lamb has called for a federal investigation into the facility.

Pittsburgh to begin issuing parking tickets again Monday

UPDATE 6:30 a.m.: Pittsburgh police will start handing out parking tickets again beginning Monday.

Restrictions were relaxed back in March because of the stay-at-home orders.

Parking meters enforcement handled by the Pittsburgh Parking Authority and that is still suspended.

Police say that does not meal illegal parking will be tolerated.

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Monday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania have passed 62,000.

As of Sunday, there was a total of 62,234 COVID-19 cases and 4,418 deaths statewide, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There have been 270,670 people who tested negative for the virus.

Of the state’s 62,234 COVID-19 cases, 3,341 have been in western Pennsylvania.