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 5:04 p.m.: People out and about Friday in Beaver County said they are glad the area is moving into the yellow phase.
Many restaurants were open offering takeout or delivery options. Shops were not opening up yet.
“I feel like we’ve been penalized because of the nursing home. Other than that, our numbers are good,” Stephanie Sevy said.
She owns a small shop on the main drag in Beaver, and she’s prepping to reopen next Friday.
“It’s not a Democrat thing to do it. It’s not a Republican thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for Beaver County. Common sense was not applied with the data, so we need a collaboration going forward,” state Rep. Josh Kail said.
Many people said they will be safe and maintain their distance when things open back up.
UPDATE 4:33 p.m.: Since the start of City food distributions March 20 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Parks and Recreation and its partners have distributed approximately 33,379 meals to children and seniors.
In the past week the City and partners including Parkhurst Dining, the Salvation Army, Safe A Life Today and Rivers Casino distributed a total of 4,884 meals.
That included 2,108 meals to seniors and 2,776 meals to children.
UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health said coronavirus has likely peaked in our state.
The announcement was tweeted from the department’s official account around 3:45 p.m. on Friday, shortly after Gov. Wolf announced another set of counties moving to the yellow phase.
Pa. Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said the state has seen a decline in cases for the past 14 days.
“That’s good news for PA as we continue to move to a carefully-coordinated opening,” she said.
UPDATE 2:01 p.m.: Gov. Wolf confirmed that Beaver County will join 11 other counties in transitioning to the yellow phase.
With these additional 12 counties, there will be a total of 49 counties in the yellow phase. The remaining 18 counties are in the red phase.
Red phase stay-at-home orders remain in effect until June 4 but that does not mean that other counties will not move to the yellow phase in advance of that date.
According to Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of Health for Pennsylvania, there are 12,937 positive cases among residents of 550 long term care facilities, including nursing homes and personal care homes. Across the state, the rate of infection has been declining. Dr. Levine said that is good news as the state moves toward a phase reopening. She said there are still pockets of outbreaks that are concerning.
In the counties that have moved from red to yellow, contact trace investigations and other measures are being successful, according to Levine. She said the Department of Health will continue to monitor COVID-19 and keep tabs to see if it makes a comeback.
When asked about revoking licenses for hair salons that open up before the area moves into the green phase, Gov. Wolf said the various state agencies and insurance companies that govern specific things like hair salons would be in charge of a situation like that. He said it is concerning that neighboring states New Jersey and Delaware are moving ahead with opening up their beaches. He said people will be putting others at risk by going to the shore, but it is a personal decision.
He said he is hopeful that the outbreak at Brighton Rehab is being contained. Dr. Levine said looking at all of their available data, Beaver County has had consistently decreasing statistics in terms of the coronavirus outbreak. Wolf said the Beaver County decision was not a political decision and was based on the data available to the state.
Wolf said he has had discussions with NASCAR about events surrounding the annual race at Pocono. He said the state is not ready to open up for large events like the race scheduled for the end of June.
Dr. Levine said there is no criteria that all counties in the state have to be in the yellow before any county can move into the green phase. She said the state will start looking at the specific criteria that will be needed for a county to move into the green phase.
UPDATE 12:44 p.m.: Everyone on Pittsburgh Airport property will now be required to wear a face mask.
The first phase of key changes at the airport in the coming weeks include:
- Facial Coverings – All employees, passengers and visitors are required (per CDC age and medical condition guidelines) to wear face coverings on all public airport property effective Monday, May 18.
- Social Distancing – Signage and floor markings throughout the terminal will give guidance on six-foot distancing in common areas.
- Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting –
- Frequent deep cleaning practices continue in all public spaces and restrooms, and additional hand sanitizing stations have been added.
- PIT is pioneering the use of UV light in airport public areas such as floors, moving walkways, elevators and escalator rails to reduce contaminants and provide another layer of sanitation.
- Protective Shields – Shields and barriers are being installed in high-traffic areas, including public counters, checkpoints and baggage claim.
- Reconfigured Seating – Furniture in gate areas, food court and baggage claim are being removed or repositioned to allow for social distancing.
- Touchless Transactions – PIT is evaluating touchless technology for concessions and parking transactions.
UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: Another 2.6 million people across western Pennsylvania began to emerge from lockdown Friday as Gov. Tom Wolf prepared to announce that 12 more counties soon would join them in a partial easing of pandemic restrictions.
Wolf planned to announce that Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne and York will be the next batch of counties moving to the “yellow” phase of his reopening plan, effective May 22, The Associated Press has learned.
They’ll join residents of 13 lightly impacted counties — including the cities of Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Altoona — where Wolf lifted his stay-at-home orders on Friday and gave permission for retailers and other types of businesses to reopen. Twenty-four counties across northern Pennsylvania were the first to see a partial reopening last week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Pennsylvania has more than 60,622 positive cases of coronavirus, according to the Department of Health. There are 938 additional positive cases. To date, 259,210 tests have come back negative.
The total number of people who have died of COVID-19 across the state is 4,342.
Locally there are 3,300 cases in western Pennsylvania, and 292 deaths. Here is the break down by county:
- Allegheny Co.: 1,582 cases, 141 deaths
- Armstrong Co.: 57 cases, 5 deaths
- Beaver Co.: 516 cases, 83 deaths
- Butler Co.: 202 cases, 6 deaths
- Clarion Co.: 24 cases, 1 death
- Fayette Co.: 87 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.: 83 cases, 2 death
- Venango Co.: 7 cases, 0 deaths
- Washington Co.: 129 cases, 4 deaths
- Westmoreland Co.: 423 cases, 32 deaths
PennDOT officials said a number of driver and photo license centers are now open in yellow counties.
As PennDOT reopens driver license and photo license centers, services will be in high demand, and customers should expect longer than normal waits.
UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: The Allegheny County Health Department reported since March 14, there are now 1,582 cases as of Friday. That’s an increase of 31 coronavirus cases over Thursday.
There are 290 past or present hospitalizations related to COVID-19.
There have been 2 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 141.
UPDATE 10:07 a.m.: Pittsburgh’s Fourth of July fireworks and other events have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the city announced Friday.
Officials said events that cannot comply safely with social distancing guidelines and will not be allowed include the following:
- July 4 fireworks
- City-sponsored concerts
- 5Ks, the Great Race and other races (though they can be held virtually)
- Summer Camps
- Citiparks summer youth baseball
- Summer Line Dancing
- Pistons in the Park
“Pittsburgh residents have done a great job during these trying times staying safe and looking out for each other. The data shows the battle against this pandemic is far from over, however, and we must keep social distancing and other measures in place to win this fight, even when we’re enjoying the outdoors,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.
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Activities that will be allowed because they can comply safely with social distancing guidelines include the following:
- Drive-in movies (by the Special Events office)
- Farmers Markets
- Pickup of bulk trash
- Road closures in City parks (more information below)
- Tennis courts (singles matches encouraged)
- Pickle ball courts (singles matches encouraged)
- Skate parks
- Fields (but not for organized group sports)
- Frisbee Golf
- Lawn Bowling
- Expanded summer food program (likely to begin June 15)
Playgrounds, park shelters and spray parks remain closed until further notice. Swimming pools (including the Oliver Bath House) will be closed.
Final decisions have not been made on the following activities and facilities:
- Recreation centers
- Senior Healthy Active Living centers
- Block party permits
- Mellon Tennis Bubble
- Art Cart
- Water fountains and water features
- Park restrooms
- Organized group sports including deck hockey, soccer, baseball and basketball (CDC)
Decisions on closures and allowed activities may be revisited as pandemic circumstances and federal and state guidelines change, official said.
“The City Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) has established a task force to study methods of using some streets and sidewalks to allow for safe recreation and business activity. Its recommendations will be issued soon. In the meantime, plans are underway to close some streets in City parks to vehicular traffic,” a news release said.
No timetables are yet set, but plans are for the following closures:
- Sheraden Park: Adon Street
- West End Park: West End Park Drive at Weaver and Herschel
- Highland Park: Reservoir Drive; Farmhouse Drive at Jackson Street/Connecting Road/Heberton/Grafton (These will be partial closures to allow for Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority access to facilities.)
UPDATE 10 a.m.: Pools and spray parks in Allegheny County will be closed this summer because of the coronavirus and restrictions on mass gatherings, the Allegheny County Parks Department announced Friday.
Officials said Boyce Park Wave Pool, Deer Lakes Spray Park, North Park Swimming Pool, Round Hill Spray Park, Settlers Cabin Park Wave Pool and South Park Wave Pool will be closed.
Physically distanced programming with limited participants will be offered by County Parks starting May 18. The programs will include youth mountain biking, outdoor yoga, bike riding lessons, FIT4MOM exercise groups, nature programs. CLICK HERE for a full list.
UPDATE 9:00 a.m.: As Allegheny County moves to the yellow phase of Governor Wolf’s reopening plan, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has extended the closure of all park facilities and restrooms operated by the Parks Conservancy and postponed all public programming and special events until further notice.
“The health and safety of our community, employees, and volunteers remains our top priority as we continue combating COVID-19,” said Catherine Qureshi, acting chief operating officer, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “As the stay-at-home order for our community is lifted, aggressive mitigation remains. It is vital that park visitors continue to follow recommended safety guidelines when visiting public spaces.”
The Parks Conservancy facility closures include the Frick Environmental Center, Parks Conservancy South Side offices, Schenley Plaza maintenance building, Schenley Park Café and Visitor Center, and the horticultural and forestry facility.
UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Most of southwestern Pennsylvania moves into the “yellow” phase of the state’s reopening plan Friday, meaning stay-at-home orders are lifted, gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed and some business can reopen.
Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties were announced last Friday as being part of today’s second wave of reopening. Clarion, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer and Venango counties were part of the first round of partial reopenings on May 8.
Meanwhile, Beaver County is the only southwestern county that remains in the “red” phase. A nursing home there, Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center, has been hit hard by COVID-19 and the Pennsylvania National Guard stepped in.
However, multiple sources told Channel 11 News Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will announce today that Beaver County will be allowed to move into the “yellow” phase May 22.
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As of Thursday, Pennsylvania had 59,636 cases of COVID-19 and 4,218 deaths statewide, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There have been 251,559 people who tested negative for the virus.
Of the 59,636 cases in Pennsylvania, there were 3,255 cases in western Pennsylvania as of Thursday. Western Pennsylvania has seen 288 of the state’s deaths.
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