TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 17

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.


Youth minister in Pittsburgh Catholic diocese tests positive for COVID-19

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: A youth minister at Saint Bonaventure Parish in Glenshaw has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a release from the Pittsburgh Catholic diocese.

Officials said the minister has not been involved in any in-person gatherings since March 15 and received their positive result on Thursday.

Below is the full release from the diocese:

"A Youth Minister at Saint Bonaventure Parish in Glenshaw, PA has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The Youth Minister received the positive result on April 16, 2020, and in compliance with doctor recommendations and government health guidelines, is quarantined at home.

"The parish has been following all local, state, and federal directives including stay at home orders and social distancing, and as such, the Youth Minister has not been involved in any in-person group gatherings since March 15, 2020.

"Out of an abundance of caution, due to the fact the Youth Minister visited the parish center to get some work for home, the building is closed for extra cleaning until Monday, April 20, 2020.

“‘We continue to pray for an end to the virus, and for all of those directly impacted,’ Bishop David Zubik said.”


Mail-in ballot applications to be sent to all voters in Allegheny County

Update 3:20 p.m.: The Division of Elections announced that mail-in ballot applications will be sent to all registered voters in Allegheny County for the June 2 primary election.

The letter will include the application and a postage-paid, addressed envelope to return the application to the elections office. Voters can also apply online for the ballot where people can also sign up for email updates on the status of their application.

Allegheny County has 1,323 polling places which require 6,615 poll workers to run. According to a news release, the majority of poll workers are seniors who have been canceling or are expressing health concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Fifth Port Authority employee tests positive

Update 3:15 p.m.: A fifth Port Authority employee has tested positive for coronavirus. The employee works in the maintenance garage in West Mifflin. The individual last worked on Friday, April 10, and has been in quarantine since then.

A crew has been put together to deep clean the garage and employee work areas. Another employee may have come into close contact with the individual and they have been ordered to stay home.


Gov. Wolf, Lt. Gov. Fetterman create COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity

Update 3:00 p.m.: Gov. Wolf and Lt. Gov. Fetterman announced the creation of the COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity.

The task force will help identify how the coronavirus is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations, according to a news release. The group will create recommendations for the governor to address short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic in those specific communities.


Department of Agriculture with new rules for community gardens

Update 2:51 p.m.: With spring and the growing season just about here, the Department of Agriculture issued new guidance for volunteers and employees at community gardens.

  • Garden leadership should notify all members of new garden protocols;
  • Post signage restricting access to only those who are healthy to protect the well-being of all volunteers and employees;
  • If there is a shared tools library for gardeners, leadership should establish a protocol for sanitizing tools after each person’s use with EPA-registered disinfectants;
  • Gardeners should wear a cloth face mask and frequently wash or sanitize hands;
  • Gardeners should practice social distancing with at least six feet of separation at the garden site and avoid gatherings of people to avoid risk of exposure during off hours;
  • High contact surfaces (locks, gates, tools, etc.) should be disinfected.

Pittsburgh firefighter who tested positive has recovered

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: A Pittsburgh firefighter who tested positive for coronavirus on April has recovered and is now back at work.

According to city officials, seven other firefighters were in contact with the individual and were ordered to self-quarantine. None of them developed symptoms.

Over the past week, two additional Pittsburgh police officers have tested positive for COVID-19, including a recruit. There have been six total positive tests within the department.


Gov. Wolf update on coronavirus relief

Update 2:10 p.m.: Gov. Tom Wolf asked people in the state to continue their efforts to fight COVID-19.

“Even amidst this despair, I have hope,” Gov. Wolf said.

Gov. Wolf said he is working to create a plan to reopen and rebuild the state’s economy. When the state reopens, first the approach will be data driven to build a regional approach.

Secondly, guidance will be put out for businesses and health care facilities.

Third, reopening will require supplies of PPE that are adequate across the state and enough tests available.

Fourth, Gov. Wolf said the state will need plans for swift containment of any new outbreaks or clusters that pop.

Fifth, there will need to be protections for vulnerable populations, such as people in prisons or care facilities.

Sixth, there will be continued limitations on large gatherings in the state.

Gov. Wolf has not given a timetable, however, of when the state will be reopening.


Pittsburgh-based company’s disinfectants helping to fight COVID-19

UPDATE 12:40 p.m.: A Pittsburgh-based company is working to keep the public safe during the coronavirus pandemic by fighting the invisible enemy.

Bactronix Corp. in Moon Township can’t keep its disinfecting products on the shelf. They are being sold by the case.

The three partners who started the company a decade ago noticed back then that new types of bacteria and viruses were not being eliminated with the common types of chemicals available, so they perfected a special EPA-approved formula.

Bactronix’s professional treatments and disinfectant cleaners are now being used in area schools, airlines, homes and ambulances.


All 4 residents of McKees Rocks community home diagnosed with coronavirus

UPDATE 12:25 p.m.: The first resident of a Citizen Care community integrated home was diagnosed on April 7.

The McKees Rocks home supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

By Friday, the three other residents had also tested positive. A contractor has also tested positive.

The is now closed as it is being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.


COVID-19 Cases In Pennsylvania: Friday Update

UPDATE 12:10 p.m.: There are 1,706 additional positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 29,441, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Of the total number of cases, 1,919 are in western Pennsylvania.

In addition to the new cases, 49 more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 756.

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Here is a breakdown of cases in western Pennsylvania counties:

  • Allegheny Co.: 947 cases, 43 deaths
  • Butler Co.: 157 cases, 5 deaths
  • Beaver Co.: 178 cases, 24 deaths (According to the Beaver Co. coroner)
  • Washington Co.: 75 cases, 1 death
  • Greene Co.: 24 cases
  • Fayette Co.: 66 cases, 3 deaths
  • Westmoreland Co.: 249 cases, 19 deaths (According to the Westmoreland Co. coroner)
  • Indiana Co.: 45 cases, 3 deaths
  • Armstrong Co.: 32 cases, 2 deaths
  • Clarion Co.: 18 cases
  • Venango Co.: 6 cases
  • Forest Co.: 7 cases
  • Lawrence Co.: 59 cases, 5 deaths
  • Mercer Co.: 56 cases, 1 death

There are 117,932 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:

  • Nearly 1% are aged 0-4
  • Nearly 1% are aged 5-12
  • 1% are aged 13-18
  • 6% are aged 19-24
  • Nearly 40% are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 29% are aged 50-64
  • 23% are aged 65 or older

“In nursing and personal care homes, there are 3,716 resident cases of COVID-19, and 420 cases among employees, for a total of 4,136 at 321 distinct facilities in 35 counties. Out of our total deaths, 398 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities,” a news release said.


Some residents at Kane Community Living Centers are recovering from the virus

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: Leaders of the Kane Community Living Centers in Allegheny County updated the media on their efforts to stop the spread of the virus at the four facilities they operate.

“We have been very proactive,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mario Fatigati. “It’s a daunting task to stay ahead of this process. We’ve had patients at Glen Hazel recover from this virus, so with good care, there can be recovery.”

Anytime a staff member is caring for any resident that’s positive, or being tested for the coronavirus, they are wearing full PPE, he said.

“We provide good day-to-day care for our residents,” Dr. Fatigati said. “We’ve also done a pretty good job communicating with our local hospitals to let them know what’s going on.”


COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County: Friday update

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.: There are 22 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 947, the Allegheny County Health Department announced.

Officials said 176 people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and 5 more deaths have been reported, bringing the total number of deaths to 43.

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COVID-19 testing at Indiana Regional Medical Center

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Indiana Regional Medical Center announced a collaboration to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing will be done at IRMC by Dr. Narayanaswamy Bharathan, chair of the Department of Biology at IUP.

Using equipment from Bharathan’s IUP laboratory, the testing will allow same-day results, according to a news release.


Special Olympics Pennsylvania cancels 2020 Summer Games

UPDATE 6:45 a.m.: Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s 2020 Summer Games have been cancelled because of the coronavirus.

The games were scheduled to take place June 11-13 in State College.

SOPA is working to plan a virtual summer games.

In addition to cancelling the games, SOPA is indefinitely suspending all in-person events and activities through May 31.

‼️ IMPORTANT UPDATE: PLEASE READ ‼️ Today Special Olympics Pennsylvania and Penn State University announced that the...

Posted by Special Olympics Pennsylvania on Thursday, April 16, 2020

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Friday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf made it clear Thursday he doesn’t want to rush the process of reopening the state’s economy.

As of Thursday, Pennsylvania had 27,735 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 1,855 of which were in western Pennsylvania, and 707 deaths statewide. State health officials said 113,735 people had tested negative for the virus.

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“I think we ought to stay the course right now. This is hard, it is devastating the economy, no question. But letting this virus overwhelm the healthcare system and the ability of Pennsylvania to resist it would be even worse for the economy,” Wolf said.

Wolf’s comments on reopening the state’s economy came on the same day President Donald Trump gave governors a road map for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out a phased approach to restoring normal activity.

>>STORY: Gov. Wolf not rushing to reopen Pa. economy as President Trump lays out plan

The multi-phased plan introduced by Trump is called “Opening Up America Again.”

Trump is suggesting states have a sustained decrease in cases over a 14-day period before reopening. He also wants people to wear a face mask and continue social distancing.

>>READ PRESIDENT TRUMP’S PLAN: “Opening Up American Again”