TIMELINE: 531 new COVID-19 cases bring Pa. total to 2,218

Second death at Butler Memorial Hospital as Pa. COVID-19 cases surge past 2,000

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania has more than 2,200 cases of the novel coronavirus and 22 people have died. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.

Have questions about the spread of the coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m.: There have been two COVID-19-related deaths at Butler Memorial Hospital. And for the residents of Butler County there is now a stay-at-home order that started just hours ago.

Kevin Boozel, a Butler County Commissioner, told Channel 11 residents were already supposed to be following these guidelines. The difference now is the state is going to enforce it.

“The state police would have the authority to question where you’re heading and why you’re heading there,” said Boozel.

Government officials had already taken steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus, even shutting down local parks.

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.: Interim Ambridge Police Chief Mark Romutis is in lockdown, away from his family after testing positive for COVID-19.

He said the minute he started feeling bad he self-quarantined, got tested and wasn’t around any of the officers at the police station.

At 64-years-old with no underlying medical conditions, he said this just feels like a bad case of the flu.

“It’s a matter of staying in bed, taking Ibuprofen and letting it run its course,” said Romutis.

Romutis has 10 more days of quarantine. He told Channel 11 the first two days were bad but after that he felt fine.

UPDATE 7:35 p.m.: Giant Eagle has announced that employees at multiple locations have tested positive for coronavirus.

The stores where employees have test positive are Giant Eagle locations in New Kensington, North Huntingdon, Wexford (McCandless) and Altoona, as well as a GetGo on Center Road in Brunswick, Ohio.

According to the company, all of these locations have been sanitized and are open.

“In these instances, our priorities will be to ensure that those affected are notified and cared for, that the company exceeds industry requirements in its efforts to thoroughly sanitize all potentially affected work areas, and that all activities are done in accordance with guidance from relevant authorities including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and County Health Departments,” a statement on the company website said.

Giant Eagle said there are three employees with positive tests, but one of them had been to multiple locations, which is why there are a total of five locations listed.

UPDATE 5:23 p.m.: The City of Pittsburgh has announced that garbage collection will continue Saturday so anything that’s been left at the curb this week can be picked up.

A release from the mayor’s office indicated this is at least in part related to the wildcat strike on Wednesday.

Residents are asked to make sure their trash is properly bagged and fully tied to help protect the collectors.

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: A staff member at the Allegheny County Jail has tested positive for coronavirus.

According to Warden Orlando Harper, the staff member did not provide direct care to inmates and has not been at work since the afternoon of Thursday, March 19.

At this time, Harper said, there are no cases among direct-contact employees or inmates. Additionally, everyone in the facility is being strictly monitored for symptoms.

Harper said everyone who could have been exposed to this employee has been contacted with instructions for self-quarantine.

UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: The University of Pittsburgh has announced that summer courses will be delivered remotely.

The decision was announced in a statement from Provost Ann Cudd.

In her statement, Cudd said there’s the possibility that a few clinical or field experiences may be possible later in the summer.

“Faculty members and students have asked me about our summer session plans. We have made the decision to deliver summer courses remotely, with the possibility of a few exceptions for clinical or field experiences that may become possible later in the summer. While we would certainly have liked to return to in-person classes, it is not safe or feasible given the circumstances and time frames we face.”

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly has announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Kelly said he was tested at Butler Memorial Hospital earlier and got the results today.

According to a Facebook post, Kelly’s symptoms are mild and he intends to continue working from home until he recovers.

When I started experiencing mild flu-like symptoms earlier this week, I consulted my primary care physician. My doctor...

Posted by Representative Mike Kelly on Friday, March 27, 2020

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: The Mon Health System is expanding its telehealth and offering virtual clinic visits at no cost to patients.

There’s also been changes to the hospital’s visitor’s policy.

UPDATE 2 p.m.: Butler and Westmoreland counties have issued a Stay at Home order due to the coronavirus outbreak.

That starts at 8 p.m. tonight and will last until April 6.

Residents are asked to stay at home unless they need to leave to get food, work at a life-sustaining job or get medical care.

Allegheny County is the only other local one currently under a similar advisory.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: PPG will donate 80,000 masks to hospitals in several cities, including Pittsburgh.

Both UPMC and Allegheny Health Network hospitals in our area recently received 20,000 N95 masks. An additional 50,000 surgical masks and 10,000 N95 masks will be given to:

  • UPMC and Allegheny Health Network hospitals in Pittsburgh;
  • New York area hospitals;
  • Cleveland, Ohio, area hospitals;
  • Henry Ford Health System in Dearborn, Mich., and Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.;
  • Huntsville Hospital and Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville, Ala.

PPG is planning to use its global supply chain to keep supporting local hospitals, according to a release.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: State Rep. Pam Snyder plans to introduce legislation to provide immediate financial assistance to volunteer fire and emergency management service companies.

Snyder, who serves Fayette, Greene and Washington counties, said her bill would establish the creation of a one-time grant program that would provide automatic crisis grants to each fire and EMS company.

“These grants would be funded by a one-time transfer of $30 million from the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund,” a news release said.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: Two residents of the Kane Community Living Centers’ Glen Hazel facility have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.

On Wednesday, it was announced that a staff member at the same facility tested positive.

Both residents were tested because they had unexplained fevers and are still at the facility in isolation.

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2 residents at Kane Community Care Center test positive for coronavirus

Kane said the following Friday in a news release:

“Kane has been proactive in assessing patients and testing, following the guidance set forth by the CDC and the Health Department. The implementation of active screening of residents and personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms has been in place, leading to the identification of these two cases.

“Following guidance from the Health Department, Kane will be testing patients whose rooms are nearby to the two positive residents. Additional screening of staff who work on the unit will be implemented, including inquiring into sick relatives at home and monitoring for cough and sore throat in all staff and residents. Fever checks will be conducted on residents at each shift change.

“Since March 13, Kane has restricted all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations such as end of life, and all volunteer activity. Additionally, access has been restricted for all non-essential healthcare personnel. All group activities were canceled at the same time, and communal dining of residents was ended at the same time.”

Allegheny County released this map showing where the cases are:

UPDATE 12:05 p.m.: There are 531 additional positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 2,218, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

In addition to the new cases, six more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 22.

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Here is a breakdown of cases in western Pennsylvania counties:

  • Allegheny County: 158
  • Fayette County: 9
  • Washington County: 14
  • Beaver County: 14
  • Butler County: 26
  • Lawrence County: 4
  • Westmoreland County: 30
  • Mercer County: 4
  • Greene County: 4
  • Armstrong County: 1
  • Indiana County: 2

There are 21,016 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:

  • Less than 1% are aged 0-4
  • Less than 1% are aged 5-12
  • Nearly 2% are aged 13-18
  • 11% are aged 19-24
  • 40% are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 28% are aged 50-64
  • 18% are aged 65 or older

UPDATE 11:50 a.m.: UPMC said it has tested more than 1,700 people for coronavirus at 40 hospitals across the state.

Of the tests, 141 have come back positive.

On Friday morning, UPMC also addressed concerns brought up by some employees who said they didn’t feel their health was being protected and claimed there isn’t enough protective gear.

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“Some believe we are short on supplies. Let me reemphasize, we are not short on protective supplies. Any employee who can't find the protective equipment they want has the ability to talk to a supervisor and get the equipment that's necessary,” Dr. Donald Yealy, Chair of Emergency Medicine at UPMC, said.

UPMC said patients are taking advantage of video visits. Also, during two days last week UPMC had as many telemedicine visits across the health system as it did all of last year.

UPDATE 11:38 a.m.: Twenty-one more businesses were given warnings Thursday by Pennsylvania State Police for failing to comply with Gov. Tom Wolf’s order for non-life-sustaining businesses to close.

Since Monday, a total of 78 businesses have been given warnings.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: A Sheetz employee at its location in Verona tested positive for the coronavirus, the company announced.

Sheetz released the following statement:

“Sheetz has been informed that an employee at our store location in Verona, PA, has tested positive for COVID-19. Since the beginning of this crisis, we have been focused on the health and wellness of our customers and employees. Because of this positive test, this store location was closed immediately and has been professionally deep cleaned and disinfected. Our gas pumps were also sanitized and cleaned. We are working with employees who may have had close contact with this employee. We are also following guidelines set by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All employees will be fully paid while this store remains closed. This location will open shortly but not until we have ensured that all steps have been taken to protect our community. Your safety is our top priority and that will continue to be our first thought as we join the nation in navigating this unprecedented health crisis.”

UPDATE 11:20 a.m.: The first death related to the coronavirus has been confirmed in West Virginia by the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources.

The person who died was a 76-year-old man from Monongalia County, officials said. He was associated with the Sundale Long Term Care home in Morgantown, and he had underlying health conditions.

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UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Allegheny Health Network said it is making protective surgical masks available to all employees working in clinical areas at its hospitals, starting Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases grows.

“To date, AHN has strictly adhered to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with regard to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by hospital clinicians. The network’s pandemic response team, however, has been closely watching and learning from the experience and evolving tactics of health care providers in other areas of the world,” a news release said.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: There are 25 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 158, the Allegheny County Health Department announced. Twenty-five people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and the number of deaths has remained at two.

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Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 1
  • 5-12 years: 1
  • 13-18 years: 3
  • 19-24 years: 22
  • 25-49 years: 66
  • 50-64 years: 41
  • 65+ years: 24

Eighty-one of the cases are females and 77 are males.

“The department is still tracing the contacts of people who have tested positive and is recommending self-quarantine when needed. We strongly urge all people in Allegheny County to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus in our community,” a news release from the Health Department said.

Allegheny County now has 158 coronavirus cases

UPDATE 10:50 a.m.: An online tool to help essential workers find childcare providers with approved waivers has been created by the Department of Human Services.

CLICK HERE to use the tool.

“While many Pennsylvanians are responsibly heeding guidance from the Department of Health to stay home, there are still many thousands of essential workers whose jobs require that they go out into the world and do work that makes it possible for the rest of us to stay safe and healthy. For many of these workers, safe and stable child care is an essential need,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said in a statement.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: Nurses, graduate medical trainees, nursing home administrators and other professionals are being given more time to renew their occupational licenses by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

“The Pennsylvania Department of State is giving many professionals, including nurses, more time to renew their occupational licenses as our commonwealth fights the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said.

April, May and June license renewal deadlines for the aforementioned professionals -- as well as for barbers, navigation pilots and real estate professionals -- have been extended to July, August and September.

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According to a news release, the following professional and occupational license renewal deadlines will be extended:

  • Under the State Board of Medicine, the Graduate Medical Trainee license renewal deadline has been extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Nursing, Registered Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner and Prescriptive Authority license renewal deadlines will be extended from April 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020. The Practical Nurse license renewal will be extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators, the nursing home administrator license renewal deadline will be extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Barber Examiners, Barber license renewal will be extended from April 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020.
  • Under the State Navigation Commission, Navigation Pilot license renewal will be extended from May 1, 2020, to July 30, 2020.
  • Under the State Real Estate Commission, renewal deadlines for all license types will be extended from May 31, 2020, to Aug. 29, 2020.

UPDATE 8:10 a.m.: Pennsylvania now leaves it up to people who have tested positive for the coronavirus to warn others who might have been exposed, Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE reported.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health stopped tracking contacts of people with new diagnoses of the virus as the number of cases increases, according to TribLIVE.

CLICK HERE to read more.

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Patients in need of emergency dental care can now go to their dentist offices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health updated its guidelines after previously unveiling strict rules that stunned dentists in the state.

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Previous guidelines included having negative pressure rooms and a particular type of hard-to-come-by masks. The rules effectively forced offices to shut down, leaving patients with emergencies stranded.

Leaders in the dental industry expressed their concerns to health officials, leading to the updated guidelines from the Department of Health.

560 more coronavirus cases confirmed in Pa., bringing total to 1,687