TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 20

Pennsylvania Department of Health coronavirus update (4/20/20)

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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Brentwood cancels 4th of July festivities

Brentwood Borough has canceled all 4th of July festivities, according to Brentwood Councilman AJ Doyle.

In a Facebook post, Doyle said, “This isn’t the news I wanted to share with you tonight, but it was decided to cancel all Fourth of July festivities for 2020 in the interest of public safety by Brentwood Council.”

This isn’t the news I wanted to share with you tonight, but it was decided to cancel all Fourth of July festivities for 2020 in the interest of public safety by Brentwood Council.

Posted by Brentwood Councilman AJ Doyle on Monday, April 20, 2020

Unfortunately, due to the continuing uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic and stay in place orders, Brentwood...

Posted by Brentwood Firecracker 5k on Monday, April 20, 2020

Wolf administration submits plan for student food access

Update 3:45 p.m.: With many schools in Pennsylvania closed for the rest of the school year, the departments of Human Services and Education submitted a state plan to the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide SNAP benefits to students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

If approved, the plan would allow agencies to provide EBT to households with kids who do not have access to school meals due to coronavirus related closures. A family’s benefit would be based off the federal rate, or about $5.70 per child. The benefit would be calculated for the rest of the school year, leading to an approximated amount of $365 per child if schools are shut down for the rest of the year.

7th Port Authority employee tests positive

Update 2:15 p.m.: The employee works in maintenance at the West Mifflin garage and was last there on Friday.

This is the third maintenance employee to test positive for COVID-19 in the last four days, according to a release.

Because of that, the Port Authority is working with the Allegheny County Health Department to determine if anything else can be done.

In the meantime, the maintenance team was moved to a holiday work schedule so an outside cleaning company could focus on the building.

Gov. Wolf announces steps to reopening the state

Update 12:30 p.m.: Gov. Wolf announced at a press conference that the state is now taking small steps to reopen parts of the economy. Curbside pickup will be allowed for state liquor stores and auto sales will be allowed in a limited capacity.

Gov. Wolf said there will be more things opening back up on May 8th, including limited construction. The stay at home order will also stay in place until then.

The order will be rescinded by regions and social distancing will still be important, he said.

Auto dealerships will be allowed to conduct sales and leases online and notaries public will be allowed to perform remote notarizations. Public and private residential and nonresidential construction projects will be allowed to start again Friday, May 8. State liquor stores are now also accepting orders by phone that can then be picked up at at the curb.

New state numbers released

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health released the latest numbers of coronavirus patients.

Here is a breakdown of local counties:

  • Allegheny Co.: 1,042 positive cases, 55 deaths, 11,348 negative tests
  • Butler Co.: 161 positive cases, 5 deaths, 1,801 negative tests
  • Beaver Co.: 298 positive cases, 36 deaths, 1,621 negative tests
  • Washington Co.: 83 positive cases, 2 deaths, 1,553 negative tests
  • Greene Co.: 25 cases, 324 negative tests
  • Fayette Co.: 67 cases, 3 deaths, 1,354 negative tests
  • Westmoreland Co.: 286 cases, 24 deaths, 3,481 negative tests
  • Armstrong Co.: 38 cases, 2 deaths, 459 negative tests
  • Indiana Co.: 53 cases, 4 deaths, 439 negative tests
  • Clarion Co.: 18 cases, 1 death, 376 negative tests
  • Venango Co.: 6 cases, 189 negative cases
  • Forest Co.: 7 cases, 21 negative tests
  • Lawrence Co.: 59 cases, 5 deaths, 531 negative tests
  • Mercer Co.: 59 cases, 1 death, 500 negative tests

92 new deaths were also reported as a result of the coronavirus. 129,720 people have tested negative so far. In nursing and personal care homes, there are 4,689 residents testing positive and 504 employees across 374 different facilities.

Here is a breakdown by county of nursing home data:

  • Allegheny Co.: 31 facilities, 179 cases among residents, 57 cases among employees, 39 deaths
  • Butler Co.: 3 facilities, 10 cases among residents, 9 cases among employees, 2 deaths
  • Beaver Co.: 3 facilities, 181 cases among residents, 11 cases among employees, 30 deaths
  • Washington Co.: 3 facilities, 6 cases among residents, 1 case among employees, 1 death
  • Fayette Co.: 1 facility, 3 cases among residents, 0 cases among employees, 1 death
  • Westmoreland Co.: 4 facilities, 85 cases among residents, 22 cases among employees, 17 deaths
  • Indiana Co.: 2 facilities, 11 cases among residents, 0 cases among employees, 1 death
  • Clarion Co.: 1 facility, 1 case among residents, 0 cases among employees, 0 deaths
  • Mercer Co.: 1 facility, 1 case among residents, 0 cases among employees, 0 deaths

Shoppers react to mandate to wear masks in essential businesses in Pa.

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: A statewide mandate is now in effect in Pennsylvania, requiring people entering essential businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, to wear a mask or covering.

Businesses have the right to turn people away if they are not wearing a mask. Employees are also required to wear masks.

“My mask protects you. Your mask protects me,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.

Officials said the mandate boils down to combating the coronavirus and helping to flatten the curve.

“If we stick with a mask and stick with social distancing, we should be able to be fine,” Ronald Schorr, a shopper from Allison Park, said.

The order states anyone over the age of 2 must wear a mask, unless they have a medical condition that prevents it.

New guidelines in effect for businesses, customers when it comes to masks

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank emergency distribution at PIT Airport

UPDATE 11:25 a.m.: The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will hold an emergency drive-up food distribution Wednesday at Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township.

The distribution will take place in the airport’s parking lots from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Officials said they plan to serve 1,500 vehicles.

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“It will be one of our largest distributions to date. Based on logistics, this is hopefully going to be one of our easiest and smoothest distributions,” Lisa Scales, President & CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, said.

Those who need food assistance, but do not have access to a vehicle should visit the Food Bank’s website at pittsburghfoodbank.org/gethelp for information on opportunities for help, officials said. No walk-ups will be permitted at Wednesday’s distribution.

The Food Bank is asking people to follow these guidelines:

  • Cars will not be permitted to arrive until 10 a.m. Law enforcement handling traffic will ask drivers to come back if they arrive before this time.
  • For personal and public safety, in the event of an emergency as well as respect for fellow motorists, vehicles may not wait on the side of the highway or anywhere near airport property, including the Sunoco gas station. Law enforcement will be patrolling these areas and will ensure vehicles are not parked in these areas.
  • For everyone’s safety and to maintain the six-foot social distancing guideline, individuals must stay in their cars at all times except to use the provided outdoor restroom facilities. Leaving cars to socialize is prohibited.
  • After pulling up to the distribution area, please put the car in park and then unlock the trunk or backseat for food to be loaded. For everyone’s safety, volunteers will not be able to load food into the cars until they are in park.
  • To maintain social distancing, when food is being loaded into the car, please do not get out of the car.
  • Stay alert and follow the guidance of Food Bank staff and police as they direct cars through the distribution area.

People who go to the food distribution will receive two boxes of food per car, regardless of the number of families or groups in the vehicle.

COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County: Monday update

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.: There are seven new confirmed or probable cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 1,042, the Allegheny County Health Department announced.

Officials said 180 people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and five more deaths have been reported, bringing the total number of deaths confirmed to have been caused by or probably caused by COVID-19 to 55.

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Pa. State Police cancel spring, summer youth camps

UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: The Pennsylvania State Police has cancelled upcoming youth camps that had been scheduled throughout the spring and summer months.

“This decision was made with the health and safety of all attendees, staff, and community partners in mind. We look forward to resuming the programs in 2021,” Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, said.

PSP volunteers coordinate dozens of youth camps and events each summer, including 27 weeklong sleepaway Camp Cadet programs, a Commissioner’s Honor Camp, State Police Youth Week and 12 Sunny Day Camp programs.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board resuming Special Order program

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is resuming its Special Order program in a limited capacity after receiving requests from retail licensees and suppliers, officials said.

The Special Order program offers items not stocked by the PLCB.

Only retail licensees that also have a wine expanded permit will be able to utilize the program, which will resume this month. They are the only retail licensees that can sell wine to go while all sales and service of on-premises consumption is prohibited.

“All holders of wine expanded permits will be able to order Special Orders beginning Wednesday, April 22, with no limitations to the Special Order catalogue or order size. Licensees will be able to pick up Special Orders from designated PLCB locations beginning Friday, April 24,” a news release said.

Pennsylvanians encouraged to file tax returns electronically

UPDATE 9:50 a.m.: Pennsylvanians are being encouraged by the Department of Revenue to take advantage of electronic filing options for their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns (PA-40s).

The deadline for filing 2019 tax returns has been extended to July 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We want our taxpayers to know that you don’t have to wait until July. We’re still processing returns and issuing the majority of refunds that are requested,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “If you’re expecting a refund and you’re able to electronically file your return from home, that will help us deliver your refund as quickly as possible.”

Highmark expands telehealth opioid treatment program to Pa.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: Highmark has expanded its telehealth opioid treatment program to Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Highmark’s commercial, Affordable Care Act and Medicare Advantage members now have access to a comprehensive, technology-enabled opioid use disorder program, a news release said.

The program “will help preserve treatment access and promote recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” the release said. It was first offered in January to Highmark’s West Virginia members.

Smartphones, tablets and computers can be used to access services and meet on-demand with medical staff and counselors.

“In the communities that we serve and across the country, patients face extremely limited access to opioid use disorder treatment and medication–assisted treatment (MAT) therapy,” Dr. Caesar DeLeo, vice president and executive medical director of strategic initiatives for Highmark, said. “The COVID-19 crisis has created even more treatment access challenges, while also fueling feelings of isolation and despair. By expanding this program, we’re harnessing technology to support our members on their path to recovery during this period of social distancing.”

4 more people die of COVID-19 in Westmoreland County

UPDATE 8:20 a.m.: Four more people have died of the coronavirus in Westmoreland County, according to the Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office.

The total number of deaths in the county is now 24.

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Curbside pickup starts Monday at Pa. liquor stores

UPDATE 7 a.m.: Curbside pickup at some liquor stores in Pennsylvania starts Monday.

Stores offering the curbside pickup will take orders over the phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each customer will be limited to no more than six bottles.

Customers can only place one order per call, per store each day and must pay with a credit card over the phone.

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Monday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Customers can now be turned away at grocery stores and other businesses in Pennsylvania if they are not wearing a mask.

The new order for people to wear masks went into effect Sunday at 8 p.m.

Customers who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask can enter stores without a mask.

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Employers are now required to provide masks for workers to wear during their shift.

Businesses found in violation of the order could face tickets, fines or license suspensions.

Positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania reached 32,284 Sunday. There have been 1,112 deaths among people who tested positive for the virus and those who were probable positive.

Most customers, workers now required to wear masks in Pennsylvania