TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates May 4

No COVID-19 related deaths reported in Allegheny Co. since Saturday

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.

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Gov. Wolf provides guidance for businesses in area moving to yellow phase

UPDATE 5:35 p.m.: This Friday, 24 Pennsylvania counties will move from the red phase to the yellow phase as the state slowly starts to reopen and return to normal.

In these counties, all of which are located in the northern part of the state, retail and some other businesses that had been closed will be allowed to reopen.

““First and foremost, businesses that have been operating using telework must continue to do so to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 until the stay-at-home and business closure orders are fully lifted when we enter a “green” phase,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in an email Monday.

Under Wolf’s guidance, non-life sustaining businesses will be permitted to restart their in-person operations through the loosening of some restrictions.

But many businesses, including personal fitness, salons and entertainment will remain closed.

The new guidance includes information about cleaning and disinfecting, the number of employees and customers on premise and other safeguards to keep all customers and employees safe.

The following items are specifically mentioned:

  • Businesses must have a plan in case there is exposure to a probably or confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Staggering shift times to prevent large groups from entering the business together
  • Conduct meetings and trainings virtually
  • Discourage non-essential visitors from entering the business
  • Limit the number of people inside the building to 50% of capacity

The full guidance can be found here.

Auditor General calls for county prisons to expand COVID-19 testing of inmates

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: As of April 30, the Allegheny County Jail had tested 48 inmates and 27 were positive for coronavirus.

That does not include the three prison employees who also tested positive, according to a release.

“We must make sure that Pennsylvania’s county prisons don’t have the same problem that we’ve seen in nursing homes, where COVID-19 spread like wildfire,” DePasquale said. “Fortunately, it would appear that mitigation efforts in prisons are working and perhaps expanded testing could help even more.”

Gov. Tom Wolf, Pa. Secretary of State give update on scheduled June primary

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging Pennsylvanians to vote by mail in the upcoming primary election on June 2.

Already, nearly 1 million voters have applied to do so by mail. Registered voters have until 5:00 PM, May 26 to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot and until 8:00 PM on election day to return their voted ballot.

“I strongly encourage Pennsylvanians who want to vote by mail to do so as soon as possible,” Gov. Wolf said. “While many of us will take advantage of this opportunity, polling places will be open, though where you vote may have changed.”

The Department of State has bought masks and is making other changes to ensure that in-person voting is as safe as possible.

“Our priority is to ensure the integrity of our elections while also keeping Pennsylvania voters safe,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “Voting by mail-in ballot is a secure way to vote from the comfort of your own home and to make sure that your voice is heard on election day.”

There’s been a significant increase in mail ballot application requests since the COVID-19 pandemic started, according to a news release.

For more information on the new mail-in ballots and all things related to voting in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.

Attorney General helps expand coverage for DoorDash drivers

UPDATE 3 p.m.: The public-private collaboration expands financial, health and childcare-related support for “Dashers.”

DoorDash is also partnering with Pittsburgh through Project DASH to deliver groceries, meals or supplies to low-income, home-bound seniors and vulnerable populations.

Allegiant will give personal health and safety kits to all passengers

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: If you’re flying the airline, you’ll get a kit that has a single-use face mask, a pair of disposable non-latex gloves and cleaning wipes.

Customers will get the kits as they board their flights.

Update from PA Department of Health

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: If you know of someone who may be at risk of an overdose, you’re asked to reach out to those individuals during the coronavirus pandemic. Substance abuse disorders are leading to rising overdoses in the state during quarantine, according to health officials.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said the state is not separating nursing home coronavirus cases from the rest of the county case numbers. She said data comes in on Tuesdays and Thursdays in reference to which counties will be in the next round to reopen. Part of that data includes information from Carnegie Mellon’s tracker tool.

Reopening PA: Standards

As we begin to reopen Pennsylvania, we won’t risk all of the progress we’ve already made against COVID-19 through sacrifice and hard work. We’ll follow expert recommendations and keep a close eye on the data. Details: governor.pa.gov/process-to-reopen-pennsylvania/

Posted by Governor Tom Wolf on Friday, May 1, 2020

Customers and workers in the retail industry are strong advised to keep wearing masks until further notice. State officials have said they are having conversations with county health officials about expanding COVID-19 testing in areas like Allegheny County.

In the yellow zones, drive in movie theaters can reopen if they are practicing social distancing. If social distancing can occur with graduations or worship services in yellow zones, those events will be allowed to move forward.

Pennsylvania Department of Health provides coronavirus update (5/4/20)

More than 50,000 coronavirus cases reported in PA

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Pennsylvania has more than 50,000 positive cases of coronavirus, according to the Department of Health.

There are 825 more positive cases for a total of 50,092 cases. There are 14 additional coronavirus deaths, bringing the state total to 2,458. 195,498 tests have come back negative.

Locally, here are the cases by county:

  • Allegheny Co.: 1,365 positive cases, 102 deaths
  • Armstrong Co.: 52 cases, 2 deaths
  • Beaver Co.: 458 positive cases, 68 deaths
  • Butler Co.: 180 positive cases, 6 deaths
  • Clarion Co.: 23 positive cases, 1 death
  • Fayette Co.: 83 positive cases, 4 deaths
  • Forest Co.: 7 positive cases, 0 deaths
  • Greene Co.: 27 positive cases, 1 death
  • Indiana Co.: 70 positive cases, 4 deaths
  • Lawrence Co.: 65 positive cases, 6 death
  • Mercer Co.: 66 positive cases, 1 death
  • Venango Co.: 7 positive cases, 0 deaths
  • Washington Co.: 120 positive cases, 2 deaths
  • Westmoreland Co.: 403 positive cases, 31 deaths

Parents support educators during crisis, survey reveals

UPDATE 11:20 a.m.: The National Education Associated polled American parents and found that nearly nine out of 10 approve of how their children’s teachers are handling the pandemic.

The poll comes out as Teacher Appreciation Week begins, a tradition since 1953.

Monday’s update from Allegheny County Health Department

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: The Allegheny County Health Department reported since March 14, there are now 1,365 cases as of Monday. That’s an increase of 20 coronavirus cases over Sunday. This breaks down to 1,310 positive confirmed cases and 55 probable cases.

There have been no additional deaths since Saturday. There are a total of 102 deaths. Of the reported deaths, 92 are confirmed or had a positive test and are 10 probable.

Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 4 (less than 1%)
  • 5-12 years: 5 (less than 1%)
  • 13-18 years: 12 (1%)
  • 19-24 years: 92 (7%)
  • 25-49 years: 472 (35%)
  • 50-64 years: 388 (28%)
  • 65+ years: 392 (29%)

There are 240 past or present hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

AHN expands access to drive-up collection sites for COVID-19 testing

UPDATE 10:00 a.m.: Officials at Allegheny Health Network announced Monday it has expanded the availability of drive-up testing for the coronavirus to patients of non-AHN affiliated health care providers.

All patients will still need a doctor’s order to be tested at the AHN sites.

AHN began offering quick and convenient drive-up COVID-19 testing in March, and now provides the service in seven western Pennsylvania locations.

You can find a list of locations and times of operation on their website.

City of Pittsburgh implements hiring freeze

UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced Monday that he is implementing a hiring freeze for more than 60 currently unfilled positions within City government because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Not filling the 64 positions is expected to save the city $3 million in salary costs.

“The dedication and perseverance of City workers, especially those working on the front lines, has been on full display during this pandemic, and on behalf of all city residents I can’t thank them enough for their public service,” Mayor Peduto said. “We have to put on hold these new hires, however, to help fill the ever-widening holes showing up in our budget due to this crisis.”

$127 million has been lost in tax revenue directly linked to the pandemic. City workers will still provide the same level of services. Other departments like police, fire and EMS are also facing cutbacks.

After years of financial issues, the city built an $85 million surplus, but the mayor’s office said they expect it to be wiped out.

City of Pittsburgh announces hiring freeze as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

TSA worker at PIT airport tests positive for COVID-19

UPDATE 9:35 a.m.: A Transportation Security Administration worker at Pittsburgh International Airport tested positive for the coronavirus.

Officials said the worker, a screening officer, tested positive on April 25. This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a TSA employee at Pittsburgh International.

“Employees or travelers who believe they may have been in contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 should consult with their healthcare provider. Employees or travelers who test positive for COVID-19 should seek medical attention and follow the guidance of their healthcare provider and local health department,” a TSA spokesperson said. “TSA directs employees who come in close contact with another employee diagnosed with COVID-19 to isolate or quarantine as appropriate.”

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UPMC doctor talks about new phase of COVID-19 testing

UPDATE 6:30 a.m.: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is entering a new phase of coronavirus testing.

Last week, Los Angeles became the first major city in the United States to open up testing to people even if they don’t have symptoms. UPMC is now doing the same.

“As we're coming down from the high numbers of symptomatically infected people, we do need to know how many are carrying it that we don't know about to help protect the most vulnerable,” Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, said.

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Monday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania have reached nearly 50,000.

As of Sunday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 49,267 cases of COVID-19 and 2,444 deaths.

There have been 191,374 people who tested negative for the virus.

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NY's governor partnering with six states, including PA, to buy equipment, supplies