TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates March 16

RAW: State officials hold news conference on coronavirus

PITTSBURGH — The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt in western Pennsylvania, where several cases have been confirmed since Friday and new steps were taken to help limit the spread. 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 9:30 p.m.:

A resident in Beaver County has tested positive for the coronavirus, making it the first confirmed case in the county, officials announced.

PEMA notified the Beaver County Emergency Management around 7 p.m.

Beaver County commissioners aren’t being told where the resident is or what areas they traveled to, if anywhere.

“Our first steps is the safety of our residents, I think it will come to reality to the residents in Beaver County that this is a serious matter. We urge them to continue to follow the CDC, PA Dept of Health guidelines. Gov. Tom Wolf put that out today. Stay home, stay safe,” said Beaver County Commissioner Daniel Camp.

The commissioners will have another meeting Tuesday morning.

UPDATE 8:37 p.m.: Bishop David Zubik announced the following guidelines in the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Baptism

The celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism, outside of Mass, is permitted. In order to limit any potential spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to a vulnerable population, only a small private family baptism should be held. Multiple baptisms of several children from different families is not permitted. All state and local government-imposed restrictions on the number of people at public gatherings are to be obeyed.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults ( RCIA)

RCIA Instructors will communicate with those preparing to be received in the church with further details.

Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion

All First Reconciliations and First Communions for the month of March are to be postponed and rescheduled at another date. Dates for First Reconciliation and First Communion after April 1, 2020 will be determined in the future depending on the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus.

Sacrament of Confirmation

All scheduled confirmations for the month of March are postponed and will be rescheduled. Confirmation dates after April 1, 2020 will be determined in the future depending on circumstances surrounding the coronavirus.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Light is on for You, scheduled for April 1, 2020 has been cancelled. Parishes will be offering regularly scheduled times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Health guidelines regarding social distancing will be followed.

Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

Communal celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is suspended until further notice. Priests will offer Anointing of the Sick on an individual basis following health and safety guidelines related to coronavirus.

Funerals and Weddings

Until further notice, weddings and funerals may proceed but attendance should be limited to immediate family. All state and local government-imposed restrictions on the number of people at public gatherings are to be obeyed.

Parish Events and Activities

In compliance with the requests of governmental leaders and sound medical practices, parishes must cancel all scheduled events until further notice.

Church Buildings

While churches will remain open for private prayer, including adoration, there will be no scheduled “services” that would bring people together at a specific time. Social distancing must be maintained if people attend church for private prayer.

UPDATE 7:51 p.m.: Tanger Outlets in Washington County said it is temporarily closed as of 7 p.m.

UPDATE 6:55 p.m.: The Diocese of Greensburg is suspending all weekday and weekend public masses starting on Wednesday.

The diocese said when possible, churches will remain open for private prayer.

It also announced the following changes and said “priests in the Diocese of Greensburg should act with sensitivity and work with parishioners to use common sense measures to improve the safety of each event or postpone as many as possible.”

  • For baptisms, funerals and weddings, an effort to scale back attendance to immediate family would be preferred.
  • Fish fries, bake sales, all faith formation programs and the public celebration of Stations of the Cross, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Morning/Evening Prayer and Rosary are all suspended.

Masses will be streamed across the diocese on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. The link will be available on their website and social media pages.

UPDATE 6:15 p.m.: At noon, most of the offices in the City-County Building shut down for the next two weeks. It’s all in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.

"This virus has taken off in certain populations. And the one way to slow it down is to keep people away from each other," said Michael Lamb, Pittsburgh City Controller.

In addition to closing most offices, park shelters, rec centers, the Mellon Park tennis bubble and the Oliver Bath House are also closed.

Watch more in the video below:

City taking new steps to slow coronavirus outbreak

UPDATE 6:00 p.m.: “We don’t want anybody getting sick. I don’t want to get sick,” said Karen Goldner, a local daycare worker.

She normally doesn’t wear gloves, but this is not a normal time. Today was their last day as they are shutting down because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Watch more in the video below:

Local daycare says shutting down its facility helping slow spread of coronavirus

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: Allegheny County leaders are hopeful a new hotline they have established will help direct callers to the right place quickly and allow them to find answers to their questions about the coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Local agencies changing how they're pushing out information

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: PennDOT officials announced all Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers across the state will be closed for two weeks effective at close of business today.

Additionally, expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections will be extended:

  • Driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
  • Vehicle registrations, safety inspections and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
  • Persons with Disabilities Parking Placards scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.

UPDATE 5:27 p.m.: Drive-thru testing began today in parts of Pittsburgh. Long lines of cars were seen as people who were sick turned out to make sure they did not have the coronavirus.

Drive-thru coronavirus testing kicks off in Pittsburgh

UPDATE 4:11 p.m.: All Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores will be shut down effective at 9 p.m. Tuesday night, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. All sales online will stop at 5 p.m. today. The agency said all stores will be shut down indefinitely.

Toward the end of the month, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will decide if the shut down will continue or if it will be lifted.

UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is ordering Meadows Casino and Racetrack among other casinos to shut down and cease entry to people by 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. This is in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus.

This also includes the Lady Luck Casino at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Presque Isle Racetrack and Casino in Erie.

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: Gov. Tom Wolf announced a statewide shut down. That means all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants will close effective at midnight. This is expected to last for 2 weeks. Gov. Wolf said there are no plans to shut down any pharmacies, grocery stores or medical facilities and he urged people to continue their normal shopping trips.

This is similar to the order issued by Allegheny County over the weekend. In that order, all childcare facilities, senior centers, community and recreation centers, gyms, salons, spas, casinos, bars, concert venues, theaters, social clubs, sports facilities and more. This does not apply to carry-out and delivery only services.

State health officials are asking that families and children not hold play dates while home from school. The social distancing protocols are designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and playing together does not accomplish that.

As for daycares, Gov. Wolf announced he recognizes the challenges parents face with childcare. At this point, he is calling for childcare facilities to close, but they are not being forced to shut down.

UPDATE 1:25 p.m.: Officials with Washington County are giving an update after a case of coronavirus was confirmed last week in the county. Leaders said they do not have the authority to mandate the closures of any businesses because it is a 4th class county. There is no Washington County Department of Health and it has to rely on the state. All information the state has issued has been released, according to officials.

County leaders said at a press conference they are working with state officials and the Meadows Casino will be closing by 5 p.m. Monday. They are also working to press the Tanger Outlets to shut down temporarily. Additionally, they said drive-thru testing is being planned for the fairgrounds but it has not been set up yet.

Also, the Pennsylvania Turnpike will stop accepting cash or credit cards for at least the next two weeks.

A: All-Electronic Tolling (AET) means no stopping at toll booths, and no paying with cash (OR credit card!) while...

Posted by Pennsylvania Turnpike on Saturday, March 14, 2020

UPDATE 1:12 p.m.: Forest Hills borough offices will close until further notice due to the coronavirus.

Staff will continue to work as long as they do not feel sick, but the public will not be allowed in. Permits and inspections will continue to be processed.

UPDATE 12:24 p.m.: Officials with the state Department of Health announced there are now 76 confirmed cases of coronavirus statewide. There are now 6 in Allegheny County and one in Washington County in our region. The rest of the cases are in the eastern areas of the state.

670 patients tested negative as of Monday morning.

Officials with St. Clair Hospital announced immediate changes on patient visitation. For most areas of the hospital, visitation will be cut down to two, 2-hour periods.

Under the revised policy, for most areas of the Hospital, visitation hours will be restricted to two, 2-hour periods, and patients in those areas of the Hospital will be limited to one visitor per visitation period. In certain circumstances, limited exceptions will apply. Patients in the Family Birth, Pediatric, and Psychiatric units of the Hospital will be permitted to have up to two visitors during visiting hours, which are defined on a unit-specific basis. Visitors will be screened upon entering the Hospital, and must wash their hands upon entering and exiting both the patient’s room and the Hospital. Visitors must also wear a Hospital-issued identification badge.

Family and friends are asked to refrain from visiting patients if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness themselves, such as fever, cough or sore throat. No visitors under the age of 18 will be permitted.

There is a board of commissioners meeting in Ross Township tonight. People who would like to attend are welcome to do so.

UPDATE 12:14 p.m.: The Saint Vincent College Education Department announced that students seeking their education certification are available to help in home tutoring during school closures due to the coronavirus.

UPDATE (12:10 p.m.): The city of Pittsburgh sent out the following news release Monday about operational changes:

You can customize your WPXI News App to receive breaking news alerts. CLICK HERE to find out how.

“The City of Pittsburgh will continue to deliver essential City services to residents throughout the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, though starting today some services will be curtailed to protect employee and resident health.

“Beginning at noon today non-emergency City offices and facilities will be closed to the public until further notice, though operations will continue through teleworking by eligible employees.

“’We will provide continuous operations throughout this crisis. City government never shuts down and public services will be offered continuously throughout this pandemic,’ Mayor William Peduto said.

“The following services and offices will remain operational:

  • All emergency services including Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services and (for life safety matters only) Animal Care and Control.
  • Inspections of buildings, roads, traffic lights and other infrastructure
  • Response to weather events
  • Refuse and recycling collection (see note below)
  • City parks (though residents are urged to stay off playground equipment, as their cleanliness cannot be guaranteed)
  • Pittsburgh City Council meetings (subject to health safety restrictions)
  • City Planning, Permits, Licenses and Inspections, and the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure will continue to review plans, issue permits, and intake applications. PLI and City Planning permits are available online; the application can be found here or you can send the full application and payment via US mail. Licensing late fees will be forgiven. Utilities needing public right of way permits can continue to apply online utilizing the established Google form. All other permit requests should be submitted by email to DOMIpermits@pittsburghpa.gov and further instructions will be provided
  • 311: Operators will still be taking calls; however, some issues may not be addressed immediately as crews may be limited or helping to handle pandemic-related issues.
  • Office of Municipal Investigations intake
  • Commission on Human Relations complaint intake
  • All Finance and Office of Management and Budget functions essential to continue core city operations and payroll.
  • Questions about the City’s Paid Sick Leave law will still be collected and answered at the Sick Leave website

“The following facilities and operations will be closed until further notice:

  • City Department offices in the City-County Building and the Robin Civic Building (200 Ross Street)
  • Senior Healthy Active Living Centers (see note below)
  • Recreation Centers (see note below)
  • City park shelters and fields (refunds will be issued to those who made reservations by emailing Allison.botti@pittsburghpa.gov)
  • All water fountains and restrooms in parks will be shut-off, though portable toilets will remain in service
  • All in-person permit counters
  • Special Event permits issuance
  • City participation in community meetings
  • All programming from Parks & Recreation
  • Mellon Park Tennis Bubble
  • Oliver Bath House
  • In-person tax assistance
  • Treasurer Sales (including already scheduled April 17 sale)"

UPDATE (12:05 p.m.): Seven Springs now says will not reopen until March 28. The slopes were initially scheduled to reopen this weekend.

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues and with the health and well-being of our guests and staff at the top of our minds,...

Posted by Seven Springs on Monday, March 16, 2020

UPDATE (11:55 a.m.): The Uniontown Area YMCA will be closed starting Monday through March 30.

UPDATE (11:05 a.m.): Two more cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Allegheny County, the Allegheny County Health Department said Monday.

One of the people is in their 60s and the other is in their 50s. They are both isolated at their homes.

“This brings the total number of confirmed cases to six, with many others pending,” the ACHD said.

You can customize your WPXI News App to receive breaking news alerts. CLICK HERE to find out how.

One other case in western Pennsylvania was confirmed Friday in Washington County.

The ACHD has partnered with United Way 211 to offer a 24/7 hotline: 888-856-2774.

CORONAVIRUS QUESTIONS? The Allegheny County Health Department has set up a hotline. SHARE to spread the word. http://bit.ly/2Uo2cDV

Posted by WPXI-TV Pittsburgh on Monday, March 16, 2020

UPDATE (10:55 a.m.): Carnegie Mellon University reported a possible case of coronavirus, saying a member of its community reported having flu-like symptoms on Sunday and has self-isolated.

“The individual has not been on campus since March 11 and has begun self-isolation. The university has been in contact with the Allegheny County Health Department, but the individual has not yet been tested for COVID-19,” the university said. “Out of an abundance of caution, those identified by this individual who may have had close contact have been notified and asked to self-isolate. They will return to campus after their self-isolation is complete and only if they are symptom-free.”

UPDATE (10:50 a.m.): Cars are lined up to get food from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Officials said more then 200 families have been served so far Monday.

UPDATE (10:45 a.m.): Bethel Park Public Library is closed through March 29.

“During the closure, patrons may keep any library materials at home and late fees will not be charged. Items for pickup will be held until the library reopens,” a news release said.

UPDATE (10:25 a.m.): Seven Springs closed Sunday at 7 p.m. and will remain closed through Friday. As of now, the slopes are scheduled to reopen Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

After a fabulous weekend of sunshine and fresh snow on the slopes, Seven Springs will close tonight, Sunday, March 15,...

Posted by Seven Springs on Sunday, March 15, 2020

UPDATE (10:10 a.m.): Drive-by coronavirus testing will be available starting at 11 a.m. at the following three locations:

  • 127 Anderson Street, Suite 101, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15212 -- (412) 515-0000
  • 95 Leonard Avenue, Suite 203, Washington, Pa., 15301 -- (724) 249-2517
  • 2360 Hospital Drive, Upper Suite 1, Aliquippa, Pa., 15001 -- (724) 707-1155

By 10 a.m., workers at the North Shore location were going car by car having people fill out paperwork. It is expected that test kits will run out in about one hour.

Drive-by coronavirus testing begins in our area

UPDATE (10 a.m.): Starting Tuesday, all senior community centers and senior satellite centers in Fayette, Greene and Washington counties are suspending operations through March 27, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging announced Monday.

Meals will be available for pickup only at each senior center location between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. People are asked to call their local senior center to reserve meals one day in advance, before 1 p.m.

Officials said there will be no substantial change to the home-delivered meal program at this time.

You can customize your WPXI News App to receive breaking news alerts. CLICK HERE to find out how.

UPDATE (9:50 a.m.): Indiana University of Pennsylvania will not have face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the semester. All instruction will be offered online, and students who live on campus have been asked to leave by March 21.

UPDATE (9:30 a.m.): UPMC has made some changes to the UPMC Senior Communities visitation policy because of the coronavirus. They are temporarily limiting visitation, and visitors will only be allowed in special situations approved by a facility administrator or designated manager.

UPDATE (9:10 a.m.): Workers in Pennsylvania who are impacted by the coronavirus might be eligible for Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation benefits, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced Monday.

Unemployment compensation claims should be submitted online (CLICK HERE) for faster processing, the department said.

“As Pennsylvania and the nation implement mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is important to relieve some of the financial pressures our workers are facing so they can focus on remaining healthy and safe,” Secretary of Labor & Industry Jerry Oleksiak said in a statement. “The best option is for employers to offer their employees paid time off. If leave is not available and your job has been impacted by this new virus, you may be eligible for benefits either through unemployment or workers’ compensation. If you work in a job or industry that likely will be affected, prepare now by knowing what you need and how to file so your application can be processed quickly.”

You might be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19;
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19;
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19; or
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts.

If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 in your workplace, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation by either:

  • Notifying your employer to file a typical “disease-as-injury” WC claim, which requires you to provide medical evidence that you were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Notifying your employer to file an “occupational disease” WC claim, which requires you to show that COVID-19 is occurring more in your occupation/industry than in the general population.

UPDATE (7 a.m.): Planet Fitness said its locations in the area will be temporarily closed starting 9 a.m. Monday in response to Allegheny County officials asking “non-essential” businesses to close voluntarily.

Members will not be billed for monthly dues while the club is closed, according to Planet Fitness.

Gyms among businesses closing in Allegheny Co. to close due to coronavirus

UPDATE (4:30 a.m.): All schools in Pennsylvania are closed for at least two weeks, as are all dine-in restaurants and bars in several counties, including Allegheny.

“Non-essential” businesses in Allegheny County have also been asked to voluntarily close for at least two weeks, starting Monday.

In the city of Pittsburgh, a ban is in place starting Monday for all public gatherings of 50 or more people. The ban was announced Sunday, just two days after the initial ban of all events of 250 or more people.

Starting Monday at 11 a.m., the Central Outreach Wellness Center, through a partnership with Quest Diagnostics, will begin offering drive-by testing for the coronavirus at the following locations:

  • 127 Anderson Street, Suite 101, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15212 -- (412) 515-0000
  • 95 Leonard Avenue, Suite 203, Washington, Pa., 15301 -- (724) 249-2517
  • 2360 Hospital Drive, Upper Suite 1, Aliquippa, Pa., 15001 -- (724) 707-1155
RAW: Drive-by COVID-19 testing begins at 3 sites in Pittsburgh-area
Gov. Tom Wolf orders bars, restaurants to close in several counties across Pennsylvania for 2 weeks