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TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 13

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.

Giant Eagle begins implementing 1-way aisles

UPDATE 10:15 p.m.: Giant Eagle has announced updates to it’s pandemic plan that include limiting the number of shoppers in each store at one time, making aisles one-way and providing protective equipment to all staff members.

The company started introducing one-way aisles for shoppers several days ago at locations that included West View. Security guards were also seen posted outside of stores around the same time, with some shoppers saying there were lines forming.

Gov. Wolf offers steps forward through pandemic

UPDATE 7:15 p.m.: Gov. Wolf provided a 10-minute update tonight where he talked about where the state currently is in fighting coronavirus and what the steps forward are.

Wolf referenced a statement from Dr. Fauci about an anti-body test that would be able to detect if someone had previously or currently had the virus.

“That immunity will allow our frontline healthcare workers and our first responders to do their work unencumbered by the fear of infection to the extent that we satisfy ourselves that we can safely go back to work, to school or to places of worship we can begin the work of moving out of this painful phase. And the hope is that we can do it in a reasonable timeframe,” Wolf said.

During his speech, Wolf also talked about how the current social distancing efforts are working.

“The question is, ‘How do we get through this phase as quickly and successfully as possible?’ The answer is still far from perfectly clear, but we know that getting to the next phase will come down to at least two things," he said.

Department of Health issues new guidance for hospitals

UPDATE 5:00 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued new guidance for hospitals should they start getting overrun with coronavirus patients.

“Our team began to develop a document that helped hospitals make decisions in extreme circumstances after it saw what happened in the aftermath of major hurricanes and earthquakes throughout the world,” Dr. Levine said. “Initially, this was intended to be a year-and-a-half process, but four months into its development COVID-19 became a global pandemic, so it was fast tracked. While a committee worked with key stakeholders to ensure it is a balanced approached to a difficult topic, this document is a work in progress and may change in future versions.”

The Interim Pennsylvania Crisis Standards of Care for Pandemic Guidelines, developed with The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, is a guide to help hospitals determine how patient resources are allocated during an overwhelming public health emergency when the needs of the community dramatically exceed the supply of resources available. The guidelines specifically prohibit discrimination in regard to patient age, race, gender, creed, religion or exercise of conscience, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, ethnicity, national origin (including limited English proficiency), or socioeconomic status.

Regional governors working to craft plan

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: The governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island held a conference call Monday to discuss creating a new plan to restore the regional economy and get people back to work.

The group, consisting of the governors, a health expert and an economic development expert among other people, is working to figure out how to lift the state-issued stay at home orders while keeping people safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan will include COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, social distancing and other tools.

State police academy closed

UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: State police announced the training academy for new cadets will not be closed during the pandemic. Cadets will continue training through an online platform.

The closure comes after a staff member assigned to the facility tested positive for COVID-19. All activities at the academy had been suspended since March out of an abundance of caution.

Inmate dies in state prison from coronavirus

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: An inmate has died from the coronavirus at a state prison, the first in Pennsylvania.

Officials said the inmate died on April 8 at the prison in Phoenix, Montgomery County in the eastern portion of the state. On April 11, it was determined the person died from the virus. The inmate was a 67-years-old and was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

New information from PA Health Secretary

UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: According to Secretary of Health Dr. Levine, 1,688 of the total coronavirus cases are in 215 long term care facilities including nursing homes and personal care homes. All deaths from the virus in the state have been adults.

As of noon, hospitals reported that over 2,000 patients were hospitalized in the state. 665 of those hospitalized have required a ventilator. Still, nearly 70% of ventilators are available across the state’s hospital system, according to Dr. Levine.

Dr. Levine said the social distancing rules and business closures are working to save lives and keep people safe.

She said it is encouraging to see how slow the “curve” of infections is trending in Pennsylvania.

State launches job portal

UPDATE 1:25 p.m.: Pennsylvania has launched an online job hiring portal so that people looking for work with life-sustaining businesses can get hired.

State officials said businesses can feature their openings using an online form to make it easy for job-seekers to find.

CLICK HERE for more information

PA unemployment application down for a time

UPDATE 1:00 p.m.: According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the unemployment continued claims application was offline for a time due to “technical issues.” In a conference call Monday afternoon, the agency said everything should be back up and running.

PennDOT working to keep road crews safe

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: PennDOT officials said they are only working on emergency projects right now during the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of the outbreak, there are new protocols in place for workers including mandatory mask wearing, maintaining that 6-foot distance and not eating lunch together.

24,199 positive cases across PA

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Health report an additional 1,366 positive cases of coronavirus across the state. This brings the state total to 24,199 positive cases since the outbreak began.

There are also 17 new deaths, bringing the total number to 524 people.

105,593 people have tested negative so far.

Here is the breakdown locally:

  • Allegheny Co.: 876, 21 deaths
  • Butler Co.: 143 cases, 4 deaths
  • Beaver Co.: 153 cases, 13 deaths
  • Washington Co.: 69 cases
  • Greene Co.: 23 cases
  • Fayette Co.: 57 cases, 3 deaths
  • Westmoreland Co.: 228 cases, 12 deaths
  • Indiana Co.: 43 cases
  • Armstrong Co.: 28 cases, 1 death
  • Clarion Co.: 16 cases
  • Venango Co.: 6 cases
  • Forest Co.: 5 cases
  • Lawrence Co.: 51 cases, 4 deaths
  • Mercer Co.: 43 cases

Just under 20 more positive cases in Allegheny County

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: According to the Allegheny County Health Department, there are now 876 positive cases of coronavirus.

Health officials said two more people have also died from the virus, bringing the death total to 21 people. Also, to date, 134 people have been hospitalized.

Highmark, AHN and Gateway Health launch online tool

UPDATE 9 a.m.: An online social care network called Aunt Bertha is now available to connect people to resources they may need during the pandemic.

The resources are for needs like food, housing and transportation and any Highmark, Allegheny Health Network and Gateway Health members.

“At this critical time, we understood the importance of fast-tracking our implementation of the Aunt Bertha tool,” said Dan Onorato, executive vice president, Highmark Health. “Connecting those in need of food, housing and other resources to social service agencies that can address those needs is a priority for Highmark.”

You can learn more about the program HERE.

Extra money coming to unemployed residents

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: This week, many of the more than 1 million Pennsylvanians laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic will finally start getting that extra money that was promised by the federal government.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor will start implementing new federal unemployment compensation benefits.

Under the $2 trillion federal relief package passed last month, workers will be paid an additional $600 per week.

The federal benefits are in addition to Pennsylvania’s regular unemployment benefits and that $600 will be paid separately.