PITTSBURGH — Now in Pennsylvania, the spread of the novel coronavirus has reached western Pennsylvania, with a presumptive case of the virus announced Friday in Washington County and two confirmed in Allegheny County.
State and local leaders are urging people to take extra precautions and has led to the cancellation of events and Gov. Tom Wolf announcing the closure of Pennsylvania’s public schools for 10 days. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.
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UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: In a similar move to Giant Eagle, Walmart announced Saturday that all of its stores across the country will have different hours to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
In a release on their website, officials said starting March 15, Walmart stores and neighborhood markets will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice.
“This will help ensure associates can clean and stock products. Stores operating under more reduced hours will keep current hours of operation,” the release said.
UPDATE 9:40 p.m.: The ECHL announced Saturday that the remainder of the 2019-20 season has been cancelled due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
The league, which serves as a minor-league affiliate to the NHL, had around three more weeks of regular season hockey to play at the time of the cancellation.
One of the teams this affects is the Wheeling Nailers, which is part of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
UPDATE 6:50 p.m.: Allegheny County officials announced operational changes following the first two confirmed coronavirus cases in the county:
- Emergency services – An Emergency Operations Center was activated in Moon Township. Dedicated staffing will perform ongoing monitoring and assist communities with resource requests.
- Fire academy – The Allegheny County Fire Academy has suspended all training at the academy through April 19. Fire Academy operations will continue as normal with full-time staff reporting.
- Police academy – The Allegheny County Police Academy is ceasing its academy cadet class effective March 17 with plans to return on April 1.
UPDATE 6:45 p.m.: The Community College of Allegheny County announced Saturday its spring break is being extended as a response to the coronavirus.
CCAC officials said spring break will now start March 16 and continue through March 21. During that time, all campuses and centers will be closed with no classes or clinicals in session.
After that period, classes will resume online.
UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: The Bethel Park Community Center will be closed for two weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The closure, from March 15-29, includes all activities, programs, classes, meetings, events and private rentals for residents and guests.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced a “phased closure” over the coming days of Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores in Eastern Pa.
All 88 stores in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties normally open on Sundays will be open for their regular hours tomorrow. Starting Tuesday, all liquor stores and licensee service centers in those counties will be closed until further notice.
Toward the end of the month, officials said they will reevaluate the situation.
UPDATE 4:35 p.m.: The Pro Football Hall of Fame museum will be closed to the public from March 16 through March 27, according to a release.
At this point, nothing has been announced regarding the induction ceremony and NFL Hall of Fame game – which the Steelers are set to be playing in August.
UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Port Authority officials announced it will immediately begin disinfecting vehicles every 24 hours. This comes following the announcement of two confirmed coronavirus cases in Allegheny County.
On Thursday, Port Authority announced it would begin cleaning “high touch” areas of on vehicles every 72 hours. Following today’s announcement, those areas will be cleaned daily. Major stations will continue to be cleaned daily, as will vehicles operated by ACCESS, Port Authority’s paratransit system.
Officials said there are “no plans for any operational changes at this time.”
Fallingwater, the popular tourist attraction in Fayette County, will be closed for two weeks starting Sunday.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the owners and operators of Fallingwater, will continue to monitor the latest developments from local, county and state health officials and tentatively plan to reopen Fallingwater on March 29.
UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health says there are a total of 47 cases of coronavirus in the state. Locally, there are two cases in Allegheny County and one case in Washington County. The remainder of the cases are in eastern Pennsylvania.
Call the state hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) if you think you may need to be tested. A public health professional will speak with you and determine if and where you should go for testing – such as the hospital or doctor’s office – and can then coordinate arrival at the healthcare facility to ensure you, the workers, and other visitors to the facility are all properly protected to prevent further exposures.
The state typically only tests people who are symptomatic. If you are not symptomatic, decisions are made on a case by case basis.
UPDATE 2 p.m.: There are 2 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, officials announced Saturday afternoon. Both are adults, one is in their 70s, one is in their 60s. Neither of them required hospitalization and are in isolation at home.
Both of them are residents of the City of Pittsburgh and live int he same household. It’s believe they acquired the virus during out of state travel.
The Allegheny County Health Department has started a contact investigation and will follow up with people who have had close contacts with the two known cases and will enforce quarantine measures.
Allegheny Health Network released a statement regarding the confirmed cases of COVID-19:
Two adult patients with confirmed COVID-19 were evaluated in the emergency department of AHN West Penn Hospital on Friday, March 13, 2020, and subsequently discharged home for quarantine. Both patients were tested for the virus through their independent primary care physician. West Penn had advance notice of the patients’ impending arrival to the hospital, and all precautions were taken to effectively prevent exposure of the virus to the hospital’s caregivers and support staff.— Allegheny Health Network
UPDATE 12:45 p.m.: Giant Eagle is temporarily changing its store hours due to the coronavirus to maximize shopping conditions, the company said in a release Saturday.
Effective Sunday, March 15, interim hours include:
- Giant Eagle and Market District supermarkets will open at 7 a.m. and close at 10 p.m., seven days a week. All GetGo stores located adjacent to supermarkets will mirror the supermarket hours.
- For the time being, standalone GetGo locations will continue to operate under normal business hours. Many standalone GetGo locations are open 24 hours a day, offering an alternative for guests with essential grocery needs overnight.
- Giant Eagle Curbside Pickup and Delivery will be available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
The company says during the hours supermarkets will be closed, employees will be working to clean the store and restock shelves for the next day’s business.
Giant Eagle Pharmacy departments will continue to operate under normal business hours
UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Allegheny County is set to announce their first coronavirus cases. They will be making an official announcement at a news conference at 2 p.m.
UPDATE 11:45 a.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health this morning confirmed four additional presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. None of those new cases are from the Pittsburgh area.
The new cases include two adults from Montgomery County, one adult from Philadelphia County and one adult from Chester County.
All are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. This brings the statewide total to 45 cases.
UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: The White House will be providing an update on the Coronavirus at Noon.
UPDATE 10:00 a.m.: UPMC has developed a test for the novel coronavirus, hospital officials announced Saturday. The health system will use this test to diagnose select, symptomatic cases.
The health system plans to rapidly increase capacity at its central laboratory and, if there is a need, could test hundreds of patients per week in the near future, filling a critical gap before other commercial tests come online.
UPMC on Tuesday will begin directing patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to a specimen collection site in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood. The site is not open to the general public. People who show up without an appointment, will not be tested. Patients must have a referral.
Patients who are tested will get a diagnosis in hours, not days.
So far, 300 they’ve tested over 300 samples of patients with cold symptoms. No one has tested positive.
UPMC says they’ve worked around the clock to develop their test and create the collection site.
9:45 a.m.: Westmoreland County commissioners declared a disaster emergency Saturday morning in response to the coronavirus. They made the announcement during a news conference Saturday.
Westmoreland County has activated its emergency operations center to monitor the coronavirus situation.
This is a preventative measure, and there are no cases have been reported in Westmoreland County.
A special election scheduled for Tuesday will go on as planned, officials said.
UPDATE 9 a.m.: The Diocese of Pittsburgh has cancelled the Rite of Election. In light of increasing concerns over the coronavirus, Bishop David Zubik has decided to cancel the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion scheduled for Sunday, March 15th at 2:30 p.m. at St. Paul Cathedral.
“I ask you to pray in a very special way for our catechumens and candidates as they take their final steps towards the Easter Sacraments,” said Bishop Zubik. “We add those intentions to our continued prayers for all affected by the threat of this coronavirus, especially the most vulnerable among us.”
UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: The Heinz History Center and Fort Pitt Museum will close to the public effective on Saturday, March 14, and remain closed through Sunday, March 29., officials said in a release Saturday.
Officials said the health and safety of their visitors, volunteers and staff is their top priority.
UPDATE 8 a.m.: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the United States and globally, UPMC experts in emergency medicine, diagnostic test development and pediatrics will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. provide updates.
UPDATE 6:30 a.m.: The Westmoreland County Commissioners will hold a news conference at 9 a.m. at the Westmoreland County Courthouse to address coronavirus.
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