TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates March 29

Gov. Wolf requests Major Disaster Declaration for coronavirus

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania has more than 3,300 cases of the novel coronavirus and 38 people have died. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.

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UPDATE 6:23 p.m.: WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump is extending the voluntary national shutdown for a month as sickness and death from the coronavirus pandemic rise in the U.S.

The initial 15-day period of social distancing urged by the federal government expires Monday and Trump had expressed interest in relaxing the national guidelines at least in parts of the country less afflicted by the pandemic. But instead he decided to extend them through April 30, a tacit acknowledgment he’d been too optimistic. Many states and local governments have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

UPDATE 4:23 p.m.: One of the priests in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh who had been in isolation after exposure to someone who had coronavirus has now tested positive, according to the diocese.

Father Adam Potter, Parochial Vicar of the Greenfield, Hazelwood, Oakland grouping, as well as chaplain for Oakland Catholic High School in Oakland got the positive test results today.

The diocese said he continues to follow quarantine guidelines.

Yesterday, Father Thomas Gramc (Dormont, Mt. Lebanon, Scott Township, Seton La Salle High School) also showed mild symptoms and is self quarantined. He is also being tested for COVID-19.

Neither priest has had any contact with students or faculty of the high schools, since their closure on March 13. Information is being shared with those who may have had contact with the priests.

The entire clergy teams at the parish groupings of (Saint Paul Cathedral-Oakland, St. Regis-Oakland, St. Rosalia-Greenfield, St. Stephen-Hazelwood) and (Saint Bernard in Mount Lebanon, Our Lady of Grace-Scott Township) began 14-day voluntary quarantine yesterday, March 28, 2020.

UPDATE 4:17 p.m.: There are now more positive cases of COVID-19 at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, according to Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center Medical Director Dave Thimons.

There are 19 total positive cases. Fourteen of those positive residents are still in the building in the COVID-19 unit and five are in the hospital.

Initially, 6 residents was in the hospital but has since returned to the nursing home.

“Looks like 14 positive with five in the hospital now. One of the hospitalized patients came back to us," Thimons said.

Thimons confirmed the patient that came back to the nursing home still has COVID-19.

UPDATE 12:02 p.m.: State health officials are giving an update as the number of positive cases in PA are now at 3,394.

Here is a breakdown of the latest numbers from the state by county:

  • Allegheny County: 265 cases, 2 deaths
  • Butler County: 47 cases, 2 deaths
  • Beaver County: 28 cases
  • Lawrence County: 8 cases, 1 death
  • Mercer County: 7 cases
  • Venango County: 1 case
  • Clarion County: 1 case
  • Armstrong County: 3 cases
  • Indiana County; 2 cases
  • Westmoreland County: 47 cases
  • Fayette County: 10 cases
  • Greene County: 6 cases
  • Washington County: 24 cases

UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: The latest numbers were just released by the Allegheny County Health Department.

  • 265 positive cases
  • 35 patients hospitalized
  • 2 deaths

Here is the breakdown of cases in Allegheny County by age group:

  • 0-4: <1%
  • 5-12: <1%
  • 13-18: 2%
  • 19-24: 11%
  • 25-49: 45% (120 cases)
  • 50-64: 28%
  • 65+: 14%

UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: Gov. Tom Wolf has requested a Major Disaster Declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for additional support for the state, county and local governments to help fight coronavirus.

This declaration, if approved, would provide the same measures that President Trump already approved under a nationwide emergency order issued in late January. Those things include money for loan programs, crisis counseling, disaster SNAP benefits and more.

Signing this statewide declaration is a required step to request the federal resources, according to the governor’s office.

UPDATE 6:55 a.m.: Two clergy teams are in self-quarantine and two priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh are in isolation after exposure to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus on March 27, according to church officials.

The two priests -- Father Adam Potter (Greenfield, Hazelwood, Oakland, Oakland Catholic High School) and Father Thomas Gramc (Dormont, Mt. Lebanon, Scott Township, Seton La Salle High School) -- have shown “mild symptoms” of COVID-19 and are being tested for the virus.

Both high schools where they appear have been closed since March 13. Neither priest has had any contact with students or faculty since then, officials said.

Because of those priests showing symptoms, the diocese has instructed two “clergy teams” who work at the same churches as the priests to self-quarantine.

Below were the listed churches:

  • Saint Paul Cathedral - Oakland, St. Regis - Oakland, St. Rosalia - Greenfield, St. Stephen - Hazelwood, Saint Bernard - Mount Lebanon, Our Lady of Grace - Scott Township

Out of caution and concern that these situations could be replicated in other parishes, officials said Bishop David Zubik has issued the following modifications to the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s coronavirus response policies:

  • While livestream celebrations of Masses from each of those affected parish groupings will cease effective immediately and until further notice, livestream Masses and worship services from the diocese and other parishes will continue.
  • All opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in churches or church parking lots are immediately suspended at all parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
  • All church buildings in the Diocese of Pittsburgh are to be locked until further notice, due to the fact that we are told that the virus can live on surfaces for an extended period of time.
  • All Funeral Masses or services in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, inclusive of those at funeral homes, are immediately cancelled until further notice. Direct burials of the deceased should be celebrated with memorial Masses to occur at a later time.
  • All Baptism ceremonies in the Diocese of Pittsburgh are suspended immediately and until further notice. In cases of emergency (in danger of death), people should contact their priest for guidance.
  • All Wedding ceremonies in the Diocese of Pittsburgh are suspended immediately and until further notice. Parishes will be working directly with all couples who have scheduled weddings.
  • The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick may occur only in the case of immediate danger of death.

Additionally, fifteen residents at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a release from the facility.

At the nursing home, officials said several other residents were tested but were negative for coronavirus.

The facility had its first days a few days ago, and within 48 hours, there are now 15 positive cases. Five of those residents are at Heritage Valley Hospital because they were having significant symptoms and respiratory problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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