PITTSBURGH — Cases of the novel coronavirus in Pennsylvania have surpassed 370. Furthering steps to help limit the virus’ spread, Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in the state to close their physical locations. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.
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UPDATE 9:06 p.m.: A New Kensington-Arnold School District employee tested positive for COVID-19, according to the district.
The district said while there is no proof of the source, the employee was a member of a group that traveled to New York City on the Band Booster’s Academic Field Trip.
Around 102 people traveled in the group March 5 and returned March 8.
The people on the trip may have been exposed, according to the district, but adequate time has likely passed and the incubation period for then should close by Monday, March 23rd.
UPDATE 7:53 p.m.: The Connellsville Area School District confirmed that a district employee has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 on March 21.
The district said the employee, who works at the high school, is experiencing flu-like symptoms that have resulted in fatigue and bed rest.
The employee and employee’s family, even though they’re not showing symptoms, were directed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The district said the employee hasn’t been to any district building or participated in any district initiatives since March 13.
The employee didn’t show any symptoms until March 18.
UPDATE 6:00 p.m.: Gov. Tom Wolf reaffirmed his decision to enforce the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses starting tomorrow at 8 a.m.
During a virtual news conference, the governor said he would continue to evaluate the situation and hopefully lighten up on the restrictions when there is a decline in cases of the virus.
The governor’s order will be enforced by state troopers, local officials, the state Health and Agriculture departments and the Liquor Control Board.
Businesses that fail to comply risk citations, fines, license suspensions and possible jail time.
UPDATE 5:43 p.m.: The first coronavirus death has been reported in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County officials said the 72-year-old man, who lived in Abington Township, died March 21 after being hospitalized for several days.
“Today, we are deeply saddened to announce the first loss of life to COVID-19 in Montgomery County. On behalf of our entire community, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of this individual,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “While most people with COVID-19 exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, this loss of life underscores the urgent need for everyone to stay at home, unless absolutely necessary, to protect individuals who are particularly vulnerable to developing more serious illness, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as well as our critical workforces like healthcare workers and first responders.”
UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: The University of Pittsburgh announced it has a confirmed coronavirus case in one of its Pittsburgh campus residence halls.
The university said it has also been made aware of other potential cases within the university community.
The school said it will be following existing protocols and working with local health officials to help reduce the spread. The efforts include:
· Retracing the affected individual’s movements.
· Reaching out to people who have had close contact with the individual; these contacts have all been made at this time.
· Cleaning and disinfecting areas where this individual resided and any other areas this individual visited for a prolonged period.
The university also said early last week they began moving all students who are still on campus to residences where they will be in private rooms with individual bathrooms.
UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Mon Health announced its hospitals, offices and clinics will remain visitor free for the foreseeable future.
There are four areas that are the exception. The health system said the following areas will permit one adult visitor to accompany the patient:
- Labor and delivery
- End of life care (Hospice)
- Patients undergoing surgery or invasive procedures
- Extreme circumstances when exceptions may be required
The health system also announced they are now offering drive-through COVID-19 testing for pre-screened, pre-registered patients at four locations.
- Mon Health Medical Center: Monday-Friday from 9am-1pm and 2pm-7pm in the SurgiCare South parking lot on the main campus. To pre-screen, please call (304) 285-3798.
- Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital: Monday-Friday from 10a-12p and 1-4p in the Kingwood Elementary School parking lot. To pre-screen, please call (304) 329-7285.
- Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital: Monday-Friday from 9a-1p and 2p-7p at the Market Place Mall. To pre-screen, please call 304-517-1584.
- Mon Health affiliate hospital, Grafton City Hospital: As Needed from 12p-4p at Grafton High School. To pre-screen, please call 304-265-0400.
UPDATE 3:16 p.m: A Robert Morris University shuttle drive has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university.
The Pittsburgh Transportation Group, which operates RMU’s shuttles, informed the university today.
The driver’s most recent shifts were March 7, 8, 14, 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the All-Nighter shuttle that goes from Yorktown Hall to campus to the Wal-Mart on University Boulevard.
According to the university, UPMC has advised RMU to notify anyone who may have been on the shuttle.
It said because the driver last worked on March 15, and symptoms are most likely to occur within five to seven days, all are deemed to be at low risk for infection.
UPDATE 2:57 p.m.: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a “stay at home” order for the state.
Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, signed a stay-at-home order for Ohio that will go into effect Monday at 11:59 p.m. and will last until April 6.
The Mayor of Philadelphia also issued a stay-at-home order.
Some of the exceptions include getting food, prescriptions or medical care, as well as going to essential jobs.
Outdoor activities like walking, walking your dog and running are also OK, as long as social distancing is practiced.
UPDATE 2:22 p.m.: Pittsburgh Police have issued more information as the 8 a.m. deadline approaches for the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses.
Police said the department will still respond to 911 calls and other complaints if businesses do not comply with the order. Officers will investigate and, if necessary, generate a report for businesses that are reported. Those reports will then be followed up on.
In a statement, police said:
"We are confident that this will not be an issue. The Pittsburgh business community wants to do what’s right for the greater safety of the community and we believe they will follow the guidelines and mandates. We understand that this is a difficult time for business owners, and we do not want anyone to be cited for non-compliance.
We are all in this together. We thank everyone for their understanding."
UPDATE 1:01 p.m.: Approximately 47 Pennsylvanians have required hospitalization due to the coronavirus, according to state health officials.
State health officials held their daily briefing about coronavirus across PA. Watch in the video below:
UPDATE 12:06 p.m.: The number of positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania has risen to 479 across 33 counties, with 108 new cases reported over yesterday.
Here is the latest breakdown for western PA:
- Allegheny Co.: 40 cases, 1 death
- Butler Co.: 1 case
- Beaver Co.: 3 cases
- Washington Co.: 7 cases
- Fayette Co.: 1 case
- Westmoreland Co.: 4 cases
- Mercer Co.: 1 cases
There are two new cases in Washington County, one new case in Fayette County and one new case in Mercer County, according to the state’s numbers.
Butler Health System also reports three new cases were found at their drive-up testing facility in Butler. Each patient has been instructed to quarantine at home.
State health officials said all patients testing positive are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. So far, 4,964 people have tested negative. There have been two deaths, including a person in Allegheny County.
UPDATE 11:51 a.m.: The Pennsylvania State Police said they will help enforce the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses throughout the state that is set to go into effect tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.. State police officials said troopers and liquor control enforcement officers are prepared to help enforce Gov. Wolf’s order.
UPDATE 11:49 a.m.: According to the Bellevue Borough Police Department, Kuhns Market is dedicating the first hour of business Monday, Wednesday and Friday to seniors, people with disabilities and those with compromised immune systems. The special shopping hour will go into effect starting tomorrow.
UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: Officials with Allegheny County announced the largest number yet of positive cases of coronavirus in the county. There are no 40 positive cases in the county 4 people hospitalized.
The county said there are a number of additional cases that have not yet been added into the system and the number of positive tests will continue to grow.
This number is an increase of 9 additional positive cases over Saturday’s number of 31.
UPDATE 10:38 a.m.: All Burgatory locations are closing out of an abundance of caution to deep clean and sanitize. In a message posted to social media, the company said a member of the executive team had fallen ill with “symptoms consistent with coronavirus.”
UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network and MSA Safety have partnered to ship 65,000 N95 masks to the Pittsburgh region to help local health systems treat coronavirus patients.
Officials with MSA Safety, based in Cranberry Township, said they were happy to donate their entire U.S. stock of the masks to help keep people safe.
Leaders from the organizations will help coordinate distribution of the masks to local facilities and agencies.
Here is what an N95 mask looks like:
UPDATE 9:55 a.m.: St. Clair Hospital’s new visitation rules go into effect today. The facility will not be allowing visitors, except in certain instances.
More details in the video below:
UPDATE 6:45 a.m.: The first person in Allegheny County died from the coronavirus on Saturday. The Mayor of Clairton, Rich Lattanzi, confirmed in a Facebook post that the person was a Clairton resident.
Health officials have said the patient was an adult who was being treated in a local hospital.
Butler County officials also announced the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed there.
Additionally, St. Clair Hospital is closed to visitors starting today. According to press release from the company, the Mt. Lebanon hospital said they are putting the new measures in place “to ensure the health and safety of patients and staff.”
Giant Eagle also announced that the company will award some $10 million in bonus pay to employees. The pay is retroactive to March 15 and will be offered to all employees at Giant Eagle, Market District, Giant Eagle Pharmacy and GetGo locations.
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