TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates April 2

RAW: Pennsylvania Department of Health coronavirus update

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania has more than 7,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and 90 people have died. 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 10:05 p.m.: Another Giant Eagle employee has tested positive for COVID-19, company officials confirmed.

The employee, who works at the Murrysville store on Old William Penn Highway, was last there on March 27.

Giant Eagle said that store has been sanitized and remains open. You can view the latest updates from the grocery chain here.

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.: A resident at a Butler County personal care home has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated at a hospital.

Officials said the person was staying at Concordia at the Orchard in Butler and is now at Butler Memorial Hospital.

Residents there have been in isolation since March 29 as staff monitors them for symptoms of the virus.

They released a full statement below:

"This statement is to alert the public that on Thursday, April 2 we learned that one of our residents at Concordia at the Orchard, a Personal Care Home located in Butler, PA, tested positive for COVID-19. The resident is currently at Butler Memorial Hospital. We have notified our residents, their families and other Concordia at the Orchard employees.

We are taking our residents’ vital signs multiple times per shift and actively monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Residents will remain in isolation, as they have been since Sunday, March 29. All direct caregivers at the facility are utilizing N95 face masks. When caring for anyone with respiratory symptoms, full PPE is being worn. Ancillary staff members are wearing surgical masks as well.

We are putting our full corporate resources behind the residents and staff at Concordia at the Orchard to help minimize the risk of the virus spreading."

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Giant Eagle announced they will be dedicating its first shopping hour on Thursdays and Fridays for first responders.

On these two days, the store will open its doors an hour early for police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and other trained members of organizations connected with this type of work.

Team members will not be asking for employment verification, but the company asks that other guests respect this dedicated hour.

The company also announced all Giant Eagle, Market District and GetGo locations will be closed on Easter, April 12.

After the first hour, Giant Eagle and Market District will go back to their current operating hour of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“Our Team Members have been working around the clock to provide a safe shopping environment for our guests and to ensure access to essential food, fuel and medicines, and we cannot thank them enough for their heroic efforts throughout this pandemic,” said Giant Eagle Spokesperson Jannah Jablonowski. “We thank our guests for helping us recognize our Team Members in this special way and encourage everyone in our communities to please keep these closures in mind as you plan your food, fuel and prescription needs next week.”

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: Highmark has made a $2 million contribution to support organizations focused on helping people in need through out Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Pennsylvania, grants are being made to:

  • The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
  • Greater Berks Helping Harvest Fresh Food Bank
  • Westmoreland County Food Bank
  • Lehigh Valley/NEPA Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Northwest Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
  • Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank
  • Mercer Community Food Warehouse
  • Allegheny Health Network Healthy Food Centers

Funds and programs set up to support human services organizations have also been chosen to receive support in Pennsylvania, including:

  • COVID-19 Community Response Fund of the Greater Lehigh Valley
  • The Monroe County Crisis Response Fund of the Pocono Mountains United Way
  • Luzerne County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund of The Luzerne Foundation
  • The COVID 19 Community Response Fund of The Fund for Enhancing Communities
  • The United Way of the Capital Region COVID-19 Basic Needs Fund
  • Emergency Action Fund – Pittsburgh Foundation
  • Emergency Basic Needs Fund (United Way of SWPA)
  • The United Way of the Laurel Highlands
  • COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund – Erie Community Foundation

Also in Pennsylvania, grants from the Highmark Foundation will support 25 community-based health care organizations, focused on strengthening their capacity to serve those who are uninsured and underserved:

  • Harrisburg Mission of Mercy
  • McKeesport Ninth Street Clinic
  • Birmingham Free Clinic
  • Catholic Charities
  • Free Clinic at Braddock
  • Operation Safety Net
  • Sheep Inc. Health Care Center
  • Western Berks Free Medical Clinic
  • Jean B. Purvis Community Health Center
  • Highlands Health
  • Centre Volunteers in Medicine
  • Free Medical Clinic of DuBois
  • Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine
  • Meadville Area Free Clinic
  • Beacon Clinic for Health & Hope
  • Corry Area Free Clinic
  • The Edward Leahy Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured
  • Hope Within Ministries
  • Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicin
  • Wilkes-Barre Volunteers in Medicine
  • Katallasso Family Health Center
  • Metro Community Health Center
  • Mon Valley Community Health Services Inc.
  • Sharon Community Health Center, Inc.

In Delaware, $200,000 will go to strategic COVID-19 emergency response initiatives in the state.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: The Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center said that 38 residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials said one resident died overnight, but its not clear if COVID-19 directly contributed to their death.

The facility released the following statement:

"As we continue to navigate this crisis together, note that more than a week ago Brighton had successfully acquired all CDC recommended PPE’s, and had a strong treatment program in place for residents. Yesterday, we added a much needed agreement with our labor union partner.

We cannot fully express our residents’ appreciation and respect for those who are working hard day-in and day-out at this unprecedented time. We do hope that a big THANK YOU and Brighton’s agreement with all Union requests will help us to move forward in unity as we all do our part to care for our residents in need.

Every person in our community at least partially understands the difficulties and sacrifices being made by our staff to care for more than 460 souls and do their best to keep them out of harm’s way. Some express their feelings as fear; others show love and support; still others respond with humor, or sadness. We understand all of these as we too are all human; the brave and able are all serving for the common good and we plan to stand by our residents to the very best of our ability until we come out the other side of this pandemic. While the prognosis is not as good as we would like for those of advanced age with a host of comorbidities, many nursing home residents are recovering from COVID-19, and all are very worthy of our efforts. We fully intend to continue to give our residents what they deserve — our care, our love, and our best efforts."

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is reminding people they can get outside, but to remember the importance of social distancing.

The department released these guidelines and tips for people looking to safely get outdoors:

  • If you have a yard, spend time there outdoors every day.
  • If possible, take a walk around your neighborhood with the people in your family, as long as you can stay six feet away from neighbors.
  • If you decide to leave your neighborhood, plan for several alternate locations, so if you arrive at your first one and there are crowds, you can move on.
  • Choose a less busy time of day, such as early morning.
  • Find a local park or trail that offers enough space for social distancing. Pennsylvania has more than 6,000 local parks that are identified on an interactive map.
  • Some municipalities have closed local parks to protect visitors and employees, so check the status of the park before you go. If the park is open, bathrooms and water fountains likely will not be, so plan ahead.
  • There also are more than 12,000 miles of trails in Pennsylvania, most of which remain accessible during this period. Find a nearby trail at trails.dcnr.pa.gov.

UPDATE 12:05 p.m.: There are 1,211 additional positive cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, bringing the total to 7,016, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Of the total number of cases, 737 are in western Pennsylvania.

In addition to the new cases, 16 more deaths have been reported. The statewide death total is now at 90.

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Here is a breakdown of cases in western Pennsylvania counties:

  • Allegheny County: 419
  • Fayette County: 15
  • Washington County: 38
  • Beaver County: 55
  • Butler County: 69
  • Lawrence County: 16
  • Westmoreland County: 84
  • Mercer County: 9
  • Greene County: 11
  • Armstrong County: 7
  • Indiana County: 6
  • Venango County: 3
  • Clarion: 4
  • Forest: 1

There are 47,698 patients who have tested negative, the Department of Health said.

Of the people who have tested positive, here is a percentage breakdown by age group:

  • Nearly 1% are aged 0-4
  • Nearly 1% are aged 5-12
  • 1% are aged 13-18
  • Nearly 9% are aged 19-24
  • Nearly 41% are aged 25-49
  • Nearly 29% are aged 50-64
  • 19% are aged 65 or older

UPDATE 11:40 a.m.: There is a potential vaccine for COVID-19, doctors and researchers from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh announced Thursday.

The vaccine, which is delivered through a fingertip-sized patch, produces what is thought to be enough antibodies to neutralize the virus.

Researchers said viruses closely related to the new coronavirus show that spike proteins are important when it comes to inducing immunity. The potential vaccine works like the current flu vaccine in that it uses lab-made pieces of viral protein to build immunity.

The potential vaccine is being called PittCoVacc, short for Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine.

UPDATE 11:35 a.m.: Thirteen more businesses have been given warnings by Pennsylvania State Police for failing to comply with Gov. Tom Wolf’s order for non-life-sustaining businesses to close.

Since last Monday, a total of 136 businesses have been given warnings.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: There are 63 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 419, the Allegheny County Health Department announced. Seventy people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and the number of deaths has remained at two.

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Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 2
  • 5-12 years: 2
  • 13-18 years: 6
  • 19-24 years: 38
  • 25-49 years: 182
  • 50-64 years: 116
  • 65+ years: 73

Of the cases, 213 are female and 206 are male.

“Today’s numbers reflect an increase in testing and could account for tests performed over multiple days and reported at once. We know there is community spread and expect to see the number of cases increase as more people are tested,” a news release said.

UPDATE 10:50 a.m.: Peoples is donating $100,000 to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to help in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: In an effort to conserve personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is waiving the requirement that shelters and rescues spay/neuter dogs and cats prior to adoption.

“The waiver comes with a contingency: shelters must keep a list of adopters to follow up with post-pandemic and provide a copy of all contracts to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Once the pandemic is in the past, shelters would be required to follow up on all pets adopted during COVID-19 mitigation. Adoptive pet owners will have up to 120 days from the time of adoption -- timeframe to be re-evaluated as necessary -- to have the procedure completed and come into compliance,” a news release said.

UPDATE 8:05 a.m.: Highmark is waiving deductible, co-insurance and co-pays for members who require in-network, inpatient hospital care for COVID-19.

“The decision applies to members with group employer coverage (self-funded groups may elect to opt into the program), as well as ACA and Medicare members,” a news release said.

The waiver will continue through May 31.

Out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and telehealth were previously waived.

UPDATE 7:30 a.m.: Allegheny Health Network is turning its Highmark Health Penn Avenue Place auditorium into a COVID-19 test kit production center.

The goal is to create 6,000 new kits by the end of this week, and thousands more in the weeks ahead.

AHN said the test kit production center is part of its efforts to prepare for the coronavirus surge that is expected to hit western Pennsylvania in the coming weeks.

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UPDATE 4:45 a.m.: Two employees in the Laurel Highlands School District have the coronavirus.

Both employees work at Hutchinson Elementary School. One of them is hospitalized and the other is in quarantine at home, according to a letter from the school district’s superintendent.

“The employees have not been to any LHSD buildings nor have the employees participated in any LHSD initiatives since the ‘onset’ date of March 20, 2020. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services, the risk level for further infection is low due to current mitigated timelines,” the letter said.

CLICK HERE to read letter.

2 school employees in Laurel Highland SD have coronavirus

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf expanded a stay-at-home order to the entire state Wednesday as the number of coronavirus cases reached 5,805.

Of the cases in Pennsylvania, 643 of them are in western Pennsylvania. Seventy-four people have died statewide.

Among those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are a Pittsburgh firefighter and the pastor of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg’s Holy Family Parish in Latrobe, officials announced Wednesday.

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