PITTSBURGH — The novel coronavirus has made its way to Pennsylvania as it continues to spread throughout the United States and around the world. Keep checking back for the latest COVID-19 updates throughout the day.
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UPDATE 10:52 p.m.: The Fox Chapel Area School District will be closing all schools Friday out of an abundance of caution.
The district said they were alerted to a parent of a Fox Chapel High School student who is ill and concerned about potential exposure to the coronavirus.
In an email to parents, it said “The district is closing in a proactive effort to safeguard the health and safety of our entire educational community.”
It said the child who attends the high school is currently not any symptoms or signs of illness.
UPDATE 10:32 p.m.: The PGA Tour announced the cancellation of The Players Championship and all events through the Valero Texas Open.
UPDATE 9:26 p.m.: The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said four schools will be closed on Friday.
Saint Bede elementary school (Point Breeze), East Catholic (Forest Hills), and Saint Therese of Lisieux (Munhall) will be closed for sanitizing.
It said a few students and adults from those schools will remain at home for 14 days because they may have possibly been exposed to someone who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.
Serra Catholic High School (McKeesport) will be also closed tomorrow. Students will have “chrome from home” online classes while the school is sanitized.
The diocese also said said they canceling classes in all schools in the diocese on Monday for an in-service day for teachers so they can prepare for the possibility of closures.
It said no one in their community has any known symptoms or has reported any interaction with someone that tested positive for the virus and they are doing this out of an abundance of caution.
UPDATE 9:01 p.m.: Pennsylvania American Water said they will stop service shut-offs to keep customers safe as long as the pandemic lasts.
They said they will also restore water service to customers whose service was shut off.
They are also said that their water meets all current federal and state drinking water requirements.
UPDATE 6:28 p.m.: Rochester Area School District in Beaver County will be closed on Friday.
School officials said two of their students may have been in contact with the coronavirus, but there is no indication that the students had or has symptoms.
All after school activities and the band trip is cancelled as well on Friday.
School is expected to resume Monday.
UPDATE 5:49 p.m.: Community College of Allegheny County is suspending classes through March 17, and will resume classes on March 18 online.
“The college is committed to making decisions that are in the best interests of our students, faculty and staff as well as four our friends and neighbors living in the wider community,” CCAC President Quintin Bullock said.
Separately, Bethany College in West Virginia has announced that it will extend spring break through March 23 and resume with online classes at that point.
“The health and safety of the Bethany community has and always will be our highest priority, and it is that commitment that guides us now as we prepare to take some significant steps to safeguard all those in our care to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the nation,” Bethany President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg said.
UPDATE 5:34 p.m.: City High will be closed on Friday after school officials said two students visited Italy within the last month.
According to a release from the school, neither the parent nor students have tested positive for coronavirus and they do not have symptoms.
The building will be closed and will undergo a full disinfection.
Monday is already a scheduled day off. School is expected to resume on Tuesday.
UPDATE 5:10 p.m.: Pittsburgh Brookline K-8 will be closed on Friday.
According to a release from Pittsburgh Public Schools, district officials received information that a relative of Pittsburgh Brookline students may have been exposed to the coronavirus while traveling out of state.
The district said it will be deep cleaning the school.
“While there are no presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Allegheny County, we feel it best to err on the side of great caution and treat facilities when we receive information of potential exposure to the coronavirus,” Superintendent Anthony Hamlet, Ed.D.
The district have also put the following procedures in place starting on Monday:
- The cancellation of all building permits, except for before and aftercare providers, and afterschool programs.
- All All-City Arts activities and upcoming musicals are postponed until further notice.
UPDATE 4:22 p.m.: The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been suspended.
All regularly scheduled masses will remain open to the public for those who wish to attend, the diocese said.
UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: (AP) -- NCAA cancels men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments amid coronavirus fears.
UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market had its biggest drop since the Black Monday crash of 1987 as fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis deepened. The Dow industrials plunged more than 2,300 points, or 10%. The sell-of came despite action from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. The steep drops over the last month have wiped out most of the big run-up on Wall Street since President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Markets have turned turbulent amid a cascade of shutdowns across the globe and rising worries that the White House and other authorities around the world can’t or won’t help the weakening economy any time soon.
UPDATE 4 p.m.: Officials from Allegheny County, UPMC and Allegheny Health Network held news conference to provide coronavirus guidance.
Watch the whole news conference below:
UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: The Catholic Diocese of Greensburg has announced that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been suspended.
Priests will still be available and all regularly scheduled masses will remain open to the public.
UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: The Wilkinsburg School District is closing Friday and Monday “out of an abundance of caution.”
The decision was announced by the school board, which said this will allow for a deep-clean of all district buildings.
In a statement from the district, leaders said there is no evidence of COVID-19 in the district.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. Taking a day now, on top of the special clean-and-disinfect measures our own custodial staff have been doing every day, is smart for prevention and precaution,” the statement said.
UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: Heinz Chapel has announced that after this weekend it is canceling all events through the end of May.
This includes weddings, concerts and other events.
UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Major League Baseball has announced that it is canceling all Spring Training games as of 4 p.m. today and delaying Opening Day by at least two weeks.
According to a release from the league, the decision was made after a call with all of the owners and the players association.
The Pittsburgh Pirates chairman Bob Nutting issued the following statement:
"The Pirates are in full agreement with and supportive of the Commissioner’s decision.
As this situation evolves, so too will our response. What will not change, however, is how much we care about our fans, players, employees and the wellbeing of our community.
Our front office team will continue to meet on a daily basis and will remain in constant communication with our medical expert partners at AHN and Highmark, as well as with Major League Baseball and government officials. We will provide information on any new developments and impacts as they become available.
Together we will work through this unprecedented situation as we look forward to the return of baseball as soon as possible."
UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is asking coordinators of local fish fries to go takeout only. This is inline with the governor’s message, which asked people to avoid large gatherings.
“In crating policies and procedures related to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), we join people from around the world who are working through the same things. As people of action, our focus will be on what steps we can take to protect all that we love.”
In the same letter, Bishop David Zubik said the diocese will work to keep educational programs open, but that they will be closed or canceled as necessary.
UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: During a news conference with the Department of Health, Gov. Wolf asked all Pennsylvanians to practice social distancing for the next two weeks.
Wolf said this includes going to parties, restaurants, movie theaters or public gyms.
UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: The National Hockey League has suspended its season, the league announced.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were in Columbus for a game against the Blue Jackets that was set to be held without fans.
“Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
UPDATE 1 p.m.: The A-10 tournament, which included Duquesne University, has been canceled. Other NCAA conferences include the Big Ten (Penn State), Big 12 (West Virginia University) and SEC have also made similar decisions.
“As the events unfolded over the past 24 hours - in particular the NBA decision to cancel - it became inevitable that there would be a cancellation of our tournament. It was a difficult administrative decision, but it’s the right one. The health and well-being of all involved is number one, without question," Duquesne Men’s Basketball Coach Keith Dambrot said.
UPDATE 12:50 p.m.: The Pittsburgh Riverhounds and all of the USL have suspended games for at least 30 days.
The Hounds were supposed to kickoff their season this weekend on the road and have their first home game on March 21. At this time there is no date for when play will resume.
UPDATE 12 p.m.: Robert Morris University announced Thursday it will not be selling tickets for the 2020 NCAA Tournament being that events related to it will be conducted with essential personnel and limited family attendance.
It was also announced that a viewing party scheduled for Sunday at the Yard in Robinson has been moved to the Eat’N Park Club at the UPMC Events Center. It will be viewed by student-athletes, coaches, essential personnel and limited family only.
UPDATE 10:50 a.m.: Of Pennsylvania’s five latest coronavirus cases announced Thursday morning, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said four are in Montgomery County and one is in Northampton County.
All of the patients are adults and are either in isolation at home or being treated at a hospital, officials said.
UPDATE 10:40 a.m.: There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, but with the likelihood of that happening, the Allegheny County Health Department updated its guidance and recommendations for vulnerable people.
Vulnerable people, according to the Health Department, include the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and those who are currently sick.
The Health Department is encouraging vulnerable people to follow the following proactive measures:
- Avoid large events and mass gatherings, as well as other settings where you would have close contact (within six feet) with a large group of people.
- Continue proactive hygiene measures such as washing your hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and frequently cleaning highly-touched surfaces.
- Stay home if you are sick and call your primary care provider to discuss next steps.
UPDATE 10:05 a.m.: Point Park University is moving all classes online for the remainder of the spring semester. CLICK HERE for more information.
UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: Coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania have reached 21, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said Thursday morning.
Below is a list of the counties affected and the number of cases:
- Bucks (2)
- Delaware (1)
- Monroe (2)
- Montgomery (13)
- Northampton (1)
- Philadelphia (1)
- Wayne (1)
UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: Woodland Hills Intermediate School has closed out of an abundance of caution because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.
The following message was posted on the Woodland Hills School District’s website:
“Out of an over abundance of caution, we are choosing to close the Woodland Hills Intermediate School, effective immediately, due to potential exposure to COVID-19. To be clear, there are no presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, however, because of a potential student’s interaction with a staff member of Colfax School, we are choosing to take this day to disinfect the building. Please note that the Intermediate School will reopen on Monday, March 16, 2020.”
A Pittsburgh Colfax student might have been exposed to the coronavirus from a relative outside of school, according to Pittsburgh Public Schools. That school is closed Thursday for cleaning.
UPDATE 6:57 a.m.: Carlow University announced all classes will be moved online for the remainder of the spring semester.
Courses that were face-to-face have been postponed by one week, resuming March 23. The university said this will give faculty time to finalize plans for online and alternative delivery methods.
Students enrolled in online courses will resume classes as scheduled on March 16.
“At this point in time, the residence halls will remain open, and the regularly scheduled athletic events will continue following the guidelines of the NAIA,” the university said.
UPDATE 6:35 a.m.: A Kent State University student who was studying at the school’s campus in Florence, Italy, is back home and in self-quarantine.
Gabriella Cole, a junior at Kent State, returned to the United States after the university sent out an email to students, informing them they were required to do so because of coronavirus concerns in Italy.
“So, we ended up … literally had a day or two to pack up our whole life that we had for two months and get on a plane and fly home because of the coronavirus,” Cole said.
Cole’s family was supposed to go visit her in April, but that trip is now on hold until at least May.
UPDATE 5:32 a.m.: A Pittsburgh Colfax student might have been exposed to the coronavirus from a relative outside of school, according to Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Out of an abundance of caution, Pittsburgh Colfax is closed Thursday so the school can be cleaned using an electrostatic machine.
A district spokesperson said it will receive guidance from the Allegheny County Health Department regarding the opening of the school.
UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: There are 16 cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, although none yet confirmed in western Pennsylvania.
So far, cases in the state -- which has a population of about 13 million -- are in Montgomery, Bucks, Wayne, Monroe, Philadelphia and Delaware counties, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
While Pittsburgh does not have any cases, city officials have taken precautions including cancelling the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that was scheduled for Saturday, banning international travel for city employees and banning meetings of more than 50 people.
A Pittsburgh Public Schools employee has self-quarantined out of extreme caution after a family member might have been exposed to the coronavirus while in another state.
Colleges in the area are also preparing for the spread of the coronavirus, with several deciding to move classes online.
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