PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 News is committed to keeping you informed about the coronavirus, the impact on our community and your lives. Below you’ll find all of today’s updates, including the latest numbers and information from local and state officials.
We’re also covering positive stories in our communities. You can find the most recent ones HERE.
UPDATE 3 p.m.: United Healthcare donated $20,000 to the Salvation Army to serve the meals that will come from local restaurants.
The food will go to those that need it, like kids that no longer have access to school lunches and parents who have lost their jobs.
The project is part of the “Better Together” program.
You can donate HERE.
Although the festivals won’t happen in-person, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is working to find a way to support them digitally.
As for those who have bought tickets, the Trust is working on getting refunds to them.
UPDATE 2 p.m.: Dr. Levine said there are counties in all 67 cases in Pennsylvania and that 1,869 positive cases are in 232 long term care living facilities such as nursing homes and personal care homes. There are now over 500 deaths in the state.
2,306 patients were hospitalized due to coronavirus across all hospitals in the state. 666 of those hospitalized have required the use of ventilators. Roughly 42% of all hospital beds, 37% of ICU beds and nearly 70% of ventilators are still available.
Dr. Levine said demographic information on those who have tested positive has been difficult to gather. More than 60% of reports submitted to the Department of Health are not including that information. Providers and laboratories are required to include that information.
She also said that the efforts in the state are paying off and that the curve is flattening.
UPDATE 1:00 p.m.: The Department of Agriculture waived the requirements for spaying and neutering pets before they are adopted out. Department officials said they did away with the rules because of the pandemic.
Agency officials said this will also help conserve PPE for healthcare workers. The waiver does have a contingency: shelters must keep a list of people adopting pets to follow up with once the pandemic is over. At that point, shelters will be required to follow up with those people, who have 120 days to have the procedure completed.
UPDATE 12:21 p.m.: Goodwill is opening “no-contact” donation areas at all 27 southwestern Pennsylvania stores.
Donations will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Officials said they are opening these areas due to the large numbers of items simply left outside stores that were closed down by the governor’s stay at home order. The amount of items caused health and safety issues, and resulted in employees tossing out items left in the weather.
People wanting to donate items can drive up to the area outside the store and put their items in specially marked bins or donation areas. Once items are dropped off, the items will be quarantined within the store.
CLICK HERE for a list of Goodwill locations
UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Positive cases of coronavirus are now over 25,000 in the state as of Tuesday at noon.
State health officials said there are now 25,345 positive cases with 60 new deaths across the state.
Here is a local breakdown by county:
- Allegheny Co.: 893 cases, 24 deaths
- Butler Co.: 143 cases, 5 deaths
- Beaver Co.: 156 cases, 14 deaths
- Washington Co.: 70 cases, 1 death
- Greene Co.: 23 cases
- Fayette Co.: 58 cases, 3 deaths
- Westmoreland Co.: 231 cases, 15 deaths
- Indiana Co.: 43 cases
- Armstrong Co.: 28 cases, 1 death
- Clarion Co.: 16 cases
- Venango Co.: 6 cases
- Forest Co.: 5 cases
- Lawrence Co.: 51 cases, 4 deaths
- Mercer Co.: 44 cases
In Westmoreland County, the coroner’s office said there were 15 deaths. The oldest person to die from the virus there was 109-years-old.
State health officials said 108,286 people have tested negative so far.
UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: There are 17 new positive cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, bringing the total to 893, the Allegheny County Health Department announced.
Officials said 142 people have been or are currently being hospitalized, and three more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 24. All deaths in the county have been people between the ages of 56 and 103, the Health Department said.
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Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:
- 0-4 years: 2
- 5-12 years: 4
- 13-18 years: 10
- 19-24 years: 72
- 25-49 years: 342
- 50-64 years: 249
- 65+ years: 213
Of the cases, 470 are female and 423 are male.
UPDATE 10:40 a.m.: Businesses that collect Pennsylvania sales tax will not have to make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) prepayments over the next three months and will not be charged penalties for missing the deadline during that period, Gov. Tom Wolf announced.
“The spread of COVID-19 has put a tremendous strain on many businesses throughout the commonwealth that collect Pennsylvania sales tax,” Wolf said. “Waiving this prepayment requirement will provide support to our businesses at a time when they are doing their part to help us prevent the spread of the virus.”
The Department of Revenue is waiving the prepayment requirement in April, May and June to help business owners with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Under this new scenario, the department is asking businesses to simply remit the sales tax that they collected during the prior month. The due dates to remit sales tax will be April 20, May 20 and June 22, which follows the standard due dates for monthly filers who have no prepayment requirement,” a news release said.
UPDATE 10:15 a.m.: A woman accused of intentionally coughing on a drive-thru worker at a McDonald’s in Westmoreland County and telling the worker, “l hope you get COVID-19 and die,” has been charged with assault, Pennsylvania State Police said.
The incident happened April 3 at the McDonald’s on Route 30 in Hempfield Township.
Sharon Powell, 48, of North Huntingdon, was allegedly upset because her drink was handed to her in a to-go cup holder, according to a criminal complaint. When she tried to hand it back through the window, she was told food items are not allowed to re-enter the restaurant and that the to-go cup holders were being used to avoid contact during the coronavirus pandemic.
UPDATE 9:15 a.m. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are now available to Pennsylvanians, U.S. Representative Mike Doyle announced.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program provides workers who have lost their jobs with an additional $600 per week through July 25.
CLICK HERE for more information.
UPDATE 8:45 a.m.: Allegheny Health Network is opening additional collection sites for COVID-19 testing in Braddock and on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
The testing site in Braddock will be at AHN’s urgent care center at 501 Braddock Avenue. The North Side testing site will be at the former Divine Providence Hospital at 1004 Arch Street.
AHN said the collection sites will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
“To undergo testing at the new locations, patients will need to have a valid prescription order for the test from an AHN affiliated health care provider and have an appointment scheduled. Those who have appointments for testing at the Braddock or North Side location can either drive through or walk into the site for their test,” a news release said.
On-demand or walk-up testing without an appointment is not available at these locations.
AHN said people who are sent to the testing locations should be aware of the following:
- Patients will be given a specific appointment window, in order to minimize wait times.
- Patients will drive or walk through a secured, marked area.
- No outdoor restrooms will available at the collection locations.
- The sample is collected via a nasal swab and the process typically takes less than 30 seconds, not including any wait times.
- The sample will be tested for influenza as well as the novel coronavirus.
- Testing results for the coronavirus typically take 5-7 days, depending on regional test volume. Individuals will be contacted directly with their results. As volumes increase, wait times for results may be longer.
- While waiting for their test results, individuals should stay at home. Those who receive positive COVID-19 test results may be issued additional care or self-isolation orders.
UPDATE 6:30 a.m.: A survey is asking families for their input to help improve COVID-19 response efforts.
The Family Strengths Survey was started because community groups wanted to get a sense of what the unmet needs are in western Pennsylvania.
After the first week of the online survey, respondents said they need help with financial, mental and emotional stress.
“Families are reporting both, in part, that they haven't been able to support their kids in those areas but, even more, they themselves need more,” Dr. Kristin Ray, a pediatrician at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said.
Ray said families also need more help with food, childcare, education, mental health and unemployment.
CLICK HERE for the survey, which can be taken weekly online or over the phone.
UPDATE 5:30 a.m.: Six workers at the Smithfield Foods plant in Arnold have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
Four people reported positive tests last week and two more tested positive Monday, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 President Wendell Young said.
The employees who tested positive have not been to work for several days, officials said.
According to officials, safety measures had been implemented at the plant before anyone tested positive for the virus. Those safety measures included rigorous cleaning day and night.
A Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was forced to close after nearly 300 of its workers tested positive for COVID-19.
UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: Across Pennsylvania, there were 24,199 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 524 deaths as of Monday. Health officials said 105,593 people have tested negative for the virus.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said new cases have seemingly plateaued and the rate of increase seems to be slowing down.
The governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island held a conference call Monday to discuss creating a new plan to restore the regional economy and get people back to work.
The group, consisting of the governors, a health expert and an economic development expert, among other people, is working to figure out how to lift the state-issued stay-at-home orders while keeping people safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan will include COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, social distancing and other tools.
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