TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates May 20

Bars, restaurants should reopen soon, Allegheny Co. executive says

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746 new positive COVID-19 cases in Pa.; all 67 counties have confirmed cases

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced 746 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 64,412.

As of Wednesday, all 67 counties in Pa. have positive COVID-19 cases. There are 4,767 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 143 new deaths in the state.

The health department said there are 293,244 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Nearly 1% are ages 0-4;
  • Nearly 1% are ages 5-12;
  • Nearly 2% are ages 13-18;
  • Nearly 6% are ages 19-24;
  • Nearly 37% are ages 25-49;
  • Nearly 26% are ages 50-64; and
  • Nearly 29% are ages 65 or older.

No new deaths, 29 additional coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: The Allegheny County Health Department reported since March 14, there are now 1,687 cases as of Wednesday. That’s an increase of 29 coronavirus cases over Tuesday. This breaks down to 1,594 confirmed cases and 93 probable cases.

There have been no additional deaths, keeping the total number coronavirus deaths in Allegheny County at 144. Of reported deaths, 133 are confirmed or had a positive test and 11 are probable.

Here is a breakdown of cases by age group:

  • 0-4 years: 6 (less than 1%)
  • 5-12 years: 6 (less than 1%)
  • 13-18 years: 19 (1%)
  • 19-24 years: 110 (7%)
  • 25-49 years: 558 (33%)
  • 50-64 years: 464 (28%)
  • 65+ years: 524 (31%)

Allegheny County Executive says state should consider reopening restaurants, barber shops and gyms

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: It’s been six days since Allegheny County moved into the yellow phase and on Monday, the county health director said it’s still too early to tell if we will see a spike in cases.

She said that will take ten to 14 days.

County executive Rich Fitzgerald said he’s gotten great cooperation from the business community, and he said many employees are still working from home.

“It’s probably time for the state to consider moving some of these businesses that have very, very sound plans and ways in which they can keep the physical distancing of both the employees and their customers, in that range,” Fitzgerald said.

The health director said since last Friday, they've administered 60 tests at the six health centers for the low income in Allegheny county. They've gotten 40 back and only two are positive.

Fitzgerald said given the low number of positive cases throughout the county, it’s time for the state to consider opening restaurants, barber shops and gyms. He said many of them already have safety plans in place.

Fitzgerald suspects the state is considering the move and he expects to hear something in the next couple of weeks.

He's hoping they'll be reopened by mid-June.

And with the unofficial start of the summer this weekend and parties and cookouts planned, Fitzgerald also urged people to continue social distancing and to limit gatherings to less than 25 people.

Bars, restaurants should reopen soon, Allegheny Co. executive says

Butler Transit Authority buying equipment to test workers’ temperatures

UPDATE 4 p.m.: A Meridian temperature check kiosk will be installed outside its Hollywood Drive facility.

The authority will use it to screen drivers and other workers daily. The building’s doors will only be unlocked if their temperature is in the acceptable range.

Stores in Beaver Co. prepare to move into ‘yellow’ phase

UPDATE 3:00 p.m.: Boscov’s in the Beaver Valley Mall will reopen this Saturday at 11 a.m.

There will be a dedicated time for shoppers at higher risk for an hour on Mondays.

Pa. will distribute $51 million to support child care providers

UPDATE 12:45 p.m.: The funding will be for 7,000 child care centers across the state, including several in local counties.

“This CARES Act funding allows us to support child care providers who are undoubtedly feeling the current strain on their businesses so they can continue to be a resource for families around Pennsylvania," said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller.

Distribution by county:

  • Allegheny -- $4,222,400
  • Westmoreland -- $842,500
  • Fayette -- $613,000
  • Butler -- $478,600
  • Beaver -- $450,100
  • Indiana -- $322,300
  • Armstrong -- $310,300
  • Mercer -- $253,900
  • Lawrence -- $205,200
  • Clarion -- $194,300
  • Venango -- $163,200
  • Greene -- $154,000

Allegheny Co., PA Department of Health COVID-19 data delayed

UPDATE 12:00 p.m.: Due to technology issues with Pennsylvania’s National Electronic Disease Surveillance System, the Allegheny County and Pennsylvania coronavirus data has been delayed.

SNAP recipients approved to use online grocery purchasing during COVID-19 crisis

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: The Wolf Administration received approval Wednesday from the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow Pennsylvania to join the pilot program that lets recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to buy groceries online through participating retailers.

Now that approval has been received, the Department of Human Services is working with its EBT vendor and approved retailers to implement system changes necessary to implement online payment for PA’s SNAP recipients. Online grocery purchasing will be activated for SNAP recipients by the beginning of June.

Once active, only eligible food items normally paid for by SNAP will be able to be purchased online with SNAP benefits; delivery fees, driver tips, and other associated charges may not be paid for with SNAP benefits.

Gaming Control Board releases casino reopening protocols

UPDATE 11:00 a.m.: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Wednesday released a document shared with the Commonwealth’s casino operators outlining the minimum requirements the need to be fulfilled before reopening their facilities that have been shut down by to the COVID-19.

The ten-page guideline document can be found in the PGCB’s website.

The new operational requirements have been laid out by the PGCB based on best-practices guidelines along with the various plans authored by gaming companies operating in Pennsylvania.

U.S. Attorney requests public to report sexually predatory housing practices amid COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady is asking anyone who has witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager, maintenance worker, or anyone with control over housing to report that conduct to the Department of Justice.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted the ability of many people to pay rent on time and has increased housing insecurity. The Department of Justice is investigating reports of housing providers trying to exploit the crisis to sexually harass tenants.

Sexual harassment in housing is illegal, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania stands ready to investigate such allegations and pursue enforcement actions where appropriate.

UPMC patients can capture details of telehealth visit through new app

UPDATE 9:15 a.m.: UPMC patients can revisit their physician’s instructions after a telehealth visit through a new collaboration with Abridge, a Pittsburgh-based startup that uses artificial intelligence to generate a “smart” after-visit summary for patients.

It gives patients a better look and understanding of their health while giving them a chance to be more active in their own care.

The technology records each doctor’s visit and uses easy to understand language to highlight key medical terms and next steps.

UPMC shifted much of its care delivery from in-person to virtual, ensuring the safety of both patients and clinicians because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highmark extends coverage of COVID-19 treatment and telemedicine

UPDATE 8:30 a.m.: Highmark announced Wednesday that they are extending cost-sharing for members who require in-network, inpatient hospital care for COVID-19.

Members will not have to worry about paying deductibles, coinsurance and copays through Sept. 30. The company initially waived cost-sharing for in-network, inpatient COVID-19 related hospital care through the end of May.

In March, Highmark also made the decision to expand coverage of telehealth and to waive deductibles, coinsurance and copayments on all covered telehealth services from vendors and providers. That is also now extended through Sept. 30.

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania: Wednesday morning

UPDATE 4:30 a.m.: COVID-19 data for nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania was released Tuesday by the state.

The data provides the number of cases, number of employee cases and number of deaths that have occurred at each facility. For facilities with less than five in any of these data points, the information is redacted.

There are 557 facilities named in the state report.

“In nursing and personal care homes, there are 13,813 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,191 cases among employees, for a total of 16,003 at 557 distinct facilities in 44 counties. Out of our total deaths, 3,145 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities,” a news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Health said. “Approximately 4,600 of our total cases are in health care workers.”

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As of Tuesday, there was a total of 63,666 COVID-19 cases and 4,624 deaths statewide, according to the Department of Health. There have been 286,034 people who tested negative for the virus.

Of the state’s 63,666 COVID-19 cases, 3,430 have been in western Pennsylvania.

Local lawmaker trying to get funding to nursing homes for coronavirus testing