TIMELINE: Pennsylvania coronavirus updates March 18

Port Authority implements social distancing policy as first coronavirus-related death confirmed in Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH — Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have reached all 50 states, with at least 13 in western Pennsylvania and a total of at least 96 statewide. 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 (6:34 p.m.): The Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that all Pennsylvania courts, including trial and intermediate appellate courts, are closed to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 3, 2020.

UPDATE (4:19 p.m.): The Wolf Administration has just announced the first coronavirus related death in Pennsylvania, an adult from Northampton County who was being treated at a hospital.

UPDATE (3:50 p.m.): The Port Authority of Allegheny County has implemented a temporary social distancing policy on all vehicles.

Signs will be posted on all vehicles reminding customers to maintain a safe distance of at least six feet from each other and the driver.

It will be in effect until Pennsylvania and Allegheny County lift their states of emergencies.

UPDATE (3:23 p.m.): Simon announced all of its retail properties, including Malls, Premium Outlets and Mills in the U.S. will close starting at 7 p.m. and until March 29.

In our area, Ross Park Mall, South Hills Village, The Mall at Robinson, Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills and Grove City Outlets will all close tonight.

UPDATE (3:21 p.m.): Ebony Pugh, a spokesperson for Pittsburgh Public Schools, said the district was notified of “the indirect exposure” of a Pittsburgh Brashear staff member to a cofirmed case of COVID-19.

Grab-and-go meal distribution at Brashear and Pittsburgh South Hills 6-8 will cease immediately out of abundance of caution.

Both schools will be deep cleaned.

UPDATE (2:04 p.m.): The Riverhounds SC and USL Championship season has been suspended through May 10.

The league said they intent to reschedule all suspended matches for another date this season. Tickets to postponed Riverhounds home matches will be honored.

UPDATE (1:46 p.m.): Gov. Tom Wolf has requested that the U.S. Small Business Administration implement a disaster declaration to provide assistance to small business and non-profits in the form of loans.

“The impact of financial losses related to COVID-19 will be felt for years to come,” said Gov. Wolf. “But these low-interest loans can help bridge the gap between economic losses now and economic recovery in the future.”

SBA’s Economic Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide support to businesses who are experience a loss of revenue.

The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the coronavirus. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments, up to 30 years maximum. The application to apply for the loan will be online. Details will be released once the governor’s request is granted.

Small businesses can apply through Small Business First Fund (SBD), an existing PIDA loan program. Click here for more information.

UPDATE (1:12 p.m.): Robert Morris University has canceled on-ground Commencement ceremonies scheduled for May.

In a tweet the university said, “We are sorry this has to happen and know it is a disappointment for our graduating seniors and degree recipients."

UPDATE (12:38 p.m.): The Pennsylvania Department of Health says there are now 133 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state:

Allegheny- 8 positive, 4 presumptive positive cases, for 12 total (According to the Allegheny County Health Department)

Beaver-2​

Berks​-1

Bucks-9

Chester-9

Cumberland-10

Delaware-14​

Lackawanna-1

Lehigh-1

Luzerne-1

Monroe-7

Montgomery-42

Northampton-1

Philadelphia-17

Pike-2

Washington-2

Wayne-1

​York​-2

UPDATE (12:27 p.m.): The City of Pittsburgh announced they are moving to Level 2 Emergency Operations because of the coronavirus.

All city employees who can telework from home will continue to do so.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority is suspending parking enforcement and ending hand-to-hand cash transactions at garages. Attendants and security will remain in place for safety.

Crews from Public Works, Mobility and Infrastructure and Permits, Licenses and Inspections will move to skeleton staffing, but will still respond to emergency situations.

Public safety, including police, fire, EMS and Animal Care and Control will continue

“The City of Pittsburgh is committed to fully serving its residents throughout this outbreak, and is continuing to do so, while limiting close interactions to protect as many of our employees as possible,” Mayor William Peduto said.

Here are the following changes being done within the City of Pittsburgh:

The Office of Management and Budget, Pittsburgh City Council, the City Controller will continue to sign and process all legislation and contracts. Communications with all federal, state and local agencies will continue to coordinate COVID-19 response, and outreach will continue to keep residents informed of all pandemic-related announcements and activities.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority is suspending parking enforcement, and ending hand-to-hand cash transactions at garages. Parking garage attendants and security remain in place to promote safety.

The Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections (PLI) will continue construction site inspections and the issuance of life safety citations, as well as provide 24/7 response to all building-related emergencies. PLI will be cancelling routine property maintenance inspections, processing of all notices and citations, cashier functions, and Board of Appeals hearings.

The Department of City Planning will continue performing planning reviews remotely, but will cancel all board and commission hearings that cannot be held through teleconferences. Tomorrow’s Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing will be held as scheduled, but with restrictions in place to guard attendees.

The Department of Public Works will continue curbside garbage and recycling pickup, and emptying neighborhood business district and parks refuse containers. Response to weather emergencies and forestry needs will be performed on an as-needed basis and employees at Public Works Divisions will be staffing skeleton crews only. Drop-off sites at the East End, Hazelwood and West End divisions have closed, as have recycling drop-offs at Construction Junction in North Point Breeze. (Recycling drop-offs are still available in the Strip District and Beltzhoover/Knoxville.)

Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) crews will only respond to needed street sign replacements and traffic control repairs, and will continue life-safety inspections of traffic-related job sites. It will not be performing street line painting or general sign maintenance.

DOMI and DPW permitted job sites can continue work under the recommendation that they provide written assurances that they will:

  • Modify work practices and worker territory to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between all staff
  • Ensure that all work will be carried out outside in the open air
  • Ensure workers have work gloves and will not share gloves or face guards
  • Provide hand wash stations at job sites (in addition to portajohns)
  • Provide hand sanitizer at job sites
  • Regularly sanitize shared surfaces such as steering wheels, hand tools and other shared equipment

The Department of Finance is continuing to manage payroll, revenue and cash flow management, and bank transfers.

The Department of Human Resources and Civil Service is continuing oversight of payroll issues, processing paperwork for new employees, and onboarding incoming medics and Emergency Medical Technicians.

The Department of Parks and Recreation has closed Senior and Recreation centers but is planning to soon have limited hours at selected centers to serve as grab-and-go food distribution sites.

The Law Department is processing Right to Know requests and contracts, and providing legal support to all departments on COVID-19 issues.

The Department of Innovation & Performance is continuing network management, 24/7 call-out service for Public Safety needs, responding to City facilities that need technology repairs, and distributing critical hardware to needed employees to be telework-capable.

UPDATE (12:25 p.m.): A disaster emergency has been declared in Butler County.

UPDATE (12:20 p.m.): Penn State University has extended having classes online through at least the spring semester. In addition, spring commencement will be postponed.

UPDATE (12:15 p.m.): Families in the Pittsburgh Public Schools were told they could grab free lunches at a church in the West End, but there is no one there to serve them and the building is locked up.

Some families have been waiting for more than an hour after the district had to switch locations because of a possible coronavirus exposure.

Pittsburgh school officials are checking on it now.

Grab-and-go meals stopped at several Pittsburgh schools because of potential coronavirus exposures

UPDATE (12:10 p.m.): There are now 133 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, according to the state Health Department.

UPDATE (11:38 a.m.): Three worshipers, including the pastor, at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a letter sent to parishioners.

Services were canceled Sunday and will be until further notice. The church building is also closed and the child care center is closed off.

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Church staff members are working from home, and custodians will be cleaning the building.

The church said it is working with the Allegheny County Health Department.

Pittsburgh church alerts parishoners about positive coronavirus tests

UPDATE (11:15 a.m.): Forty to 50 inmates at the Mercer County Jail will be released to make more room for medical isolation cells because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker told the Youngstown NBC affiliate WFMJ.

All inmates that will be released are non-violent and have been given screening measures for COVID-19, Acker told WFMJ.

UPDATE (11:05 a.m.): One new case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in Allegheny County, along with reports of one other presumptive positive case, the Allegheny County Health Department said.

“The contact tracing, including information gathering, is just underway on these cases. As a result, no further information is available at this time. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to eight, along with four presumptive positive cases, for 12 total,” a news release said.

UPDATE (10:25 a.m.): Beaver County Emergency Services tweeted out the following news release about restrictions at Beaver County-owned facilities:

UPDATE (10:10 a.m.): Four new drive-up collection sites for coronavirus testing in western Pennsylvania were announced by Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network officials.

The following locations are available to patients who have a valid prescription from an AHN doctor:

  • AHN Wexford
  • AHN Bethel Park
  • 4220 William Penn Highway, Monroeville
  • AHN West Side, Erie

There will not be on-demand or walk-up testing.

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UPDATE (9:45 a.m.): Pittsburgh Public School’s grab and go meal distribution at Pittsburgh Langley has been discontinued following a report from a Pittsburgh Langley staff member of exposure to a presumptive positive case of COVID-19.

The Grab and Go meals will be relocated to Emanuel United Methodist Church located at 825 Lorenz Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15220.

The Langley facility will be deep cleaned using the District’s electrostatic machine. Families and staff of the school have been notified via the District’s parent notification system.

UPDATE (9:10 a.m.): Duquesne Light Company announced it is waiving late fees until at least May 1, in addition to discontinuing shutoff activities.

“Additionally, DLC is reprioritizing its work, including many planned outages, to minimize power interruptions and ensure employees can focus on the immediate reliability of the critical service DLC provides to residential, commercial and industrial customers. The company also is implementing additional inspections of the equipment powering hospitals and other entities providing critical services to the community to ensure high reliability. All work required for the safety of DLC customers and the community will continue,” DLC said on its website.

UPDATE (7:15 a.m.): An additional Grab and Go site for Pittsburgh Public Schools students has been closed until further notice because of reports that two district employees were exposed to a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

Pittsburgh Grandview is being deep cleaned, as are the following locations that are also closed:

  • Central Administration Building in Oakland
  • Greenway Professional Development Center in the West End
  • Pittsburgh Arsenal K-5
  • Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8
  • Pittsburgh Classical Academy
  • Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8
  • Pittsburgh Fulton
  • Pittsburgh Linden
  • Pittsburgh Schiller

UPDATE (7 a.m.): A Pittsburgh woman has self-quarantined after returning from Scotland, where her daughter is going to school.

She said she was expecting the worst for her return trip to Pittsburgh. However, she told Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic if you have a loved one coming home from overseas, it might not be too bad.

Pittsburgh mom in self-quarantine shares experience of returning from Scotland

UPDATE (6:35 a.m.): Drive-up collection sites for coronavirus testing will be announced Wednesday morning by Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network officials.

AHN said the sites will open this week at four locations in western Pennsylvania that will be announced at 10 a.m.

“The community-based collection sites are meant to bring COVID testing closer to where people live and work, and to decompress hospital emergency departments,” a news release from AHN said.

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UPDATE (4:35 a.m.): The Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Central Administration Building in Oakland and the Greenway Professional Development Center in the West End are closed until further notice so the buildings can be deep cleaned because of reports that two district employees were exposed to a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

District officials said the reported exposures happened at a non-work related event.

Both employees traveled between district facilities, so Grab and Go meals at the following seven schools have stopped so the buildings can be deep cleaned:

  • Pittsburgh Arsenal K-5
  • Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8
  • Pittsburgh Classical Academy
  • Pittsburgh Carmalt PreK-8
  • Pittsburgh Fulton
  • Pittsburgh Linden
  • Pittsburgh Schiller

Grab and Go meals are also not available at Pittsburgh Brookline and Pittsburgh Milliones.

According to PPS, meals will be available at the district’s two alternative schools (Clayton Academy and Student Achievement Center) and stand-alone Early Childhood Education Centers (Chartiers, Crescent and Spring Garden).

“Meals will be distributed between 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Monday through Friday until March 20. Students do not have to go to their current school and can grab a meal at the school located closest to their home,” the district’s website says. “In partnership with the Housing Authority of Pittsburgh, the District is ensuring food delivery to the following offsite locations: Allegheny Dwellings Community Room, East Hills Community Center, Glen Hazel Community Center, Jubilee Kitchen, North Homewood North Community Center, Northview Heights Recreation Center and Oak Hill will also take place. The district will evaluate student participation in meal distribution to determine regional sites for the second week of closure.”

UPDATE (4:30 a.m.): Health officials said roughly 500,000 people in Allegheny County will likely contract the coronavirus, but many of their symptoms will be mild and the vast majority will recover.

“Eventually, probably 40 to 60 percent of people will get the virus over the next couple of months,” Dr. Debora Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, said.

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Bogen stressed the importance of social distancing, especially since there is no vaccine.

“If you're sick, stay home. If you need groceries, ask them to be sent in. Pharmacies do deliveries to homes,” Bogen said.

There are 96 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania, and 879 tests have come back negative.

Beaver Co. worker concerned about conditions amid coronavirus outbreak