It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Pennsylvania.
On March 6, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf reported the state’s first two confirmed cases: one in the Philadelphia area and the other near Scranton.
Since then, we’ve endured months of stay-at-home orders, mandatory masks, school closures, business closures and restrictions, hospitalizations, deaths of loved ones and financial hardships.
Here’s a look back at the March 2020 timeline of COVID-19 in our area:
- March 12, 2020 – Gov. Wolf implemented social distancing measures in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, urging nonessential businesses to close.
- March 13, 2020 – Gov. Wolf announced the closure of all public schools in Pennsylvania for at least two weeks.
- March 14, 2020 – The first two cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County were reported.
- March 16, 2020 – Gov. Wolf extended the social distancing measures across the state.
- March 17, 2020 – All state liquor stores were closed at the end of the business day.
- March 18, 2020 – The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported the first death in Pennsylvania due to COVID-19.
- March 19, 2020 – Gov. Wolf ordered a statewide closure of all non-life sustaining businesses.
- March 21, 2020 – The first death of COVID-19 was reported in Allegheny County.
- March 23, 2020 – Gov. Wolf issued stay-at-home orders for Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Monroe counties. A similar order was already in effect for the city of Philadelphia.
- March 27, 2020 – A stay-at-home-order was issued for additional counties including Butler and Westmoreland in western Pennsylvania.
- March 28, 2020 – The state’s stay-at-home order was extended to Beaver and Washington counties.
By April 1, 2020, the entire state of Pennsylvania was under a stay-at-home order. Days later, Gov. Wolf urged everyone to wear cloth face masks in public. Physical school buildings were closed through the end of the school year, and all students returned to learning online.
One Year Later
As of March 6, 2021, the state was closing in on one million cases of the virus. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 946,985 cases and 24,262 deaths from COVID-19.
Masks are still required in public, but other restrictions on many businesses have been relaxed or lifted. Travel restrictions have been lifted and major sports teams have welcomed fans again.
Many children are back in the classroom, receiving face-to-face instruction. With the push to vaccinate teachers with the newly available Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the hope is even more students will return soon.
Nearly 3 million Pennsylvanians have been at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and that progress continues each day.
On March 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidelines for people who have been fully vaccinated, saying they can visit with other fully vaccinated people “in small gatherings indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.” And that fully vaccinated people can visit unvaccinated people in small gatherings while unmasked if nobody is high-risk.
You can count on Channel 11 News to continue to bring you the latest coronavirus news and the impact on western Pennsylvania.
Cox Media Group