***Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, PA – For COVID-19 event suspensions, postponements, and cancellations CLICK HERE***
**As per Gov. Tom Wolf, all PA K-12 schools are CLOSED for the current academic school year. For lunches for local school students, find details here**
*Find DuBois Food Pantry Info here.*
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Pennsylvania is imposing broad new statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants and larger indoor gatherings. Gov. Tom Wolf cites an “alarming escalation” in new coronavirus infections in making the announcement Wednesday.
Restaurant indoor seating should be reduced statewide to 25 percent of capacity. Outdoor seating can remain the same. Alcohol can be served at a meal in restaurants, but not on its own (such as in a bar) unless it is being sold as a carry-out.
Indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 250.
Teleworking should be done whenever possible for jobs.
The Democratic governor says people who refused to wear a mask or abide by social distancing requirements when patronizing bars and restaurants are responsible for some of the virus’s resurgence. The state reported about 1,000 new infections Wednesday.
The recently elevated statewide virus numbers have been driven in large part by increased spread in the Pittsburgh area, where officials attribute the spike to younger people and others congregating in bars and restaurants.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed new orders for targeted mitigation efforts in response to the recent rise in COVID cases, primarily in southwest Pennsylvania, but also in other counties in the state, influencing the decision for statewide mitigation efforts for bars and restaurants, gatherings and telework. The new orders take effect at 12:01 a.m., Thursday, July 16, 2020.
Bars and Restaurants
All businesses in the retail food services industry, including restaurants, wineries, breweries, private clubs, and bars, are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales of food, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, as required by the order, including:
- Prohibition from conducting operations unless the facility offers sit-down, dine-in meals or is serving take-out sales of alcoholic beverages. All service must be at a table or booth; bar service is prohibited.
- Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.
- Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.
- Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e. tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.
- Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons.
- Occupancy is limited to 25 percent of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining, or 25 persons for a discrete indoor event or gathering in a restaurant. The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.
- All nightclubs, as defined by the Clean Indoor Air Act, 35 P.S. § 637.2, are prohibited from conducting operations.
Other events and gatherings
Events and gatherings must adhere to these gathering limitations:
- Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 persons are prohibited.
- Outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 persons are prohibited.
- The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.
- Unless not possible, all businesses are required to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business.
- Where telework is not possible, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with all substantive aspects of the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.
Gyms and fitness facilities
- All gyms and fitness facilities, while permitted to continue indoor operations, are directed to prioritize outdoor physical fitness activities. All activities must follow masking requirements as provided by the July 1 order, and must provide for social distancing requirements of persons being at least 6 feet apart, as well as being limited by any limitations related to gatherings.
Businesses and individuals in violation of these orders, issued pursuant to the authority granted to the Governor and the Secretary of Health under the law, including the Pennsylvania Disease Control and Prevention Law, could be subject to fines, business closure or other applicable enforcement measures.
Beginning with a spike in cases in Allegheny County in late June, Pennsylvania has seen cases continue to rise there and in other southwest counties, along with additional select counties in the state.
The state has identified three catalysts for case increases:
- First, some Pennsylvanians have been ignoring mask-wearing requirements and social distancing when they are visiting Pennsylvania bars and restaurants. There they are unknowingly spreading or picking up the virus.
- Second is out-of-state travel. Both by Pennsylvanians returning from travel to hotspot states, and travelers visiting our commonwealth from those hotspots.
- And third, a lack of national coordination has resulted in states in the south and west not committing to social distancing.
“The actions the governor and I are taking today are designed to be surgical and thus precise to prevent from repeating the cycle we saw in the spring,” said Dr. Levine. “We have gained a great deal of experience since the start of this outbreak and have learned from best practices from other states as well as counties right here in Pennsylvania.”
Gov. Wolf and Dr. Levine were joined via Skype by Dr. David Rubin, a general pediatrician and director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Rubin and his colleagues developed a unique model, which tracks and projects COVID-19 transmission in real-time across more than 500 U.S. counties with active outbreaks. The model was built to observe how social distancing, population density, daily temperatures and humidity affect the number and spread of COVID-19 infections over time across a given county.
“Over the last few weeks, public health reporting and our team’s modeling work have uncovered incontrovertible evidence that the virus is sweeping quickly into the northeast region of the United States from the west and south—where there has been a failure in some states to practice vigilance in masking and social distancing—and that it has already begun its resurgence in Pennsylvania,” said Dr. David Rubin, a general pediatrician and director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We can halt this momentum in its tracks. Governor Wolf’s measures will help stop the continued spread of the virus into Pennsylvania and its surrounding states, which would threaten the reopening of schools and our economy in the coming months.”
Pennsylvanians should consider that even with indoor dining limited and bars closed for on-premises alcohol consumption, cocktails to-go are still permitted and there is no shortage of outdoor dining options.
Small gatherings of friends in the backyard or at a local park are permitted and children and families are encouraged to responsibility take advantage of one or more of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks or other local outdoor fitness options, including at local gyms that are following social distancing protocols.
“Children can visit local playgrounds, community pools, and enjoy outdoor activities with family,” Gov. Wolf said. “We want people to spend time together, but to do so while practicing social distancing and wearing masks when required, such as any time you leave your home and are not participating in outdoor fitness.
“We have seen these efforts work during the first wave in the spring, and they will work again if we all do our part. Thank you to every Pennsylvanian for your continued patience and support. I know you are eager for life to get back to normal, and I am, too.”
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania is giving $53 million in additional financial support for child care providers, such as day care centers and preschools, that have suffered during COVID-19. These centers have taken a financial hit as not every family is ready or comfortable sending their child back out.
This funding will help child care providers bridge the gap until their clientele returns. It will also help them with any increased costs that have been incurred due to the pandemic – things like cleaning and sanitization, which will help keep the 386,000 children who attend our licensed child care facilities safe, as well as the workers who do so much to care for them.
The Department of Human Services is also working alongside day cares and preschools to do an impact study to understand challenges for child care providers reopening and resuming operations during COVID-19. Read the full article here.
Harrisburg, PA – Expanding on the business safety order signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine in April that requires the wearing of masks in businesses, Governor Tom Wolf today announced a new order signed by Dr. Levine that takes the mask-wearing directive one step further.
With this order, signed under Dr. Levine’s authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home. The order takes effect immediately.
The rules in this new mandate are very much the same… you need to wear a mask if you are in a public place, at work, in a store, in a healthcare setting, or most places where you would be within 6 feet of other people. (See section 2.)
There are still the exceptions. You can remove your mask in a restaurant to eat, you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors if you are farther than 6 feet from other people, kids under 2 shouldn’t wear a mask, and anyone with a medical or health condition that would be worsened by a mask does not need to wear one. You do not need to provide any documentation of that medical condition. (See section 3.)
“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said. “Those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing – two practices that must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening.”
The order outlines the situations when a mask must be worn and includes limited exceptions to the face-covering requirement.
Each of the state’s mitigation efforts has helped to slow the spread of COVID-19, kept our health care systems from being overwhelmed, and allowed for Gov. Wolf’s measured, phased reopening to proceed. But, with nearly every county is the green phase of reopening, complacency cannot be the norm.
“It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent. My mask protects you, and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask shows that you care about others, and that you are committed to protecting the lives of those around you.”
More and more health experts have called for mask wearing, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said during a June 30 Senate hearing on COVID-19, “Americans who don’t wear masks may ‘propagate the further spread of infection.’”
The mask-wearing order will be sent to state and local officials, law enforcement and others tasked with education about the order for those not in compliance.
Gov. Tom Wolf says wearing a mask shouldn’t be seen as a political stance. He says it’s a health issue that everyone should be following, regardless of their political party.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania departments of Health and Human Services issued updated guidance to ensure a safe return to activities, visitation, and other events for residents in nursing homes, personal care homes, assisted living residences and private intermediate care facilities.
“We continue to practice a careful, measured approach in long-term care facilities so all staff and residents can safely welcome visitors and return to a more normal routine,” Secretary of Health Dr. Levine said. “We developed this guidance through collective input from residents and families, stakeholders, academia and facility representatives to allow safe visitations with strong public health measures to balance the mental and physical well-being of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. We will continue to work with and support facilities to ensure they adhere to these measures.” Read the full article here.
Pittsburgh, PA (AP) — Officials in western Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County are halting all on-site consumption of alcohol in bars and restaurants due to what they call an “alarming” spike in COVID-19 cases.
Officials said the recent spike has been largely among young people and involved out-of-state travel, often including night life during travel, and going to local bars and restaurants.
As a result, bars and restaurants in the county, which includes the city of Pittsburgh, won’t be allowed to serve alcohol, although take-out will be allowed as OK’d by the state. In addition, masks will be enforced and outdoor seating is being encouraged.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Pennsylvania is seeing an uptick in the number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19, more than three months after the pandemic first began to spread in the state.
The Health Department said Thursday there were 600 new positive cases and 22 deaths.
The state’s caseload had been steadily falling, but more recently has plateaued and now appears to be inching up.
The agency says nearly 82,000 Pennsylvanians have been confirmed to have the disease. There have been 6,579 deaths.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-controlled Legislature are heading toward a legal clash over the emergency declaration he issued at the beginning of the pandemic.
Lawmakers voted to end it, Wolf insisted he holds veto power and business owners are left in limbo.
Voting largely along party lines, the Legislature late Tuesday declared an end to Wolf’s 3-month-old emergency declaration.
Republicans asserted their resolution paves the way for businesses that have been shut down under Wolf’s pandemic restrictions to reopen. Wolf says it does no such thing. Their dispute quickly landed in court. See the full article here.
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania and the Wolf administration launched an enhanced dashboard to pull Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 data and information together to inform Pennsylvanians. The dashboard further enhances data on demographics of cases, demographics of deaths and the reopening status.
- View the fullscreen Pennsylvania comprehensive enhanced COVID-19 data dashboard
- View the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Dashboard
- View the Pennsylvania County Dashboard
Harrisburg, PA – Every county in Pennsylvania is now either in the yellow or green phase, and the most strict regulations have been lifted. Officials are now focusing on what life will look like after the green phase.
Gov. Tom Wolf says testing will be a big part of being able to moving forward.
As our state lifts regulations, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reminds us that we need to still take those personal precautions to keep ourselves and others safe… simple things like staying home if you feel sick, keeping your distance and especially staying away from large crowds, wearing a mask in public and crowded places, and washing your hands frequently.
There have been 75,592 positive cases of COVID-19 identified in Pennsylvania, with about 71 percent of them currently marked as recovered. Data from the Department of Health shows that there have been 5,943 COVID-19-related deaths.
Harrisburg, PA – With more than 80 percent of the state in some phase of reopening, Governor Tom Wolf announced that 16 additional counties will take another step forward and move to green effective 12:01 a.m., June 5. Counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.
The first 18 counties moved to green today, including Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
Eight counties moved to yellow today, including Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill.
Counties that remain in red and are expected to move to yellow by June 5 include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.
Harrisburg, PA – We’re officially in the green phase in our area, with more COVID-19-related restrictions being lifted!
As our counties prepare to move to green phase, we have some clarifications on the rules and guidelines for businesses that will be reopening.
The 17 counties moving to the green phase on May 29 are Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
After a county transitions to the yellow phase, the PA Department of Health and other Pennsylvania agencies will closely monitor for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, they will transition the county to the green phase.
The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay at home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health.
While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
- Continued Telework Strongly Encouraged
- Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety Requirements
- All Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy
- Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance
- Congregate Care Restrictions in Place
- Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities
- Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance
- Large Recreational Gatherings Remain Restricted
- Restaurants and Bars Open at 50% Occupancy
- Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only
- Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged
- All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy
- Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols
- All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
- Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary
Hair salons and barber shops – operating by appointment only
Gyms and spas – appointments and reservations strongly encouraged
Churches and other places of worship – strongly encouraged to enforce social distancing and other safety measures
Visitation to prisons and hospitals – at the discretion of each facility (Penn highlands Hospitals is currently only allowing one support person per patient, no visitors)
Nursing homes and personal care facilities – no visitors allowed
Restaurants – dine-in service allowed in both indoor and outdoor areas as long as they strictly adhere to guidelines and occupancy limits (50 percent occupancy, distance rules in place)
Bars – seating only if customers at least 6 feet apart, no standing at bar maximum of four people with a common relationship seated together at a bar.
DuBois, PA – A contracted employee who provided services to the DuBois Nursing Home was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday.
This person was not symptomatic and was tested as part of their provider’s protocol. Families within the unit where the contracted employee provided services have been notified.
This person had been properly wearing PPE for the 14 days before testing positive, and the DuBois Continuum of Care says no resident so far within the DuBois Nursing Home has tested positive.
The DuBois Nursing Home, and other personal care facilities in our area, continue to work hard to keep the virus out of their walls and are not accepting any visitors at this time for the safety of their residents.
Again, this person who tested positive did not show any symptoms. It goes to show that we all need to be careful even if we don’t necessarily feel sick, so we can continue protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Harrisburg, PA – Furthering his plan for reopening Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf today announced eight additional counties will move to yellow and 17 to green, effective at 12:01 a.m., May 29. All remaining counties in red are expected to move to yellow by June 5 at 12:01 a.m.
The counties moving to yellow on May 29 include Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill.
The 17 counties moving to green, also on May 29, include Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
Counties that remain in red on May 29 and are expected to move to yellow by June 5 include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.
“We know not only that we succeeded in slowing case growth, but that our actions, our collective decisions to stay at home and avoid social contact – we know that saved lives,” Gov. Wolf said. “My stay-at-home order did exactly what it was intended to do: It saved lives and it bought us valuable time.”
Gov. Wolf referred to a study by Drexel University that indicates that in Philadelphia alone, 60 days of staying at home resulted in more than 7,000 lives saved and prevented more than 68,000 people from needing hospitalization.
Counties that have been in the yellow phase for the requisite 14 days have been closely monitored for the risk associated with transitioning to the green phase.
In the green phase, we will continue to take precautions, including reducing building capacity, encouraging teleworking, limiting visitation in certain high-risk environments, and preventing large entertainment gatherings.
The guidelines for moving to green are available here, and include specifics for employers, large events, and social gatherings.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Some counties in Pennsylvania could see practically all of the state’s pandemic restrictions on business activity and gatherings lifted in the coming days, other than social-distancing and health-monitoring guidelines that are in place to help stop the spread of the coronarivus.
Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday that some counties could get to move to the least-restrictive “green” phase of his three-color traffic-signal reopening plan stages.
That could become official Friday.
He also says more counties could move from the red phase to less-restrictive yellow phase.
It is not clear, exactly, what restrictions, if any, will remain in place in the green phase.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf vetoed three bills related to the state’s response to COVID-19 that violate the separation of powers and make other changes that go against the administration’s measured plan for reopening the state safely.
Senate Bill 327 would authorize counties to develop and implement their own mitigation plans and decide when businesses within their county can reopen and includes a provision that prohibits commonwealth agencies from performing an essential governmental operation, the promulgation of regulations, until 90 days after the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration is terminated unless the legislature grants permission for a regulation to advance.
House Bill 2388 and House Bill 2412 would allow various industries to reopen in red phase counties.
“Since the beginning of this month, my administration has been gradually transitioning counties from the restrictive red phase to an intermediate yellow phase,” Wolf wrote. “The decisions to move counties from the red phase to the yellow phase are based on the advice of expert epidemiologists. These decisions are not based just on the number of cases of COVID-19, but are also based on other critical factors, such as how community members interact, the county’s number of potential transmission points, a county’s geographic location, the capacity to undertake contact tracing, and testing availability.”
Read the veto message for SB 327 here.
Read the veto message for HB 2388 here.
Read the veto message for HB 2412 here.
Although one of the vetoes did include denying the real estate industry from reopening early, Gov. Wolf later announced that real estate workers could do business, as long as they followed COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced 12 additional Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22.
Those counties include Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and York. Twenty-four counties moved into the yellow phase of reopening on May 8 and another 13 moved to yellow beginning Friday, May 15.
With these additional 12 counties, there will be a total of 49 counties in the yellow phase.
The remaining 18 counties are in the red phase.
Harrisburg, PA – The House has sent to the governor’s desk these three key pieces of legislation to potentially be signed into law.
• House Bill 2388 – would reopen auto dealerships, hair salons, barbershops, lawn and garden centers, pet groomers, messenger services and manufacturing.
• House Bill 2412 – would reopen the real estate industry (including inspectors and appraisers).
• Senate Bill 327 – would give county governments the option to develop and implement their own plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by allowing industries that have not already been deemed essential to operate, if it is safe to do so.
It’s uncertain if Gov. Wolf will sign these bills into law for Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is attacking elected officials making plans to reopen in defiance of his shutdown orders as cowards deserting the pandemic battlefield.
Wolf threatened Monday to block aid to rebellious counties in an escalating political fight over his administration’s handling of the coronavirus.
The normally mild-mannered Democrat fired back after several counties declared themselves in open rebellion against Wolf’s restrictions on businesses and movement.
Republican elected officials in a growing number of counties are planning to move on their own to lift some of Wolf’s restrictions, including his stay-at-home orders and shutdown of businesses deemed “non-life-sustaining.”
Harrisburg, PA – On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf announced 13 Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 15. Those counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.
On May 1, the governor announced the 24 counties moving into the yellow phase of reopening beginning today. And, last evening, he and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed new orders – one for yellow phase reopening and one to extend the red phase counties’ stay-at-home order, which was set to expire Thursday night, to June 4. The red phase stay-at-home order extension does not mean that other counties won’t move to the yellow phase in advance of June 4.
DuBois, PA – TruCare Internal Medicine in DuBois is helping to offer antibody tests for people in our area.
Dr. Tuesdae Stainbrook says she knew it was important to offer this kind of COVID-19 testing.
The blood draw antibody tests are available to anyone who wants one, particularly if you feel you may have encountered the novel coronavirus. Please do not request a test if you currently feel sick.
This test is meant to determine if you have antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection.
Read the full story here.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Pennsylvania is reporting below 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus for the fourth straight day, the longest such streak since the daily reports of new cases first reached four figures in early April.
Health Secretary Rachel Levine called the four-day dip below 1,000 “good news.”
Read the full story here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 4, that there are 825 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to
50,092. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.
The department reported 14 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 2,458 in Pennsylvania. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
Harrisburg, PA – Balancing economic benefits and public health risks, Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday the reopening of 24 counties in the northwest and north-central regions of the state, moving them from red to yellow beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, May 8.
“Over the past two months, Pennsylvanians in every corner of our commonwealth have acted collectively to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “We have seen our new case numbers stabilize statewide and while we still have areas where outbreaks are occurring, we also have many areas that have few or no new cases.”
Counties Moving to Yellow Reopening
The 24 counties that will move from red to yellow on May 8 are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.
These counties were deemed ready to move to a reopening – or yellow phase – because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread.
The administration partnered with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create a Risk-Based Decision Support Tool that enables decision makers to strike a balance between maximizing the results of our economy while minimizing public health risks.
The CMU tool looked at the impacts of risk factors such as reported number of COVID cases per population of an area; ICU and medical/surgical bed capacity; population density; population over age 60; re-opening contact risk, such as the number of workers employed in a currently closed industry sector.
The CMU metrics were considered along with the county’s or region’s ability to conduct testing and contact-tracing to first and foremost maintain robust public health.
The Department of Health developed testing and contact-tracing plans that informed today’s decisions and will be used in making decisions moving forward. Factors include: having enough testing available for individuals with symptoms and target populations such as those at high risk, health care personnel, and first responders, and the ability to perform robust case investigation and have in place a contact-tracing infrastructure that can quickly identify a cluster of outbreaks to issue any necessary isolation and quarantine orders.
All reopening decisions follow the six standards outlined in the governor’s plan to reopen Pennsylvania. These include adhering to:
• Data-driven and quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopening.
• Clear guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities and providers for assured accountability.
• Adequate and available personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing.
• A monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
• Protections for vulnerable populations such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
• Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations.
“Our goal since this pandemic was first identified in Pennsylvania has been to save lives while ensuring that the public health system does not become overwhelmed with people suffering from COVID-19,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Our contact tracing and testing plans will ensure that as we begin to resume our daily activities, we can do so safely and without fear.”
While both Gov. Wolf and Dr. Levine cautioned that we cannot be certain of the path of the virus, all decisions on partial reopening are driven first by prioritizing the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.
Defining the Yellow Phase
As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place.
On Monday, May 4, the administration will release guidance for businesses permitted to reopen on May 8 in these 24 counties. The guidance is being developed through collaboration with the affected counties, Team PA, the Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Labor & Industry, among others. Guidance will build on existing safety and building safety orders released in April.
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
• Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
• Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
• Child Care Open Complying with Guidance
• Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
• Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction
• Stay at Home Order Lifted for Aggressive Mitigation
• Large Gatherings of More than 25 Prohibited
• In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
• Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
• Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
All businesses not specifically mentioned as restricted from reopening may reopen if they follow the forthcoming guidance.
Gov. Wolf stressed the need for all Pennsylvanians to now, more than ever, take personal responsibility for their actions.
“Every human-to-human contact is a chance for the virus to spread, so more contacts mean a higher likelihood of an outbreak,” Wolf said. “If we see an outbreak occur in one of the communities that has been moved to yellow, we will need to take swift action, and revert to the red category until the new case count falls again. So, Pennsylvanians living in a county that has been moved to the yellow category should continue to strongly consider the impact of their actions.”
Counties that will remain under the stay-at-home order will be considered for reopening in the next several weeks as the state continues to closely monitor metrics and collaborate with CMU, health experts and counties.
The full reopening plan is available here.
Harrisburg, PA – Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to announce today which parts of Pennsylvania can start reopening in the new red-yellow-green plan for counties or regions to begin easing COVID-19-related restrictions.
Any parts of the state that are given the go-ahead would move into the yellow stage, which would lift the stay-at-home order and allow more businesses to open.
However, schools would remain closed, restaurants and bars could still only provide take-out or delivery services, and places such as gyms and spas would remain closed.
Those changes would take effect the next Friday, May 8.
Although our region of Pennsylvania is expected to be the first to move into the yellow phase, there is no guarantee.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration plans to announce Friday which parts of Pennsylvania can begin seeing a step-by-step relaxation of coronavirus-related shutdown directives.
Still, Wolf and administration officials weren’t projecting Tuesday when the state will have widespread mass-testing capacity.
Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said the administration will announce which regions or counties can see some relief from shutdown orders by moving from a “red” designation to a “yellow” designation. Those changes would take effect the following Friday, May 8, a previously announced date.
Meanwhile, Levine says one of the state’s hardest-hit areas, southeastern Pennsylvania, appears to be past its peak.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Pennsylvanians who like to golf, boat, fish and camp are getting some good news after a month and a half of widespread shutdowns.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday announced those activities will be permitted if they comport with social distancing guidance. The decision applies to golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds.
Also Monday, health officials said nearly 900 additional cases of COVID-19 infection were reported in the state, raising the total to more than 42,000 since the pandemic began. State officials say there have been nearly 1,600 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak so far.
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s death toll from COVID-19 actually dropped yesterday, for some unusual and complex reasons.
The death toll now sits at 1,394 confirmed deaths, which is about 200 fewer than before. That’s because, earlier this week, Pennsylvania started adding “probable cases” to the death count if certain deaths had symptoms of COVID-19 and a connection to a confirmed case.
However, now as those probable cases are being investigated and found that more information is needed before they can be a confirmed COVID-19-related death, they have been removed from the count.
These probable counts do not impact the decisions being made about reopening the state. Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan said a region or county will need to average fewer than 50 new positive cases of the virus per 100,000 residents for 14 days in order to no longer be under a stay-at-home order. That only involves the confirmed cases (people who have taken a COVID-19 swab test and have tested positive).
Our area, Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, are likely to be able to have few enough positive cases that we should be able to start the partial reopening process on May 8.
Howard, PA — Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15) and Dwight Evans (PA-03) recently introduced the Giving Retailers and Our Convenience Employees Relief Act, or GROCER Act. The bill would establish a federal tax holiday for grocery and convenience store employees from February 15 through June 15 for individuals making less than $75,000 annually. The bill would also provide discretion to the Treasury to extend this benefit for an additional three months. Read the full story here.
Harrisburg, PA -For rural residents of Pennsylvania, COVID-19 has hit businesses and farmers hard. Now the Agricultural Department has put together a resource guide, not just for farmers, but for anyone who lives in a rural community and needs to know what help might be available for them.
Visit this link or you can find it by searching for “Covid rural resource guide”.
The guide is broken up into categories of who would benefit from these programs (for-profits, non-profits, agricultural, government entities, etc.).
They’re also organized by what kind of help is available, such as technical assistance, training, management, financial assistance, or general state and local resources.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Residents of northcentral and northwestern Pennsylvania are projected to be the first in the state to be released from Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, and many retail stores in those areas should be able to reopen by May 8.
That’s according to a statewide reopening plan released Wednesday.
Wolf wants to begin easing some pandemic restrictions in areas of Pennsylvania that have been lightly impacted by the new coronavirus.
His reopening plan says that a region must average fewer than 50 new positive cases of the virus per 100,000 residents to begin to move out from under his statewide lockdown. See the full plan here.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf is setting May 8 as the date he wants to begin easing some pandemic restrictions.
Wolf said Monday that Pennsylvania had made sufficient progress against COVID-19 to warrant a gradual reopening of the economy.
He says all 12.8 million Pennsylvanians will have to stay home at least through May 8. But he says his stay-at-home order might then be lifted in areas of the state where the virus does not pose as great of a threat.
The governor also announced that Pennsylvania will ease some restrictions on building construction and vehicle sales.
As he spoke, protesters defied a ban on mass gatherings to stage an anti-shutdown rally at the Capitol.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Many Pennsylvania commercial buildings that serve the public will now be required to make sure customers wear masks, and deny entry to anyone who refuses.
The order was officially signed Wednesday by the state health secretary, but it didn’t start being enforced until Sunday night. Monday is the first full day in which Pennsylvanians will be required to wear masks.
Employees will also have to wear face coverings, including those who work at warehouses, manufacturing facilities and other places that remain in business but aren’t open to the public.
Gov. Tom Wolf says the order is meant to protect supermarket cashiers, power plant operators and other critical workers. Learn more about this order here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., April 19, that there are 1,215 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 32,284. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.
The department also announced that electronic and probable-cause deaths are now being reported, causing a reporting increase of 276 new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,112.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf says he has not set any timetable for allowing nonessential businesses to reopen or people to leave their homes.
The governor insisted Thursday that Pennsylvania has not made enough progress to “declare victory” over the coronavirus and ease up on social distancing.
GOP lawmakers have been pressing Wolf to reopen the economy, more business owners are fearing bankruptcy and at least 1.4 million Pennsylvania residents have been thrown out of work during a pandemic that has killed more than 700 statewide.
Wolf says adequate testing capabilities are not yet in place in Pennsylvania or anywhere else to start trying to return to normal.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Many Pennsylvania commercial buildings that serve the public will now be required to make sure customers wear masks, and deny entry to anyone who refuses.
Under an order signed Wednesday by the state health secretary, employees will also have to wear face coverings, including those who work at warehouses, manufacturing facilities and other places that remain in business but aren’t open to the public.
Gov. Tom Wolf says the order is meant to protect supermarket cashiers, power plant operators and other critical workers.
DuBois, PA – Penn Highlands Healthcare has announced that 600 of its employees from the five hospitals in its system will be furloughed or laid off.
In a conference press call today, Chief Operating Officer Mark Norman said that reducing the staffing levels was necessary to ensure that the health system would remain viable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many elective procedures and general appointments, which bring in the most revenue at the hospitals, have been postponed due to patients attempting to follow the Stay at Home orders or because they are concerned about visiting the hospital in person.
Penn Highlands officials say these measures will take effect immediately and will not compromise patient care or safety.
The furloughs will be in effect until May 31.
Norman says the majority of the 600 employees have been furloughed, not laid off, which means they could come back more quickly once needed again.
Penn Highlands Healthcare has seen its volumes system-wide drop by more than 40 percent, just in the past two or three weeks.
4,400 people are employed across the Penn Highlands Healthcare system. Of the approximately 600 employees that will be affected, 338 of them worked at Penn Highlands DuBois.
Harrisburg, PA – The state House advanced two pieces of legislation designed to keep Pennsylvania jobs competitive with neighboring states during the COVID-19 pandemic, while offering local governments and their constituents some flexibility during the pandemic.
State Reps. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) and Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield/Cambria) issued the following statement in reaction to House passage of Senate Bills 613 and 841, which now await Senate consideration Wednesday before heading to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. Learn more about the Bills here.
DuBois, PA – Penn Highlands DuBois confirmed yesterday that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, but that person had been away from the hospital itself for multiple weeks beforehand.
Penn Highlands says no patients or staff were exposed to the virus through the employee.
The employee reportedly had been on vacation, followed by a two-week isolation period.
It was on the employee’s first day back that the illness was identified. She had followed protocol, entered through the correct entrance, had a verbal screening, and a temperature check by an employee wearing protective gear.
When symptoms were recognized during the check, the employee was sent home.
According to unofficial reports, she is on the road to a full recovery and is doing much better.
Harrisburg, PA -The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., April 12, that there are 1,178 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 22,833. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania now have cases of COVID-19.
The department also reported 13 new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 507.
County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is implementing new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The COVID-19 relief package temporarily provides an additional $600 per week, makes self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers eligible for benefits and extends unemployment compensation (UC) benefits for an additional 13 weeks.
The federal benefits are in addition to Pennsylvania’s regular unemployment benefit, which is about half of a person’s full-time weekly income up to $572 per week for 26 weeks.
Additional $600 Per Week
As part of the CARES Act, unemployment benefits are being expanded to provide an additional $600 per week beginning the week ending April 4, 2020, through the week ending July 25, 2020. This temporary emergency increase in benefits is referred to as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.
On Friday, L&I issued the first $600 payments. All eligible claimants that filed biweekly claims for the week ending April 4 and who received their regular UC payment should expect to see the additional money either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. For other eligible claimants who have not yet received a regular UC payment, they will receive the extra $600 the week after receiving their first UC payment.
It is very important to note that anyone who currently has federal withholding tax taken out of their benefits will see the same 10% reduction in the FPUC payment, resulting in a $540 payment. For information about changing your withholding election, visit L&I’s Taxes on Benefits page.
The $600 is paid separately from the biweekly UC benefit, and residents do not need to apply.
Visit the department’s FPUC frequently asked questions for more information.
Harrisburg, PA – Continuing his efforts to protect the health and safety of students and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.
The governor made the decision in consultation with Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. Students and families can continue to pick up meals at designated sites.
Although schools are closed, teaching and learning may continue: schools are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible. PDE has secured resources intended to help all schools that want to use them – including those not currently offering online platforms, those requiring additional technology support, and those that may rely on traditional methods, such as paper lessons, to continue educating students. There is no cost to schools or students for these resources.
(AP) — Pennsylvania emergency management officials will be permitted to commandeer N95 face masks, ventilators and other crucial medical equipment for use in the fight against COVID-19 under an order signed Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf.
The order requires private and public health care facilities, manufacturers and other companies to tabulate their supplies of personal protective gear, drugs and other medical equipment, and provide an inventory to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. PEMA will make the supplies available to areas of the state hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
Several other states, including New York and Minnesota, have issued similar orders.
Harrisburg, PA — Pennsylvanians should take steps to protect themselves from phishing scams that are targeting people who are expecting a stimulus payment from the federal government following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Department of Revenue and Department of Banking and Securities announced today.
“As we all work together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, this unprecedented situation has created new opportunities for criminals to target Pennsylvanians, including those who are vulnerable or struggling,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “We want to remind everyone that they should not provide their direct deposit or other banking information to anyone who contacts them on the phone, through email or text messages, or on social media.”
The stimulus payments, otherwise known as economic impact payments, are being distributed by the federal government as part of the federal economic stimulus legislation that was signed into law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the IRS, in most cases the payments will be directly deposited into the bank accounts that taxpayers previously listed on their federal tax returns.
However, the IRS has reported seeing a surge of scam artists perpetrating phishing schemes where they pose as government officials to trick people into turning over their banking information. Doing so may allow a criminal to steal your identity, file a fraudulent tax return in your name or use your personal data for other illicit purposes.
How Do You Recognise a Scam? Click here to learn more.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., April 7, that there are 1,579 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 14,559.
All 67 counties in Pennsylvania now have cases of COVID-19.
The department also reported 78 new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 240.
County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf urged Pennsylvania manufacturers that currently are producing or can pivot to producing COVID-19-related supplies to submit their information to the newly developed Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal.
“We’re asking everyone to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared to care for patients and that there is access to critical personal protective equipment and products as more individuals and businesses take preventive measures,” Wolf said. “Throughout our commonwealth’s history, our manufacturing sector has answered the call to move us forward and contributed tremendously in times of turbulence. I call upon our private sector to be a part of the solution to this crisis.”
The portal will identify businesses’ critical supply chain capabilities, needs, workforce gaps and innovative opportunities. Reporting this important information and identifying both abilities and needs will help facilitate the connections businesses need to get critical COVID-19-related products to market or retrofit their operations to begin production of those products.
Harrisburg, PA – Recently, Governor Tom Wolf recommended that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life sustaining reasons. As COVID-19 cases steadily rise in the state, Gov. Wolf stressed the need to intensify all measures to help stop the spread of the virus.
Click Here to see step-by-step simple guides for creating your own homemade face mask, with a variety of materials and either with sewing or with no sewing.
“Two days ago, I amplified our social distancing efforts by instituting a statewide stay-at-home order, and today I am asking all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask any time they leave their houses,” Gov. Wolf said. “Masks help prevent people from sharing illnesses. But, they don’t do a great job at keeping people from getting sick; and, they’re not foolproof, so it is critical that our first act is to ask ourselves if we really need to leave our house. If we don’t really, truly need to leave, then we shouldn’t.”
Watch this video from US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams as he demonstrates how to create your own face mask.
Clearfield County, PA – Clearfield County residents are urged to stay at home and for only those with essential jobs to travel outside the county.
Clearfield County COVID-19 Travel Advisory
The Clearfield County Commissioners, in conjunction with county EMA Director Joe Bigar, are urging county residents to minimize their travel. Read the full advisory here.
AP: Starting this Saturday, every Walmart across the nation will limit the number of customers in each store at one time, dropping it down to about 20 percent capacity.
Beginning April 4, all Walmart locations will allow five customers in per 1,000 square feet of store space.
Harrisburg, PA – During a COVID-19 press briefing today Governor Tom Wolf recommended that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life sustaining reasons. As COVID-19 cases steadily rise in the state, Gov. Wolf stressed the need to intensify all measures to help stop the spread of the virus. See Gov. Wolf’s full statement here.
Pittsburgh, PA – The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is testing a potential vaccine against COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2.
Dr. Louis Falo, of the University of Pittsburgh School, says the vaccine is delivered through a fingertip-sized patch.
Researchers say the vaccine produced SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in mice at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus, although more testing and clinical trials would have to be done.
Listen to the interview with Dr. Falo.
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn reminded Pennsylvanians that being outdoors is good health care and self care, but recommendations for social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus still apply.
“During this time of significant changes to our daily routines it’s clear that our need for and appreciation of nature is greater than ever,” Dunn said. “Outdoor activities are a great idea to relieve stress and as immunity boosters, but they should not include exposure to high-touch surfaces or other groups of people — we need to spread out.”
Dunn noted the best advice to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home. Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, or running is allowed if social distancing is maintained.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced all 67 Pennsylvania counties will be under stay-at-home orders effective Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m.
“This is the most prudent option to stop the spread of COVID-19 across our commonwealth, where cases continue to grow daily,” Gov. Wolf said. “We appreciate the shared sacrifice of all 12.8 million Pennsylvanians; we are in this together and this statewide stay-at-home order is being made after many discussions with multiple state agencies; Dr. Levine; and state, county and local officials as we continue to monitor the most effective ways to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Previously, there were 33 counties on statewide stay-at-home orders. The first orders were issued on March 23 for seven counties.
The statewide stay-at-home order takes effect at 8 p.m, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, and will continue until April 30. All Pennsylvania schools will remain closed until further notice and non-life-sustaining business closures remain in effect. All essential state services will continue.
Harrisburg, PA – Beginning yesterday, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board resumed limited sales from www.FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com, accepting a controlled number of orders per day with plans to increase order capacity as fulfillment capacity increases.
Customers will be limited to purchasing up to six bottles per transaction from a reduced catalogue of about 1,000 top-selling wines and spirits. All orders must be shipped to home or non-store addresses, and only one order per address will be fulfilled per day.
Harrisburg, PA – Gov. Tom Wolf has placed all of Pennsylvania under an order to stay at home, dramatically expanding the geographic footprint of the quarantine as state officials combat the coronavirus pandemic. Wolf added 34 counties to his stay-home edict.
That means residents of all 67 of Pennsylvania’s counties must now stay home as much as possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Coronavirus infections are continuing to rise dramatically in the state. There have been nearly 1,000 new confirmed cases reported Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania State Police will no longer respond in person to some types of calls.
UNDATED (AP) — Pennsylvania State Police will no longer respond in person to some types of calls as the agency tries to limit troopers’ contact with the public and slow the spread of the new virus. State police say that calls for lost and found, littering, identity theft, and general requests to speak to a trooper are among the types of calls that will now be resolved with “limited or no-scene response.” The new policy took effect Wednesday and will be in force until further notice. State police say troopers will continue to respond to emergencies. Meanwhile, the Allegheny County jail said it released more than 600 inmates in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:
- Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home
- Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing
- To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business
To care for a family member or pet in another household
- Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
- Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
- Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
- Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order
- Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth
- Anyone performing life-sustaining travel does not need paperwork to prove the reason for travel
The following operations are exempt:
Life-sustaining business activities
Health care or medical services providers
Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks
Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders
The federal government
Individuals experiencing homelessness are not subject to this order but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.
International students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt and may remain in campus housing.
At this time, law enforcement will be focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement. To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number or the nearest Pennsylvania State Police station. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community and Economic Development to file reports. Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 31, that there are 756 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the
statewide total to 4,843 in 60 counties.
The department also reported 14 new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 63.
County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of part of his request to the President for a major disaster declaration to support state, county and local response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Pennsylvania. Read the full story here.
Harrisburg, PA – Even as people are staying at home in response to the novel coronavirus, PennDOT has promised to continue urgent emergency work to roadways and bridges so that Pennsylvanians will have a reliable transportation system.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that 61 emergency and critical highway and bridge projects will be active statewide this week. While the normal highway and bridge construction program has paused as the commonwealth addresses COVID-19 response, urgent emergency work has continued to ensure a reliable transportation system as circumstances surrounding COVID-19 continue to unfold.
On March 17, in response to Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation guidance, PennDOT paused construction projects statewide to minimize COVID-19 exposure for PennDOT and private-sector employees, as well as the communities where they live and work.
“A safe and reliable transportation network is always of the utmost importance, but it becomes even more crucial in times of crisis,” said Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We need to ensure that work continues on these critical projects, and we are taking the proper precautions to help ensure the safety of both our employees and our partners in the industry.”
For any work activity addressing critical asset issues, strategies are deployed that include cleanliness protocols for job sites and offices, social distancing guidelines, procedures to address employee sickness, and the safe handling of material deliveries.
The emergency work that continues addresses specific safety need criteria, such as landslide repairs, or critical bridge, tunnel and drainage repairs, and work needed to eliminate roadway restrictions that could impede the ability for the movement of life sustaining goods and services. Conditions are continuously evaluated to determine the appropriate response.
Harrisburg, PA – Although most recently they had been hoping to reopen by April 6, all Pennsylvania schools will now remain closed indefinitely as coronavirus continues to spread in the state.
This means that schools and non-life-sustaining businesses will remain closed until they are given the notice to reopen again.
This could also potentially mean that schools may not reopen before the end of the school year., although nothing is set in stone.
See Gov. Wolf’s full statement here.
Washington DC (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has announced that the deadline for filing U.S. income taxes has been moved from April 15 to July 15.
Mnuchin tweeted the morning of March 20 that at President Donald Trump’s direction, “we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”
The administration had announced earlier in the week that it would delay the payments, a move that Mnuchin said would leave $300 billion in the economy at a critical time.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 29, that there are 643 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total
to 3,394 in 58 counties. The department also reported four new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 38.
County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania will use $50 million in state funding to supply medical equipment to hospitals and other healthcare workers to prepare for combatting the novel coronavirus.
Governor Tom Wolf announced that he will spend up to $50 million in transferred state funding to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency workers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania. See Gov. Wolf’s full statement here.
Harrisburg, PA – New funding is available to help small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, through a new program under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s (PIDA) Small Business First Fund, the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA).
The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) recently authorized the transfer of $40 million to the Small Business First Fund for CWCA. PIDA authorized making $60 million available to provide loans of $100,000 or less to for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees. Funds are expected to become available this week. Learn more about the Small Business First Fund here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that the Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.
PennDOT closed all driver and photo license centers on March 16 and paused REAL ID issuance in the state out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health. Centers will reopen no sooner than April 3. PennDOT also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requesting that the agency consider extending the October 1, 2020 REAL ID enforcement deadline.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 25, that there are 276 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,127 in 44 counties.
The department also reported four new deaths, bringing the statewide death total to 11.
All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration reported four more coronavirus-related deaths in Pennsylvania on Wednesday and ordered residents of Lehigh and Northampton counties to stay home, with few exceptions.
Before Wednesday, Wolf’s orders covered eight counties, including Philadelphia, Allegheny County and Philadelphia’s four heavily populated suburban counties.
The 10 counties account for half of Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million residents and 80% of its more than 1,120 coronavirus cases.
Lawmakers also passed a measure to delay Pennsylvania’s primary election by five weeks, potentially past the spike of the state’s spreading coronavirus cases. Wolf plans to sign it.
Clearfield County, PA – As of the noon report on Wednesday, March 25, there are now two confirmed cases in Clearfield County.
DuBois, PA – Penn Highlands Healthcare invites community members and organizations to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the region’s healthcare system.
Penn Highlands will add these supplies to their inventory as the healthsystem enacts preparedness measures in the event that the spread of COVID-19 should pose a threat to our community.
Learn more about Penn Highlands request here.
Clearfield County, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed one case of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Clearfield County.
The case was added to the department’s COVID-19 map on Tuesday, March 24 during their noon update.
This brings the number of confirmed cases in PA (as of 1:40 p.m. Tuesday) to 851.
No details can be given about the individual involved or their condition.
During an informal press conference, Penn Highlands Healthcare said that this individual was not in any of their hospitals but has been confirmed as a positive COVID-19 test result.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Pennsylvania’s coronavirus death toll has risen by one.
The Allegheny County Health Department confirmed the death on Saturday and described the person as an adult in the late 60s who had been hospitalized.
More than 370 coronavirus cases and two deaths have been reported in Pennsylvania.
Lawyers for Gov. Tom Wolf, meanwhile, are asking a court to toss a lawsuit challenging his authority to shutter “non-life-sustaining” Pennsylvania businesses.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf is ordering residents of Pennsylvania’s hardest-hit areas to stay home to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus that has sickened hundreds and caused six deaths statewide.
He also shuttered schools statewide for an additional two weeks.
Harrisburg, PA – Today the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced that all schools in the state will be closed for an additional two weeks, trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
All schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed until at least April 6, in order to help with COVID-19 response efforts.
It is possible that the closure might be extended longer if necessary.
Gov, Tom Wolf announced that, if it’s determined that students can return to school, administrators, teachers and other staff will be given two days to prepare classrooms, reset the cafeterias, schedule buses and transport for kids, and arrange other business operations.
Students would return on the third day, after the school is prepared of them.
The Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera, said the state’s 29 intermediate units will be providing technical assistance to help develop education plans for all students.
Standardized testing has been cancelled for this school year, include the PSSA testing and Keystone exams, the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment, and all career and tech educational standardized testing for this year.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf reminded Pennsylvanians that grocery stores, food processors, and food banks remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration is working to expand resources for those who are food insecure.
Pennsylvanians should feel confident in the food supply and shop for food at their normal rate.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21 2020.
DuBois, PA – COVID-19 testing is available at Penn Highlands Healthcare for patients. But, not everyone needs to be tested, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
If patients have symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough or shortness of breath – they should call their primary care providers/family doctors.
Anyone without a primary care provider/family doctor, can call the Penn Highlands Call Center at 814-375-6644 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The next steps will be explained here.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf has announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Learn more about these low-interest business loans here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today confirmed the state’s first COVID-19-related death, an adult from Northampton County. This individual was being treated at a hospital.
Statewide, there are 133 cases of COVID-19 reported from commercial, hospital and state labs.
There are 1,187 patients who have tested negative. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
The Disease Control and Prevention Act protects the right to privacy and confidentiality of Pennsylvanians, so at this time, there is no additional information available about the patient.
Jefferson County, PA – Jefferson County Commissioners have declared a disaster emergency, as has Punxsutawney Borough.
Government, municipal, township, and city buildings have been closed off to the public, although employees will continue to work diligently inside.
Officially declaring a disaster emergency means that government officials can legally do things like close municipal building to the public, delay deadlines, and request funding on state and federal levels.
Although no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed for either Jefferson or Clearfield Counties, our area is taking precautions to slow the spread as much as possible.
You will see many businesses either closed or operating on reduced hours, and restaurants are not allowed to offer dine-in meals, only take-out or delivery.
You might also see emergency responders in protective suits. Don’t be alarmed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re responding to someone with novel coronavirus symptoms. They’re being cautious for the sake of themselves and for others.
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania is joining the list of states to temporarily close all non-essential businesses. What are the differences between nonessential and essential? See Gov. Wolf’s clarification here.
Gov. Tom Wolf has extended the shutdown, which originally only affected the five most heavily populated counties in the state. This is a directive from the Pennsylvania government, but it will be up to each business to self-enforce.
All essential government and medical services will continue. Other essential businesses like pharmacies, grocery stores, health care facilities, and gas stations will stay open.
State-run liquor stores will also shut down at 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 17th 2020, wine and beer can still be purchased at grocery stores that carry them.
***For more information on filing unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis click here.
Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics
For all press releases regarding coronavirus, please visit here.
Find the latest information on the coronavirus here.
Photos of the state’s lab in Exton are available for download and use here.
Coronavirus and preparedness graphics are available here near the bottom of the page: On.pa.gov/coronavirus
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is implementing the following operational changes in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19. All Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks effective close of business on Monday, March 16. Learn more about PennDot operational changes due to COVID-19 here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is supplementing staffing in the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) to monitor the progress of COVID-19, more commonly referred to as “coronavirus,” with specially trained staff from multiple state agencies.
The CRCC staffing will include personnel from the following agencies, departments and organizations: Office of Administration; Agriculture; Banking and Securities; Community and Economic Development; Corrections; Education; General Services; Health; Drug and Alcohol Programs; Insurance; Military and Veterans Affairs; Human Services; PA State Police; Transportation; PA State System of Higher Education; PA Turnpike Commission; PA Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (PA VOAD); and American Red Cross.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Individuals most at risk for severe symptoms include elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
You are reminded to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
- If you are sick, you should stay home until you are feeling better.
To date, there are nearly 128,000 cases worldwide, including more than 4,700 deaths. There are 1,323 cases and 38 deaths to date in the United States. The department expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. The department also said due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19 around the world, it is important for families to be prepared.
The Wolf Administration Preparedness Actions
The World Health Organization first announced the coronavirus outbreak in late January and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has had its Department Operations Center operating since February 1. The center allows for a collaborative, concentrated state response, including:
- Maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
- Reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans to prepare for spread of COVID-19;
- Provided symptom monitoring for residents returning from areas impacted by coronavirus;
- Provided health care providers, businesses and education providers with information;
- Begun testing for COVID-19 at the state laboratory;
- Increased testing capacity;
- Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration March 6 to ensure state agencies involved in the response have the expedited resources they need to continue to focus on the virus and its possible spread.
Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Outline COVID-19 Mitigation Guidance for Montgomery County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Health Take Aggressive Action to Stop Spread
Harrisburg, PA – One thing that won’t be shut down during the response to COVID-19… your utilities. Basic utilities will not be terminated due to lack of payment during the Proclamation of Disaster.
On Friday, March 13, 2020, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille signed an emergency order prohibiting electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utility terminations.
The moratorium will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6 related to the Coronavirus, is in effect.
Under the unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing a termination moratorium for utility services under the PUC’s jurisdiction is consistent with the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency and the requirements of the Public Utility Code. Under the order, terminations would be permitted in the event of a safety emergency.
“I believe that issuance of an emergency order is appropriate under the unique circumstances,” said the emergency order signed by Chairman Dutrieuille. “It is beyond argument that the provision of public utility service is necessary for the safety of the public. This is especially the case under the current challenges that resulted in the Proclamation of a pandemic emergency.”
Pursuant to the Commission’s regulations governing emergency relief, an emergency order will be issued only when there exists a clear and present danger to life or property or when the relief requested is uncontested and action is required prior to the next scheduled public meeting.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the
“Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.
DuBois, PA – Penn Highlands Jefferson Manor in Brookville and Penn Highlands Elk Pinecrest Manor in St. Marys, both a part of Penn Highlands Healthcare, are restricting visitors, as per the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for long-term care facilities.
This means no visitors are allowed unless there are emergency circumstances approved by nursing home administration. These restrictions are in place to protect residents and staff.
Also, Penn Highlands Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is limiting visitors to the babies’ parents. This will protect the littlest patients, families and staff.
DuBois, PA – Concerned or curious about how the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 is being handled in our area? Experts from Penn Highlands Healthcare will be the guests on this week’s Contact Show with Joe Taylor. Hear the program here.
The show will feature Sue Stiner, PH’s Director of Infection Prevention and Control, and Dr. Deepak Garg, an Infectious Diseases Physician.
They’ll cover how our communities are preparing for coronavirus and planning to stop or slow its spread. They’ll also explain what exactly the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is in comparison to the common flu, how it is spread, and everyday tips that you can put to use.
Dr. Shaun Sheehan, leader of the Penn Highlands COVID-19 Task Force, talks about the misconceptions about the illness and small steps you can take to lower your risk of infection. He says it comes down to washing your hands more often, not touching your face, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you feel sick.
You shouldn’t panic, but you do want to take it seriously. A big question has been why this specific coronavirus has been gaining so much attention, in comparison to other illnesses that might have higher fatality rates.
The main concern for COVID-19 is not necessarily that people will contract it… the vast majority of people are predicted to only see minor symptoms, maybe a very similar feeling to having the flu. However, if everyone is infected at once, even if the percentage of people who need to be hospitalized is relatively low, hospitals will simply not have enough beds, staffing, or resources to handle it.
Instead, experts say that if we practice good hygiene and stay home if we’re feeling sick, it will slow down the spread of the virus so not everyone gets hit with the illness at one time.
The elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the most at risk, but it’s all of our responsibilities to make sure that, even if we would be able to fight off the illness ourselves, to not spread the virus to someone who would be at risk of death if they caught it.
Just like you should be doing any time, you should continue washing your hands thoroughly and not touching your face.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Cases of the new coronavirus crept into a new county in Pennsylvania as Penn State and at least a dozen other schools moved classes online while St. Patrick’s Day parades in Philadelphia, Scranton and Pittsburgh were canceled.
Bucks County confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19. That helped boost the statewide total to at least 16 confirmed cases. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is telling state workers to avoid out-of-state business travel and large gatherings.
Philadelphia officials are urging people not to attend events of more than 5,000 attendees, and Penn State encouraged its 76,000 students to stay home the next three weeks.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health this morning confirmed one additional presumptive positive case of COVID-19 – a resident from Montgomery County,
bringing the statewide total to 11 presumptive positive cases. This resident is hospitalized.
The department also announced that it will hold a daily press briefing at PEMA headquarters at 1310 Elmerton Ave. in Harrisburg every day at noon to announce the latest efforts and updates on the commonwealth’s response to COVID-19.
“While we anticipate that there will be more Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks, it is important for residents to know the commonwealth is prepared and to be prepared themselves,” Dr. Levine said. “Right now, you have a higher chance of testing positive for COVID-19 if you have traveled to a country or state with known community outbreaks or have come in contact with someone who has the virus. We are working with the health care community across Pennsylvania to keep them informed, consult on patient testing and ensuring they have the resources they need to care for patients.”
The World Health Organization first announced the coronavirus outbreak in late January and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has had its Emergency Operations Center set up since February 1. The center allows for a collaborative, concentrated state response, including:
• Activated the Department of Health’s Emergency Operations Center to allow for enhanced response coordination;
• Begun testing for COVID-19 at the state laboratory;
• Maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
• Provided symptom monitoring for residents returning from areas impacted by coronavirus;
• Provided health care providers, businesses and education providers with information;
• Reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans to prepare for spread of COVID-19;
• Increased testing capacity;
• Partially activated the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at PEMA.
• Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration March 6 to ensure state agencies involved in the response have the expedited resources they need to continue to focus on the virus and its possible spread.
• The Department of Health is providing a daily update via statewide press release.
• On March 9, Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine began to provide daily press briefings. Today’s press briefing will be at noon at PEMA.
To date, there are nearly 116,000 cases worldwide, including more than 4,000 deaths. There are 755 cases and 26 deaths to date in the United States. The department expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. The department also said due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19 around the world, it is important for families to be prepared.
Comments from State Health Secretary
“Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur. We encourage people to prepare for potential life disruptions. The same family emergency plans and kits that we use to prepare for flu or norovirus, and even snowstorms and floods, are important now.
“Since the start of flu season, we have encouraged Pennsylvanians to stop the spread of illnesses by washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are sick. Those are the same healthy habits you should continue to practice to protect your family and yourself against the spread of this virus.
“Individuals who intend on traveling outside of the United States are urged to check the CDC’s and the federal Department of State’s travel guidance. Currently there are outbreaks of COVID19 occurring within numerous countries across the world. The number of countries seeing new cases has increased significantly over the last week.
“As this situation evolves, we will continually update Pennsylvanians through our website, health.pa.gov, our Facebook page and our Twitter account,” Dr. Levine said. “It’s important to remember that the most accurate and timely information regarding this outbreak is available through the Department of Health.”