Pennsylvania COVID-19 cases rise to 2,218 with 22 reported deaths

There are currently at least 2,218 cases of the novel coronavirus in Pennsylvania, according to state health officials. Twenty-two deaths have been reported.

FULL COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS

A look at the latest developments in Pennsylvania:

___

CASES

Below is a breakdown of the cases by county.

– Adams County: 8

– Allegheny County: 158, including 2 deaths

– Armstrong County: 1

– Beaver County: 14

– Berks County: 65

– Blair County: 1

– Bradford County: 2

– Bucks County: 124

– Butler County: 26, including 1 death

– Cambria County: 1

– Carbon County: 2

– Centre County: 11

Chester County: 107

– Clearfield County: 2

– Columbia County: 3

Cumberland County: 16

– Dauphin County: 18

– Delaware County: 185, including 4 deaths

– Erie County: 7

– Fayette County: 9

– Franklin County: 5

– Greene County: 4

– Indiana County: 2

– Juniata County: 1

– Lackawanna County: 35, including 2 deaths

– Lancaster County: 33

– Lawrence County: 4

– Lebanon County: 12

Lehigh County: 93, including 2 deaths

– Luzerne County: 55, including 2 deaths

– Lycoming County: 2

– Mercer County: 4

– Monroe County: 98, including 2 deaths

– Montgomery County: 374, including 4 deaths

– Montour County: 4

Northampton County: 79, including 3 deaths

– Philadelphia County: 637, including 3 deaths

– Pike County: 23

– Potter County: 1

– Schuylkill County: 13

– Somerset County: 2

– Susquehanna County: 1

– Warren County: 1

– Washington County: 14

– Wayne County: 6

– Westmoreland County: 30

– York County: 29

WHAT WE KNOW

Most of the state’s positive COVID-19 patients are in eastern Pennsylvania.

The confirmed cases largely have been traced back to contact with the new coronavirus in another state or country. Most people are at home in isolation, officials say; a few are hospitalized.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The vast majority of people recover.

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round magenta objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML)


RELATED COVERAGE:

Wolf issues stay-at-home order for suburban Philadelphia counties

Interactive map tracks spread of COVID-19 globally

Wolf modifies shutdown order amid complaints, lawsuits

WHO: Type of cough may differentiate coronavirus from cold


SCHOOL CLOSURES

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has extended state school closures through at least April 6.

The school shutdown order affects more than 1.7 million school children, in public and private K-12 schools.

When it is determined that students can return to school, administrators, teachers and other staff will be given two days to prepare classrooms, set up cafeterias, schedule transportation and arrange other business operations. Students would return on the third day.

PHILADELPHIA

Philadelphia officials are issuing a stay-at-home order and banning public gatherings beginning 8 a.m. Monday in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The city is using a special system to share important information about COVID-19 through free text alerts. You can text the keyword COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive info and updates through ReadyPhiladelphia, the city's mass communication system.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health on Saturday announced the activation of the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112. The 24/7 helpline is a free resource to anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area who has questions about COVID-19.

MEAL SERVICE

Philadelphia officials are providing meal service for students while schools remain closed.

For more information, including available pick-up sites, see here.

Shelves in Montgomery County are empty as customers stock up on cleaning supplies.

STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday ordered residents of Pennsylvania’s hardest-hit areas to stay home for at least two weeks to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus that has already sickened hundreds and caused six deaths statewide.

Wolf implored residents to take heed of his order to stay at home.

“You need to ask yourself, do I really need to make this trip? Or am I going to put someone else’s life in jeopardy by making this trip? Am I going to be saving a life by staying home?” Wolf said.

The order took effect at 8 p.m. Monday.

In all, 5.5 million people, or more than 40% of the state’s population, have been ordered to stay home. Wolf said residents will be able to leave their homes for “allowable activities.”

LEGAL ACTIONS

Several more businesses have filed a legal challenge to Wolf’s order closing the physical locations of businesses determined to be “non-life-sustaining.”

A petition filed in Commonwealth Court seeks to have Wolf’s shutdown order thrown out. The plaintiffs are a law firm, a laundromat, a timber company and a golf course, all of which appeared on the governor’s initial list of businesses that were to shut down as of Thursday night.

The Wolf administration has since revised the list, relaxing its blanket closure of law offices and placing laundromats and timber companies on the “life sustaining” list, allowing them to stay open.

But the lawsuit said Wolf “quite simply made up these categories and their terminology out of whole cloth,” and alleges his shutdown order and subsequent revisions “caused mass confusion and disturbance throughout Pennsylvania.”

Wolf has already beat back two other legal challenges to his authority to order businesses to close.

Separately, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and other lawyers filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking the release of 13 people from civil detention as they await resolution of their immigration cases. The lawsuit says the detainees are older or suffer from medical conditions that put them at greater risk of COVID-19. The detainees are currently being held in the Clinton, Pike and York county jails.

WHAT'S OPEN AND CLOSED

Businesses that remain open to the public include grocery stores, pharmacies, hotels and motels, beer distributors, laundromats and gas stations. Restaurants are only open for take-out orders. The open list also includes farms, mines, food production and some manufacturing.

Car dealers, clothing stores and other retailers, salons and entertainment venues are among those on the shuttered list.

Meanwhile, motorists of all types, not just truck drivers, are getting access to indoor facilities at 23 interstate rest stops across Pennsylvania.

The state Transportation Department on Tuesday said it was reopening the indoor bathrooms and would keep them cleaned and maintained.

The agency had previously reopened a smaller number of stops, with portable restrooms, and made them available to truck drivers. The reopened indoor bathrooms are on interstates 79, 80, 81 and 84.

SHUTDOWN ENFORCEMENT

On Monday, the first day of enforcement, Pennsylvania State Police troopers issued 27 warnings, but no citations, based on Wolf's directive that businesses deemed not life-sustaining close their physical locations.

The overwhelming majority of people and businesses were complying voluntarily with the order, the state police commissioner, Col. Robert Evanchick, said Tuesday.

Other forms of enforcement will follow the warnings, if needed, he said.


RELATED COVERAGE:

How COVID-19 has impacted Delaware Valley so far

Wolf orders shutdown of all non-essential businesses in Pennsylvania

How to spot the difference between the flu and coronavirus

CDC’s ‘flatten the curve’ graphic shows why social distancing is necessary


PRIMARY DATE DELAY

The House voted preliminarily on Tuesday to delay Pennsylvania's April 28 primary election for five weeks, until June 2.

The House and Senate could both pass the bill Wednesday. Wolf will sign it if it reaches his desk, his office said.

The Republican-sponsored amendment would also let counties consolidate polling places, in part because some are currently located within long-term care facilities and because many poll workers are older people who are particularly at risk from COVID-19.

Primary voters will choose candidates for the presidential race, congressional seats, both chambers of the Legislature and the row offices.

The House employed special remote voting procedures adopted as a result of the pandemic, and one leader, Minority Whip Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, wore rubber gloves and used a mask to protect himself.

SUPPLIES TIGHT

With hospitals warning they could run out of masks and other protective gear in about three weeks as COVID-19 spikes, Wolf's administration said it is rushing to procure more medical supplies from the federal government's stockpile, from other states and countries, and from manufacturers repurposing their factories.

"There’s a full-on effort across the administration to make sure we have the supplies for our healthcare personnel to deal with the surge of patients from COVID-19,” Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Tuesday.

Officials have been vague about the state's readiness, however.

Levine has steadfastly refused to say how much protective gear Pennsylvania has in its possession, and how much it still needs to help healthcare workers safely treat the anticipated surge of coronavirus patients. Nor have officials answered questions about the state's supply of respirators, or how many more hospital beds it might need to meet demand.

Carter, of the hospital association, said hospitals are scrambling to obtain enough protective gear to meet demand. Some facilities could run out of masks and other equipment in a matter of days or even hours as they become flooded with COVID-19 patients, he said. Overall, hospitals across the state have about a three-week supply, he said.

___

For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.

DOWNLOAD: FOX 29 NEWS APP

___

The Associated Press contributed to this report.