PHILADELPHIA - Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday 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.
In one stroke, Wolf added 34 counties to his stay-home edict, meaning that residents of all 67 of Pennsylvania's counties must now stay home as much as possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
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With coronavirus infections continuing to rise dramatically in the state, with nearly 1,000 new confirmed cases reported Tuesday, Wolf called a statewide quarantine "the most prudent option."
"We appreciate the shared sacrifice of all 12.8 million Pennsylvanians; we are in this together," Wolf said in a statement.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (Office of Gov. Tom Wolf)
The expanded order took effect at 8 p.m. Wednesday and will last through at least April 30.
Residents may leave their homes for a number of reasons. Exceptions include working at a business that’s still open, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, visiting a doctor, caring for a relative, or heading outside to exercise.
Police will continue to focus on informing residents of the order rather than on enforcement, according to the governor's office.
Officials said the stay-at-home order won’t be relaxed until there is a consistent decline in the number of new cases that shows the measures are slowing the spread of the virus.
Separately, schools and nonessential businesses are closed until further notice.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.