The first case of coronavirus in the Lehigh Valley has been discovered. The state Health Department says an adult is presumed positive in Northampton County. There are four other suspected cases in Montgomery County. All five are either in isolation at home or being treated at a hospital. The new cases bring the number of coronavirus patients in Pennsylvania to 22.
There are a handful of local school districts closed today for cleaning purposes. Every Lehigh Valley Catholic-affiliated school has been closed today by order of the Allentown Diocese. Numerous local churches are cancelling weekend services as well.
No visitors will be allowed at the Easton City Hall starting next week. City officials say the measure, which begins Monday, is being taken because of coronavirus fears. City workers can still help residents by phone or email. All recreational and athletic events in Easton have also been cancelled until further notice.
As a coronavirus precaution, Lehigh University will switch to online only classes through the end of the semester. University officials say that will start Monday to avoid the spread of coronavirus. There are no positive cases of the virus on Lehigh's campus. Updates on commencement ceremonies are expected soon.
The shutdown of big league sports is affecting minor league sports as well. The American Hockey League has suspended its operations, meaning the Lehigh Valley Phantoms won't be playing anytime soon. Major League Baseball has halted spring training and pushed back opening day by at least two weeks, meaning the Lehigh Valley IronPigs' season is also being pushed back by at least that long. Penn State has also announced its annual Blue-White game scheduled for next month has been cancelled.
Gov. Tom Wolf is asking Pennsylvanians to begin significant and decisive social distancing today across the state. The recommended measures include canceling gatherings of more than 250 people and staying away from recreational areas. Wolf is also asking religious leaders to use discretion to help prevent the spread of the illness.
Gov. Tom Wolf is putting special provisions in place in Montgomery County to try to stop the coronavirus from spreading. The governor announced that public places, including schools and community centers, will be closed for 14 days. He said a no-visitors policy will be implemented at nursing homes and prisons. Wolf added that no mass gatherings, like concerts, should be held. While the actions he's taking may seem severe, Wolf says things could get worse if the state doesn't act now.
Six new cases of presumed coronavirus have been reported in New Jersey. The state's total of presumed-positive cases stands at 29, with one death from the illness. Gov. Phil Murphy has recommended any event where more than 250 people are expected to be cancelled. Murphy says he's not mandating a ban in order to let people make their own decisions.
New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver says residents can now follow the number of coronavirus cases by county. The state is launching an online tracker that also lists each county by risk levels. Bergen County has the most presumptive positive cases with 13 and carries a moderate risk.
Officials in New Jersey are warning residents there to be aware of coronavirus scams. In one recent scam, thieves posing as representatives from the Centers for Disease Control are going door-to-door, claiming to represent the government. The CDC says it does not assign people to go to homes to survey residents and these scammers should be reported to police.
Wells Fargo Center will be closed for events, games and concerts for the rest of this month. The arena has postponed all events that were scheduled for the remainder of March over coronavirus concerns. The facility was closed yesterday to be cleaned.
Philadelphia 76ers players and staff are currently in self-quarantine. This comes after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the cancellation of of the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game. The Sixers play the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night and the Pistons played Utah last Saturday. Every player has been advised to self-quarantine. Any player who shows symptoms will undergo testing for the virus.
A Berks County woman could face the death penalty if she's convicted in the deaths of her two children. The Berks DA says he will seek the death penalty against Lisa Snyder, the Albany Township woman accused of killing her eight-year-old son Conner and four-year-old daughter Brinley by hanging them in the family's basement. DA John Adams says the allegations are so serious, he had no choice but to pursue capital punishment.