Lehigh County officials say the county's first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the city of Bethlehem. The patient, who works at Lehigh Valley Hospital on 17th Street in Allentown, is self quarantined at home. That individual has not been at the hospital since March 9th, just after they began experiencing symptoms. Lehigh Valley Health Network isn't saying what type of work the ill employee did at the hospital or how many people may have been exposed to that person. LVHN does say that any patients or co-workers who had contact with the individual have been advised to self-quarantine.
Both local hospital networks are revising their visitation policies. St. Luke's University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network issued a joint statement over the weekend outlining the new policy, which prohibits almost all visitors. Exceptions to the new rule are visitors for patients who are near death and parents visiting a child in a pediatric ICU or neonatal ICU and those visitors will be limited to one at a time. Only one visitor per patient will be permitted in the emergency department as well. No visitors under the age of 12 will be permitted. The new visitation policies take effect today at 5 o'clock. The most recent time both St. Luke's and LVHN announced a uniform visitation policy was during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak.
Walmart stores, including five here in the Lehigh Valley, will close its 24-hour stores overnight to restock shelves and thoroughly clean the stores. Those 24-hour stores will now only be open from 6am to 11pm. The local stores affected are the Walmarts on Mill Creek Road in Lower Macungie; Nazareth Road in Lower Nazareth; North West End Road in Quakertown; Route 22 in Phillipsburg, New Jersey: and Blakesless Boulevard in Lehighton.
All 24-hour Giant store locations in Pennsylvania will now run on a reduced schedule. The company says the stores will close at midnight and reopen at 6am, allowing more time for stores to be sanitized and restocked. Pharmacies inside the stores will operate under normal hours.
The most-recent numbers from the Pennsylvania Department of Health show 63 either confirmed or presumed-positive cases of coronavirus here. State Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine explains what happens to those 63 individuals. "They will be required to stay at home as long as they are not very sick or if they need medical attention they'll be hospitalized. They'll be told to stay at home until they're feeling better. They will be in contact with our office or for communities that have a county municipal health department, they'll be in contact with them," Levine says. 446 people have been tested or are in the process of being tested. 205 have tested negative. Another 183 test results are pending.
Gov. Tom Wolf is ordering all restaurants and bars to close their dine-in facilities in five counties across PA for at least the next two weeks. The governor says it's in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. His administration will review and reevaluate the situation near the end of that period to determine if the policy needs to be extended. Any business that doesn't adhere to the order could face enforcement actions.
Pennsylvania is asking state workers in Dauphin County and the Capital Complex to work from home, if possible, starting today. Anyone who is equipped to work from home is to do so immediately. Those who need equipment from their office are to report this morning, pick up what they need, and go home. If an individual's supervisors say they are unable to telewor during the 14-day period, those workers will still be paid under the Paid Office Closing Management directive.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he'll likely order all schools in the Garden State closed because of coronavirus. The governor says a statewide shutdown of school is imminent and he'll explain his decision later today. It's not known how long schools may be closed.
Garden State health officials have identified New Jersey's second death to coronavirus. Rita Fusco-Jackson was a religious education teacher in her 50s when she died. One of Fusco-Jackson's siblings was a friend of John Brennan, the horse trainer who died recently from coronavirus. They believe Fusco-Jackson contracted the virus during a family gathering.
For now, the American Hockey League is only suspending its 2019-2020 season due to the coronavirus spread. There are reports, however, that the league which includes the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, may not continue to mirror the actions of the National Hockey League with a potential late spring-summer return to play this season. Over the weekend, the ECHL, which is a level below the AHL, cancelled the remainder of its season.
A woman is recovering after she was shot at a Salisbury Township restaurant over the weekend. Police responded to the La Cabanita Restaurant around 10 o'clock Saturday night to find a woman with a gunshot wound to the leg. Police say no one else was hurt. The victim was treated at the hospital and sent home. No arrests have been made.
Two men are in the hospital after being stabbed in Lehigh County Sunday morning. Whitehall Township police found the two in the area of the 1200 block of MacArthur Road before 5am. There's no word yet on their condition or any suspects.