Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has the state's most updated coronavirus numbers. "We have 96 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive for COVID-19," Levine says. 20 new cases were reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday. Levine says all 20 are either isolated at home or being treated in a hospital. A third of the 96 cases are in Montgomery County. Both Monroe and Bucks counties have eight cases. Lehigh and Northampton counties both have one case each.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey is urging residents to pay attention to what the medical experts both here and in Washington are saying and do the best you can to limit your interaction with others for at least a couple weeks. "This remains an important way to limit the spread of this virus and diminish the risk that people with serious symptoms would, at some point, overcome our ability to deal with them," the Republican says. Toomey says he's pleased more and more testing is being done and the results of those tests are being known far more quickly now, but says there is still plenty more work to be done to have supply meet demand.
Health Network Laboratories' Dr. Ronald Walsh says more and more Lehigh Valley residents are now getting greenlighted for coronavirus testing. "We are no longer limited testing to travel or specific known exposure. It would now be basically anyone with flu-like symptoms where a clear, alternate diagnosis is not available," Walsh says. He says Health Network Laboratories will be handling almost all of Lehigh Valley Health Network-ordered coronavirus testing and in most cases get results within one-to-three days.
If you have a non-life saving operation scheduled, there's a pretty good chance it won't be happening any time soon. Both Lehigh Valley and St. Luke's University health networks have decided to limit elective operations to get ready for an expected rush in coronavirus patients here. While freeing up more doctors to treat the likely surge in ill patients, the decision also conserve blood, ventilators and protective equipment. The policy, which follows the recommendations of the Surgeon General, takes effect tomorrow and will last at least two weeks.
Most local grocery stores are changing their hours in response to the coronavirus. Redner's grocery stores will now be open from 6am to 9pm. Weis stores will be open from 7am to 9pm. Wegmans says its local stores will be open from 6am to 11pm. Earlier, Giant said its 24-hour stores would be open from 6am to midnight and Walmart said its 24-hour stores will be open from 6am to 11pm. All say the decision gives them more time to stock shelves and thoroughly clean its stores.
All state-owned liquor stores across Pennsylvania are now closed. The Liquor Control Board made the decision following Gov. Tom Wolf's declaration that all non-essential businesses be closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Before last night's 9 o'clock deadline last night, long lines of people were seen entering and exiting most of the stores. Grocery stores that sell wine and beer are not being made to stop. The LCB says the closure will be revisited at the end of the month.
The Pennsylvania Task Force is going to Citizens Bank Park to help slow the coronavirus. The role of the task force is to support state and local emergency personnel efforts to manage disasters. The group is one of many established by FEMA to respond to crisis type situations. The ball park is now a coronavirus testing location.
State Supreme Court Justice David Wecht is self-quarantining after one of his children tested positive for coronavirus. Wecht's father, Dr. Cyril Wecht, says the diagnosis came Monday after Justice Wecht's son was studying abroad in Spain and returned home. It's reported that Wecht's son was exhibiting mild symptoms and was tested.
The American Hockey League season will not resume before May at the earliest. League officials say the indefinite suspension won't be lifted before May, so all players can now return home. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms' season was paused last week with about six weeks remaining in the season.
Allegheny County Health Department officials say they are expecting nearly half of the community to get the coronavirus over the next few months. Dr. Debora Bogen estimated that number at between 40-and-60-percent of the county's population, with most of those infected being fine. Bogen's concern is for those who have a compromised immune system, with this effort focusing on decreasing the rate of the spread to that demographic.
Allegheny County's DA isn't opposed to the release of nonviolent inmates who may be at high risk of contracting coronavirus. District Attorney Stephen Zappala's office is trying to identify high-risk inmates who are using public defenders to see if they can be released from Allegheny County Jail. County officials say they have been able to curb conditions that could spread the flu annually and now will bar visitors for the time being.
The number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey saw its biggest increase since the outbreak began, with 89 new cases recorded Tuesday. There are now 267 COVID-19 cases in the state. Most cases are concentrated in northern New Jersey, with Bergen County recording the most cases at 84.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has announced new measures to help the state manage the coronavirus outbreak. He has ordered all shopping malls and amusement parks closed and he discouraged non-essential travel in the state after 8 o'clock at night. He says help is available for residents who have been laid off or had their hours reduced. Murphy says the state has been working with the federal government to bring financial relief to small businesses as quickly as possible.
A Rutgers-Camden study says New Jersey is ill-prepared to handle a worst-case scenario from the coronavirus outbreak. The study determines the state lacks the number of hospital beds it would need to accommodate the anticipated thousands of patients who would need in-patient care. The study says the social distancing, such as closing schools and restaurants, will help lessen the impact and flatten the curve of the outbreak.
A 28-year-old woman is dead after a single-vehicle crash in Moore Township Tuesday morning. Rachel Kocher died after crashing at Valley View Drive and East Dannersville Road around 8am. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
A new system will be used by the Diocese of Allentown to accept reports of sexual abuse allegations against bishops. As part of the Catholic Abuse Reporting System, accusations will go to an independent group for investigation. All reports involving children will also be forwarded to the police. The service can be accessed at www.reportbishopabuse.org.
Allentown will temporarily suspend its street sweeping programming, starting today. City officials say the suspension continues through Sunday, April 5th. No street cleaning tickets will be issued for the duration of that time. The move was made as part of an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Philadelphia Eagles will not pick up a club option on Malcolm Jenkins, releasing the Pro Bowl safety. The Eagles made the announcement Tuesday after they resigned cornerback Jalen Mills with the intention of switching his position to safety. Jenkins was a huge part of the Eagles' Super Bowl win in 2017. The safety spent six seasons in Philadelphia after being drafted by the New Orleans Saints.