Wolf expands stay-at-home order to nine more Pa. counties; state tops 2,200 COVID-19 cases

    (Image via The Pittsburgh Current)

    Updated, 2:30 p.m.: The Wolf administration has announced that it is expanding its stay-at-home order to nine more Pennsylvania counties. A total of 19 counties are now covered by such orders.

    The new counties are: Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties. The order takes effect at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 27, and runs until April 6, the administration said in a statement.

    From the administration’s statement:

    Individuals experiencing homelessness are not subject to this order but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.

    International students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt and may remain in campus housing.

    At this time, law enforcement will be focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement. To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number or the nearest Pennsylvania State Police station. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community and Economic Development to file reports. Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online.

    Original Story Starts Here:

    Officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Health said Friday they have confirmed 531 new cases of COVID-19, bringing Pennsylvania’s statewide total to 2,218 cases. The illness is now present in 50 of 67 Pennsylvania counties, the department said in a statement released at midday Friday.

    “Our notable increase in cases over the past few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,”  state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

    According to the Health Department, 21,016 patients have so far tested negative for the illness.

    Of those who have tested positive, the agency said that:

    • Less than 1 percent are aged 0-4;
    • Less than 1 percent are aged 5-12;
    • Nearly 2 percent are aged 13-18;
    • 11 percent are aged 19-24;
    • 40 percent are aged 25-49;
    • Nearly 28 percent are aged 50-64; and
    • 18 percent are aged 65 or older.

    According to the Health Department, most of the state’s 22 fatalities to date have occurred in patients aged 65 and older. There have been no pediatric deaths so far, the agency said in its statement.

    John L. Micek
    John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.