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Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Expand ‘Stay at Home’ Order to Lehigh and Northampton Counties to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19, Counties Now Total 10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020
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Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Expand ‘Stay at Home’ Order to Lehigh and Northampton Counties to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19, Counties Now Total 10

Governor Wolf’s Amended Order
Secretary of Health’s Amended Order
Stay at Home Guidance 

Harrisburg, PA – As the state seeks relief to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, today Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised the “Stay at Home” order to include Lehigh and Northampton counties, bringing the state total to 10 counties under the stay-at-home order. The order now includes these 10 counties: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia counties. The amended orders takes effect at 8:00 PM Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.

Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth
  • Anyone performing life-sustaining travel does not need paperwork to prove the reason for travel.

The following operations are exempt:

  • Life-sustaining business activities
  • Health care or medical services providers
  • Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks
  • Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders
  • News media
  • Law enforcement
  • The federal government
  • Religious institutions

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.

Read Governor Wolf’s original order here or view on Scribd. Read Governor Wolf’s amended order here or view on Scribd.

Read Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s original order here or view on Scribd. Read Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s amended order here or view on Scribd.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndsay Kensinger, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 276 New Positives Bring Statewide Total to 1,127

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 276 New Positives Bring Statewide Total to 1,127

Harrisburg, PA- The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 25, that there are 276 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,127 in 44 counties. The department also reported four new deaths, bringing the statewide death total to 11. County-specific information and a statewide map are availablehereAll people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.

“Our notable increase in cases over the past few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “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.”

Statewide, there are 1,127 cases of COVID-19 reported from commercial, hospital and state labs. There are 11,193 patients who have tested negative, and 11 total deaths. With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.

All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide at least through April 6.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has announced since noon, March 24:

For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

  • For the daily COVID-19 Report, visithere.
  • For all press releases regarding coronavirus, please visithere.
  • Find the latest information on the coronavirus here.
  • Photos of the state’s lab in Exton are available for download and usehere.
  • Coronavirus and preparedness graphics are available here near the bottom of the page: here
  • Community preparedness and procedures materials are available here.
  • For an updated map with the number of cases, visit here.

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online atwww.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Nate Wardle, Health, 717-787-1783 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians of Food Assistance Programs and Resources, Encourages Volunteerism to Keep Life-Sustaining Food Services Available

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2020

Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians of Food Assistance Programs and Resources, Encourages Volunteerism to Keep Life-Sustaining Food Services Available

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today reminded Pennsylvanians of food assistance resources available and what actions it is taking to ensure access to food does not stop in spite of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“Life has slowed and it has changed, but it has not stopped for the millions of Pennsylvanians who depend on food assistance programs. We know that this pandemic has caused many people and families to find that they are suddenly food insecure and require assistance,” said Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller. “The Wolf Administration is doing everything it can to ensure that everyone’s food security needs in the commonwealth are met during this uncertain time.” 

Pennsylvanians who need help feeding themselves or their family should find and contact their local food bank or pantry through Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.

DHS is continuing to process applications and benefit renewals for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Emergency SNAP applications can be expedited and issued in five days. Pennsylvanians can apply for SNAP online at www.compass.state.pa.us.

DHS will continue to process application and renewal benefits, so people should continue to send in paperwork as usual. But, for anyone currently on SNAP who misses a deadline, who is not able to submit the paperwork or complete an interview or provide verifications for any reason during this emergency, DHS will ensure their SNAP benefit continues. DHS submitted a waiver request to the federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to ensure this continuity in benefits. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has provided resources for Pennsylvanians to access emergency food assistance during COVID-19 mitigation, including locations of food banks and food pantries that are assisting individuals and families during this time. And to ensure that food banks and community feeding organizations remain operable with healthy volunteers, the department provided guidance for ways to limit contact while providing their essential services.

“Quite simply, no Pennsylvanian should ever go hungry. Especially during this disruptive time of COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “We’ve worked hard to provide guidance to the agriculture industry to ensure that healthy food continues to flow to grocery stores and food banks; and guidance for those who volunteer their time at banks to do so safely, protecting their health and the health of those who come for assistance.” 

The Wolf Administration also asks that anyone who is healthy and able please consider volunteering with a local food bank or registering for the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Pennsylvania, as this time is creating an incredible strain on charitable organizations’ efforts. United Way of Pennsylvania’s 211 website is also compiling organizations that need volunteers or resources so their work can continue.

Amidst Governor Wolf’s continued, aggressive mitigation efforts – including the state-wide closure of non-life-sustaining businesses and the recent Stay at Home order issued for seven Pennsylvania counties – the work being done by our food banks and their volunteers is life-sustaining and must continue. The orders do not prohibit food banks and their volunteers from offering food services, nor do they prohibit school districts from offering food services to children during the statewide school closure. Schools and school districts may continue to bring in essential employees involved in the preparation and distribution of meals for children. 

The emergency Feeding Taskforce, which consists of state agencies, charitable food networks, food retailers, and other partners and stakeholders, is working to identify available resources and provide food and water to communities in need; including ensuring school age children, older adults and others experiencing food insecurity are provided with nourishing meals.

Businesses who have resources to help feed and shelter Pennsylvanians in need are encouraged to fill out this survey to assist the task force as they look to direct resources. Any Pennsylvanian who is suddenly in need of food should complete this survey so the task force can better understand where resources should be directed.

“We need to be sure our charitable food networks are able to continue their daily operations and meeting the need of their communities, so if you are healthy and able, please contact your local food bank to get involved and help you neighbors and community during this time of great need,” said Secretary Miller. 

Visit the PA Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here. Information and guidance as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania is available here.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Erin James, DHS - 717-425-7606

Shannon Powers, Agriculture – 717-783-2628

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Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Issue ‘Stay at Home’ Orders to 7 Counties to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19

Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Issue ‘Stay at Home’ Orders to 7 Counties to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19

March 23, 2020

Order Effective at 8:00 PM in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties

Governor Wolf’s Order
Secretary of Health’s Order
Stay at Home Guidance

Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today issued “Stay at Home” orders to Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties, as the state seeks relief to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.

This order takes effect at 8:00 PM on Monday, March 23, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.

All schools statewide will also remain closed through at least April 6, 2020.

“I remain deeply concerned about this public health crisis and we must continue to take careful but critical steps now to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “We are issuing these orders because Pennsylvanians’ health and safety remains our highest priority.”

“The number of cases continues to grow and so we must take further steps to stop the spread of this contagious and dangerous novel virus to protect the public’s health and mitigate the risk to our hospital system,” Dr. Levine said. “There is one way to make sure people don’t need to be hospitalized and we don’t strain our health care system: Stay calm. Stay home. Stay safe.”

Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth

The following operations are exempt:

  • Life-sustaining business activities
  • Health care or medical services providers
  • Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks
  • Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders.
  • News media
  • Law enforcement
  • The federal government
  • Religious institutions

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.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

Pennsylvania Department of Education Extends School Closures through at least April 6

Pennsylvania Department of Education Extends School Closures through at least April 6

 March 23, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced today that all schools in the commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6 as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. The closure order could be extended beyond April 6 if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19. When it’s determined that students can return to school, administrators, teachers and other staff will be given two days to prepare classrooms, set up cafeterias, schedule transportation and arrange other business operations. Students would return on the third day.

Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said his decision to close all schools for the additional period aligns with the governor’s stay-at-home directive announced today for seven counties – Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery and Philadelphia.

“Protecting the health and safety of students, families, teachers and all employees who work in our schools is paramount during this national health crisis and we must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus,” he said. “The number of positive cases increases daily and we’re seeing it spread to more counties. We must adhere to the social distancing guidelines. Extending the closure will help every community in its efforts to mitigate the spread.”

Today’s additional school closure will be for 14 days, beginning Tuesday, March 24.

To assist schools during the extended closure, Secretary Rivera said the state’s 29 intermediate units are ready to provide technical assistance to help develop continuity of education plans for all students.

“We know students are eager to engage with their teachers and return to learning,” he said. “Beginning tomorrow, all schools will be able to work with their local intermediate unit to develop instructional plans for all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners.”

Also today, Secretary Rivera cancelled standardized testing for students in career and technical education (CTE) programs for the 2019-20 school year. These include exams from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

Last Thursday the department cancelled all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-20 school year, as well as the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA). The U.S. Department of Education approved Pennsylvania’s waiver request the following day, and further waived accountability and reporting requirements for the 2019-20 school year.

The department has been providing ongoing guidance to school communities in the form of FAQs. The guidance information is available at education.pa.gov/COVID19.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Levis, 717-783-9802, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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