COVID-19 DOH Testing Lab

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on March 6.

Gov. Tom Wolf urged the Republican-controlled Legislature Thursday to release $145 million he approved to help small businesses that have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is limited time for lawmakers to free up the money for restaurants, bars and other businesses before they soon move into budget talks, Wolf said Thursday during a virtual briefing with the media.

“We all need them to act now,” said Wolf, as the state awaited a broader release from the federal government of COVID-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates said in a statement Thursday that it was in talks with health-care officials to potentially allow its stadium, PNC Park, to be used as a mass COVID-19 vaccination center. Other major league stadiums across the nation were making the same offers.

PNC Park would be a safe location to administer the vaccines in a socially distant manner, club spokesman Brian Warecki said.

“We will continue to do our part to ensure that, together, we will make it through,” Warecki said.

Virus cases and deaths continued to surge Thursday.

The virus has killed 18,742 Pennsylvanians since March after 313 new deaths were announced Thursday, including six in Fayette County. Greene County reported two new virus deaths, while one was announced in Washington County.

Pennsylvania announced 7,175 new virus cases Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 748,564.

There were 197 new cases reported in Washington County, bringing its total to 11,028. Fayette reported 90 new cases to its total that climbed to 8,794. Greene added five new cases to its total of 2,076.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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