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

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.

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised their “stay-at-home” orders Saturday to include three more counties, including Washington. The order takes effect at 8 p.m. Saturday and will continue until April 6.

The state Department of Health confirmed as of noon Saturday, there are 533 additional positive cases of COVID-19 statewide, raising the total to 2,751 in 56 of the 67 counties. The department also reported 12 new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 34.

Washington County increased from 14 to 23 positive cases. Greene County added two more cases, bringing its total to six. Allegheny County, as of 11 a.m. Saturday, had 219 positive cases, 31 requiring hospitalization (past or present) and two deaths.

Washington, Beaver and Centre counties were included in the stay-at-home order Saturday. The other 19 counties falling under it are: Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and York.

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 nonresidents 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 business closure orders;
  • News media;
  • Law enforcement, emergency medical services personnel, firefighters;
  • 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.

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