The governor said as of midnight tonight, in order to extent the state’s mitigation efforts, and in order to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, all non-essential stores should be closed.
That includes bars and restaurants (except for take-out). Still allowed would be pharmacies, trash collection, medical facilities and other necessary services.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf has extended a shutdown order to the entire state of Pennsylvania in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Wolf had already called for nonessential government offices to close and nonessential business activity to end in four heavily populated southeastern Pennsylvania counties. He says Monday he will extend that order to the rest of the state. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney ordered a halt to all nonessential business activity and city government operations for two weeks in the city of 1.6 million people.
Cases confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health have exceeded 75, as of Monday. The majority of confirmed cases have been in southeastern Pennsylvania. Six have been reported in Allegheny County with another in Washington County. Health officials have said most of the people affected were in isolation at home, with a handful being treated at hospitals.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The number of medical professionals getting infected with the fast-spreading COVID-19 in Pennsylvania is growing.
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia closed its trauma department and closed its intensive care unit to new admissions after a physician was diagnosed with the illness. The physician, who worked in the intensive care unit last Monday through Wednesday, did not acquire the infection in the hospital, the hospital’s acting CEO, Ron Dreskin, said in letter posted on the hospital’s website.
The case at St. Christopher’s follows reports in recent days that a Lehigh Valley Health Network staffer and a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia cardiologist had met with patients before testing positive.
St. Christopher’s intensive care unit staff will wear protective equipment, including gowns, gloves, eye protection and masks when they are treating patients. The unit’s staff will wear surgical masks when they are outside of patient rooms, the hospital said. Meanwhile, hospital systems are increasingly restricting hospital visits and opening local testing sites.
The virus that has stricken tens of thousands around the globe causes only mild symptoms for the majority of the people who become infected but can be deadly for some, especially older adults and people with certain health conditions such as respiratory illness.