COVID-19 Update, April 1: Wolf makes ‘Stay at Home’ statewide; positive test results spike in Pa, growth in Chesco

Updated 3:30 p.m.: Gov. Wolf expands stay at home to entire state.

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

COVID-19 cases grew sharply in one day in Pennsylvania, spiking to 5,805 cases in 60 counties — an increase of nearly 1,000 in a day — and 14 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 74.

Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Tom Wolf extended his ‘Stay At Home’ order to the entire commonwealth, expanding it from just 33 counties in the east and west of the state.

“Today I am issuing a statewide Stay at Home Order to further mitigate the spread of #COVID19,’ he posted on Twitter, Wednesday afternoon.” Each and every one of us is responsible for protecting our families, friends, and neighbors. Keep up the hard work. We will get through this together.”

Testing, or the lack thereof, continues to be an issue: with just under 1,000 positive tests, only 4,782 negative tests were recorded, meaning less than 6,000 tests were resolved from a population of just under 13 million statewide.

“The continued rise in cases combined with our increasing deaths from COVID-19 reflects the seriousness of this situation,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. “We need everyone to listen to the orders in place and to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We know that these prolonged mitigation effects have been difficult for everyone, but it is essential that everyone follows these orders and does not go out unless they absolutely must.”

Chester County, too saw a large growth, jumping from 160 cases to 182 in day. Chester County Health reported 1,647 negative tests total.

In reaction to COVID-19, State Police announced temporary changes to how it responds to incidents. With the goal of limiting in-person contact and mitigating the spread of COVID-19, the department has identified certain types of calls that may be resolved with limited or no on-scene response. The change went into effect April 1, 2020 and will remain until further notice.

“To enhance social distancing and keep our personnel and the public safe and healthy, we will begin collecting information via telephone for incidents that do not require an in-person response from a trooper,” State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick said. “This change affects only a limited number of call types, and the public can be confident that the PSP has the personnel, equipment, and plans in place to respond to emergencies and other critical incidents.”

Meanwhile State Police continued enforcement actions on non “life-sustaining businesses” that remain open in defiance of the governor’s order. 16 more warnings were issued Tuesday — but the State Police have yet to issue any summons.

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