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Cumberland, Dauphin added to stay-at-home order; schools, businesses closed indefinitely

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Virus Outbreak Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday added Cumberland County to the stay-at-home order.

One month.

That's how long Cumberland County residents, and residents of 25 other counties under Gov. Tom Wolf's stay-at-home order are expected to stay indoors and travel only when absolutely necessary.

Cumberland and Dauphin counties, along with Schuylkill and Carbon counties, were the latest to join the stay-at-home order, and Wolf on Monday announced he is expanding that order to stay in effect until April 30, instead of through April 6. He said the extension is in line with federal guidelines that were also extended through the month of April.

Wolf also said he is closing schools and non-life-sustaining businesses indefinitely instead of updating closure plans every two weeks.

"Right now, it isn't safe," Wolf said during a news conference.

The orders Monday come after a rise in COVID-19 cases, both in Cumberland County and across the state.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that, as of midnight Monday, there were 693 new cases, bringing the state's total to 4,087 in 59 counties. The state is also up to 48 deaths caused by COVID-19, though no new deaths were reported in the Midstate.

Cumberland County already has one reported death that occurred Friday, and Lancaster County has two deaths that were reported this past weekend.

Though the majority of the cases in the state are in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions, with Philadelphia Monday reaching more than 1,000 cases in its county alone, the number of cases is rising in the Midstate.

In addition to Cumberland County's two cases, Lancaster County saw a jump of 30 cases, bringing its total to 97, while York County reported 11 new cases, bringing its total to 54. Both Lancaster and York were already under Wolf's stay-at-home order.

Dauphin County will be the only other county in the area added to the stay-at-home order, and it saw one new report to add to its total of 36 cases.

Though Lebanon County is not included in the Monday order, it did have eight new cases in one day, pushing its total to 27. Franklin County saw a single case increase its number to 12, and Adams County and Perry County saw no new cases, remaining at eight cases and one case, respectively.

Two women who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 died either late Sunday or early Monday at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County, according to the nursing home's medical director, Dr. Dave Thimons. At least 19 residents at the facility have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.

The women's deaths raised the state's toll to at least 50, up from 38 on Sunday.

After Wolf added Cumberland County to the stay-at-home order, county commissioners urged all residents to comply.

“All residents need to abide by the order of the governor, for their safety and to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said. “The Department of Public Safety will continue its 24/7 operations to protect our residents, and core staff will perform essential functions to sustain operations at a reduced capacity.”

“We need everyone to do their part to mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” Eichelberger said.


Wolf's order now includes 26 counties: Cumberland, Dauphin, Carbon, Schuylkill, Allegheny, Beaver, Bucks, Berks, Butler, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties.

Under the order, residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential travel. Some allowable activities include:

  • Tasks considered essential to maintain health and safety, which include picking up medication, visiting a health care professional or obtaining supplies needed to work from home
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for the household, including grocery shopping, or volunteering to deliver supplies
  • Outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running, while maintaining social distance
  • Performing work providing essential services and products at a "life-sustaining" business
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Travel to and from educational institutions to get materials or meals.

Wolf said those who are traveling for allowable activities do not need paperwork to prove the reason for their travel.

Though there are guidelines for what happens to businesses that operate during the shutdown, the governor's office did not detail enforcement of residents in following the stay-at-home order.

State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Harrisburg, said in a Facebook post that the order allows law enforcement to question residents about the purpose of their travels, but the governor's office did not respond to requests for information about residential enforcement.

In his order, Wolf said some operations are exempt: life-sustaining businesses, health care providers, access to services for low-income residents, news media, law enforcement and first responders, the federal government and religious institutions. Those who are homeless are also not subject to the order, though the administration strongly urges such people to find shelter.

Corrections quarantine

As more residents prepare to stay at home across the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is initiating a stricter quarantine at its facilities.

Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel on Monday announced that he implemented late Sunday night a statewide inmate quarantine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and after the department received notice about a positive case at one of its facilities.

Under the quarantine, inmates will be fed in their cells and will only be afforded out-of-cell time for video visits, phone calls and access to the law library. Inmates will be provided with "in-cell programming," according to the department, and all inmate movement will be controlled to conform to social distancing recommendations.

“Quarantining the entire system is in the best interest of our employees and our inmates,” Wetzel said. “This is essentially forced social distancing. We must take this step to contain the virus to one facility and to keep it from spreading throughout the system. I don’t want to wait until we have several cases in our system to act. We’re taking this proactive measure now.”

The department on Sunday reported that its first COVID-19 case was confirmed at SCI Phoenix in Montgomery County. Wolf said during a news conference Monday the case was a staff member and not an inmate.

The department on Saturday began using SCI Retreat as a reception facility for new court commitments and parole violators, where they will be quarantined for 14 days upon their arrival, instead of putting them into the larger inmate population.

Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

Gov. Tom Wolf said during a news conference Monday that Cumberland and Dauphin counties are among the new counties that will join others under the stay-at-home orders.

With 26 counties now under the order, Wolf said he has extended the order to April 30. Previously, the order was supposed to be lifted after two weeks.

Wolf also said that he has ordered the shutdown of businesses and schools for an indefinite period of time.

Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

Cumberland and Dauphin Counties are expected to be added to the state's stay-at-home order, state Rep. Patty Kim, D-Harrisburg, reported on Facebook.

Kim said the order will be effective for the two counties at 8 p.m. Monday.

Gov. Tom Wolf has yet to officially issue the new information to the public, but he and the Department of Health will have a news conference at 2 p.m. to talk about the latest COVID-19 cases and action.

Kim said the order reiterates what Wolf wants residents to do - stay at home - though she notes that the order does allow law enforcement to question residents about the purpose of their travels.

The order will last through April 30, according to Kim, and all residents in the counties must stay at home except for certain essential activities and work to provide life-sustaining business and government services.

Here is a look at what is allowed under a stay-at-home order, according to the Wolf administration:

  • Doing tasks essential to maintain health and safety or the health and safety of the family, such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional or obtaining supplies needed to work from home
  • Getting necessary services for the family or household to deliver services or supplies to others - such as getting food and supplies for essential operation of homes. This includes volunteer efforts to distribute meals and other life-sustaining services to those in need.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity while maintaining social distance
  • Performing work providing essential products and services
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household
  • Traveling for any of the above-mentioned provisions
  • Traveling to care for elder, minors, dependents or those with disabilities
  • Traveling to and from educational institutions to receive materials for distance learning or meals
  • Traveling to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order.

The Wolf administration said those traveling to perform life-sustaining work does not need paperwork to prove the reason of travel.

Check back to as more information becomes available.


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Related to this story

Victims of domestic violence can find these weeks of stay at home orders issued to curb the spread of COVID-19 to be fraught with danger.

Sonya Browne, shelter supervisor at Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties, said she was concerned about the potential for increased instances of domestic violence as people follow directives to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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