150k COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania, over 8,000 deaths

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(WTAJ) — The total number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania has exceeded 150,000. As of Sept. 21, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported 150,812 cases since the first two were reported in March.

The following dates show other milestones of total case numbers across Pennsylvania:

  • March 6: First two cases were reported.
  • March 25: Over 1,000 cases (1,127)
  • April 4: Over 10,000 cases (10,017)
  • April 14: Over 25,000 cases (25,345)
  • May 4: Over 50,000 cases (50,092)
  • June 6: Over 75,000 cases (75,086)
  • July 18: Over 100,000 cases (100,241)
  • Aug. 18: Over 125,000 cases (125,579)

The timeline from 125,000 to 150,000 cases includes a lot of changes, including the announcement of Penn State football kicking off in October and the PIAA giving the green light for high school sports.

A comprehensive timeline from 125,000 to 150,000 cases can be found below:

Aug. 14: Gov. Wolf agrees to release federal funds to Lebanon County. The governor originally withheld $12.8 million in funding after the county refused to uphold COVID-19 protocols.

Aug. 17: Pennsylvania will launch a COVID-19 exposure notification app in September. The app is designed to use location services on cell phones to alert people if they have been near someone who was exposed to COVID-19.

Aug. 18: Students are required to wear face coverings in school. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued an order stating that face masks or shields must be worn when students cannot maintain a distance of six feet from each other.

Aug. 18: Five states are removed from the travel advisory list. Traveling to Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah and North Carolina will no longer require a 14-day quarantine for Pennsylvanians upon their return.

Aug. 19: The Farm Show announces that their 2021 festival will be held virtually. The virtual events are supposed to be focused on education and awareness for both the general public and the agriculture industry.

Aug. 21: The PIAA votes to move forward with high school sports. The first day is set for Aug. 24, with the PIAA voting 25-5 in favor of the decision.

Aug. 24: Penn State launches their COVID-19 dashboard. This gives the public access to the results of testing for students and staff. The dashboard can be broken down by each week or by each Penn State campus.

Aug. 24: FEMA approves a grant that will allow Pennsylvanians to claim an additional $300 a week on unemployment. President Trump made $44 billion from FEMA’s disaster relief available to provide assistance to those who lost wages due to the pandemic.

Aug. 25: Thirty-three people are charged for illegally obtaining COVID-19 benefits. Inmates at eight county jails and prisons across western PA, along with their respective accomplices provided false information to receive funding from the CARES Act.

Aug. 26: Pennsylvania is one of four Democratic-led states being investigated by the Department of Justice. The DOJ is seeking data on if governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Michigan violated federal law by ordering public nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients, which “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”

Aug. 28: Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota are added to the travel advisory list.

Sept. 1: Gov. Wolf renews the disaster declaration for another 90 days. It was initially signed on March 6.

Sept. 2: Lock Haven University goes remote for two weeks. The university experienced an increase in cases. Students had the option to return home or continue to live in residence halls.

Sept. 3: Classes at Temple University move online. An uptick in cases resulted in the university shifting to online learning for the rest of the semester.

Sept. 4: Over 150 cases are reported at Penn State. President Eric Barron said he was concerned with the increasing numbers ahead of Labor Day weekend and the implications of what could happen to the university if the trend in cases continues.

Sept. 8: Centre County moves to a “substantial” level of transmission rate. Centre County becomes one of the first counties in our viewing area to move to a substantial level, most likely due to the spike in cases at Penn State University.

Sept. 8: An additional 205 positive cases are reported at PSU. At this time, the total was 416 positive cases at University Park.

Sept. 9: The Flight 93 National Memorial observance closes to the public. This was done to limit the spread of COVID-19 after consulting with the families of the victims of Flight 93. The ceremony was available via a live stream and opened to the public at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Sept. 9: Gov. Wolf plans to veto a bill that would allow schools to make decisions regarding attendees at sporting events. The bill would allow each individual school district to establish its own safety protocols and limits on gatherings for indoor and outdoor sporting events.

Sept. 9: Over 40 student-athletes at Penn State test positive for COVID-19. The university said that 48 students were positive in a series of tests conducted between Aug. 31 and Sept. 4. In total, 929 student-athletes were tested.

Sept. 11: Bars and restaurants are allowed to reopen to 50% capacity on Sept. 21. Businesses need to go through an online self-certification to upgrade their capacity to 50

Sept. 11: A large wrestling tournament with over 2,500 people was organized in College Township. The Olympic Club Duals was held at the C3 Sports Complex with 1,200 competitors and 1,500 attendees from a variety of states, including but not limited to Florida, Arizona and California. College Township was unable to legally shut the event down and looked to the governor’s office and Pennsylvania Department of Health, but they did not shut down the event. State College police issued over 30 citations in relation to fire code infractions and health code violations.

Sept. 11: The Pennsylvania Department of Health announces they will no longer send COVID-19 updates on Sundays. Starting Sept. 14, all data from Sundays will be including in Monday’s daily COVID-19 report. Updates from every other day of the week will continue as scheduled.

Sept. 14: A federal judge ruled that Governor Wolf’s closing of businesses that were not life-sustaining is considered unconstitutional. This lawsuit was originally filed by four counties in the state: Butler, Green, Fayette and Washington. The judge said in his written opinion that Gov. Wolf’s “were undertaken with the good intention of addressing a public health emergency,” but that “even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered.”

Sept. 15: A new bill is proposed to make not wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor. Senate Bill 1287 was sponsored by Senator Haywood and would rule going maskless a second-degree misdemeanor of recklessly endangering another person.

Sept. 16: The Big Ten announces a change of plans and aims for an October start for football. The season is slated to begin Oct. 24, where each team in the conference will have an eight-game schedule.

Sept. 16: State College is reported as the second-fastest growing hotspot for COVID-19 in the United States. A data study by the New York Times said that their growth in COVID-19 cases relative to metropolitan areas of 50,000 people or more is ranked in second place, falling behind La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Sept. 16: Researchers at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh discovered a breakthrough for treatment and prevention of COVID-19. A drug was created from potent antibodies that can block the virus from infecting a patient’s cells.

Sept. 17: The PA Attorney General asks a federal judge to keep restrictions on gatherings. AG Josh Shapiro said that if the existing restrictions are not enforced, there will be an increase in deaths.

Sept. 17: The last call for alcohol sales is extended from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. This goes into effect on Sept. 21 as restaurants and bars expand to 50% capacity. This applies to on-site alcohol consumption only and does not impact takeout alcohol sales.

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