Daily Update: March 26, 2020 1 PM


  • 1,687 confirmed cases, 16,441 tested negative, Deaths 16

Cases by county in the 10-county region per Pennsylvania Department of Health
* case count last updated at 12:00 p.m. on 3/26/2020

Cases Deaths
Allegheny: 133 2
Armstrong: 1 0
Beaver: 13 0
Butler: 19 1
Fayette: 8 0
Greene: 3 0
Indiana: 1 0
Lawrence: 1 0
Washington: 12 0
Westmoreland: 24 0

State Updates

  • Yesterday the PA State Police issued 13 warnings against businesses deemed to be non-life-sustaining.  Five of those were issued in our 10-county region.  To date, there have been 57 total warnings, no citations as of yet.
  • Earlier today Governor Tom Wolf asked the US Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that the USDA waive eligibility requirements for the Emergency Food Assistance Program.  He also asked that the UDSA reconsider Pennsylvania’s request for temporary waivers to allow more food to be distributed at school feeding sites and food banks; and to be flexible and change its interpretation of recent changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  The full letter can be read here.
  • The PA legislature sent the following bills to the Governor this week.  The last day for action is April 4.

HB 68 (Ryan, R-Lebanon) – Unemployment Compensation Law

  • Amends the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Law to extend the time period for an employer to request relief from charges from 15 to 21 days and makes changes to the law in response to the COVID-19 emergency in order to comply with Federal law which will allow Pennsylvania to be eligible for Federal UC administration funding as well as Federal emergency UC benefits.

HB 1232 (Dunbar, R-Westmoreland) – Fiscal Code

  • Permanently establishes the Enhanced Revenue Collection Restricted Account. Revenues collected and the amount of refunds avoided as a result of expanded tax return reviews and tax collection activities by the Department of Revenue will be deposited into the account.
  • Provides up to $50 million of additional funding to be made available for the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response efforts within the health care system.
  • Requires available federal funding and any funding made available through the Governor’s disaster proclamation to be used before the transfer of funding can occur.
  • Extends medical marijuana temporary regulations until November 20, 2021, or upon the Department of Health’s publication of the final-form regulations, whichever is sooner.
  • Provides temporary powers and duties for Commonwealth agencies at times when an emergency makes it impossible to comply with law relating to state finance or state tax.


SB 422 (Vogel, R-Beaver) – Election Code

  • Changes the date of the general primary election to June 2, 2020.
  • Consolidates polling places.
  • Establishes the Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board.
  • Amends sections relating to absentee and mail-in ballots.

SB 751 (Aument, R-Lancaster) – Public School Code

  • Revises the educator evaluation system.
  • Allows the Secretary of Education to order the closure of all school entities until the threat to health and safety caused by the pandemic of 2020 has ended and waive the requirement that school entities be open for at least 180 days of instruction.
  • An employee of a school entity may not receive more or less compensation than the employee would otherwise have been entitled to receive from the school entity had the pandemic of 2020 not occurred.
  • School entities must provide cleaning staff with appropriate cleaning materials.
  • Notice must be given to all parents of special education students of a school entity’s plan for ensuring a free and appropriate public education.
  • School entities must make a good faith effort to develop a plan to offer continuity of education using alternative means during the closure period.
  • No school entity will see any loss in school subsidies or reimbursements from the Commonwealth as a result of actions taken by the Secretary.
  • School entities will be required to keep paying intermediate units and career and technical centers as well as approved private schools and private residential rehabilitative institutions where public schools have placed students.
  • Each school entity may renegotiate a contract for school bus transportation services to ensure contracted personnel and fixed costs, including administration and equipment, are maintained during the period of school closure, and will be eligible to receive reimbursement from the state as if the pandemic of 2020 had not occurred.
  • The Secretary of Education must apply to the United States Department of Education for testing waivers to permit cancellation of assessments for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Standardized testing for home education students is cancelled, as are evaluations of home education programs.
  • A school entity may apply to the Secretary for a waiver of any provision of the School Code, regulation of the State Board of Education or standards of the Department directly related to the school entity’s staffing needs or impacts the school entity’s instructional program or operations as a result of the pandemic of 2020.
  • Each active professional educator’s current continuing professional education compliance period is extended by one year.

Regional Coronavirus Update

City of Pittsburgh

  • The City of Pittsburgh has extended its personal income tax deadline until July 15, in line with similar 90-day extensions announced by the Internal Revenue Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. The city’s finance department will continue real estate billings, but will stop all real estate delinquent billings and late fee charges. The department has already suspended all treasurer’s sales of properties.

Allegheny County Health Department

  • The health department has reported that there are 45 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total now to 133 active cases.

Pittsburgh International Airport

  • Southwest Airlines, one of Pittsburgh International Airports largest carriers (by number of passengers), is cancelling 1,500 of its 4,000 daily flights, effective Friday.

Federal Coronavirus Update

United States House of Representatives

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference today after the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to provide relief to Americans and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  The speaker anticipates a strong bipartisan vote on Friday to send to the president for his signature.

The Pentagon

  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has signed an order freezing the movements of all troops overseas for 60 days in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All service members overseas or currently scheduled to deploy from the states will stay in their current locations for the next 60 days. The freeze-in-place order will affect 90,000 expected scheduled deployments, including both troops scheduled to return home and troops scheduled to deploy overseas.

The State Department

  • The State Department has repatriated 9,300 Americans from 28 countries, an unprecedented evacuation effort that has had to navigate each country’s landing rights and health restrictions and employed a variety of means, including government aircraft, cruise ships and chartered flights. At least 66 more chartered flights are planned over the next nine days, with at least 9,000 people coming home on those. But there are at least 50,000 Americans still stranded, and U.S. embassies and consulates around the world have been overwhelmed by the need.

Department of Education

  • S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that due to the COVID-19 national emergency, the Department will halt collection actions and wage garnishments to provide additional assistance to borrowers. This flexibility will last for a period of at least 60 days from March 13, 2020.
  • Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education DeVos held a conference call with leaders of several national K-12 education organizations to answer their questions and to provide an update on what the Department of Education has done so far to support students, parents and educators during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Department of Homeland Security

  • The department is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline to October 1, 2021.