coronavirus

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf Again Expands Order for Residents to Stay Home

The governor's office said Saturday that Wolf was expanding the order to Beaver, Centre and Washington Counties

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Gov. Tom Wolf is expanding his order for residents to stay at home in most circumstances to almost one-third of Pennsylvania's counties amid an increase in cases and a dozen more deaths that brought the total to 34.

The governor's office said Saturday that Wolf was expanding the order to Beaver, Centre and Washington Counties, making a total of 22 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties included. The order already covered three-fourths of the state's 12.8 million residents.

The order restricts movement to certain health or safety-related travel, or travel to a job at an employer designated by Wolf's administration as “life-sustaining.” The measures are designed to slow the spread of the virus and give the state's hospitals time to increase staffing, equipment and bed space.

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State heath officials announced more than 500 new cases, bringing the statewide total to more than 2,800 in 56 counties, and a dozen new deaths bringing the statewide total to 34 deaths.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

Easton Hospital Funding

The owner of an eastern Pennsylvania hospital has announced a deal with the state to keep the facility open and operating for at least the next four weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Steward Health Care, owner of Easton Hospital, had sought $40 million from the state, citing “dire” financial problems. Steward said it had told state health officials in January that the hospital would either be sold to St. Luke’s University Health Network by April 21 or close.

The company said Friday night that the governor's office had “agreed to provide emergency funding to Easton Hospital for at least the next four weeks." The amount provided wasn't specified.

"At the end of this period, we will work together with the governor to secure funding to keep the hospital open on a month-to-month basis as long as the crisis continues or St. Luke’s completes the proposed transaction," said Darren Grubb, a spokesman for the Dallas, Texas-based company said Friday night.

The company would return any state funds that exceed the hospital’s operating expenses at the end of four weeks, he said.

The governor's office hasn't confirmed the deal.

Steward said cancellation of elective surgeries and the associated revenue had pushed Easton Hospital’s finances to the brink.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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