COVID-19 Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious disease that can create life-threatening health problems in some patients. This email update includes information and resources to help keep you and your family up to date on the latest news regarding this new virus.
To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported that dozens of Pennsylvanians in at least 14 counties have tested presumptive positive for the disease, and hundreds of others have undergone testing and are awaiting results.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have created webpages to keep the public informed about how to contain the spread of the disease. I encourage you to visit these sites for additional information:
PA Department of Health: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Governor Wolf and officials from the Department of Health are also providing daily updates to the public. The updates are available at https://governor.pa.gov/live.
Check back on my website at https://www.senatorbaker.com/ and follow me on social media at the links below for additional information as the situation continues to develop.
Signs and Symptoms, Preventative Measures, and Testing
According to the Department of Health, symptoms of COVID-19 include:
The CDC recommends the following steps to help minimize the risk of infection:
The Department of Health outlines these preventative measures in a video below:
The Department of Health advises people who have mild symptoms to stay home to avoid contact with others. State residents who have severe symptoms, including a fever over 100 degrees or shortness of breath, are encouraged to call their healthcare provider. Individuals without a healthcare provider can contact their local health department or call 1‐877‐724‐3258.
More guidance for state residents and healthcare providers is available in the graphic below.
Governor Orders Closure of Bars, Restaurants, Other Venues for Two Weeks
To limit the number of in-person contacts that could spread the coronavirus, Governor Wolf has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, including bars, dine-in restaurants, gyms and other entertainment venues for two weeks. Essential businesses like healthcare providers, grocery stores and gas stations will remain open.
Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so. More details about these measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is available in the video below:
Information for employees who may be affected by the shutdown is available from the Department of Labor and Industry here.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) offered guidance on which businesses are essential or nonessential here. Any questions pertaining to whether the governor’s order affects a particular business should be directed to DCED.
Pennsylvania Schools Remain Closed Through March 27
Governor Wolf has ordered all K-12 schools to remain closed through at least Friday, March 27. The Administration will reevaluate when it is safe for schools to reopen. No school will be penalized for failing to meet the mandated 180 days of instructional time for the 2019-2020 school year.
A number of school districts are developing alternative education plans and continuing to offer lunches for students. Parents and guardians of students are encouraged to learn more about how their school district is responding to the school shutdown by visiting their school district’s website or calling the school.
Legislative Offices Temporarily Closed to Meetings
In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and protect the health and safety of local residents and office staff, my offices will be temporarily closed for meetings until further notice.
My staff will still be available to respond to emails and phone messages during this time. Community residents who need help with any problem related to state government are encouraged to visit my website at www.senatorbaker.com.
PennDOT closed all of the following:
Expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections will be extended (according to the dates in the press release below).
Additionally, construction projects have been suspended in all counties until further notice; however, PennDOT crews are available to perform critical functions and emergency maintenance, as needed.
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