Latest on coronavirus: Pennsylvania up to 21 cases; W.Pa. schools affected

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The eastern part of Pennsylvania continues to see an increase in presumed coronavirus cases, according to the state Department of Health.

Pennsylvania has 19 presumed cases of the virus and two confirmed cases as of Thursday morning.

The highest number of cases — 13 — is in Montgomery County, a suburb of Philadelphia, according to the health department. Monroe and Bucks counties each have two cases, and single cases each were reported in Delaware, Northampton, Philadelphia and Wayne counties.

An adult from another state is hospitalized in Montgomery County and is not part of the state’s tally. There are 196 people under investigation by the state department — tests are pending in 75 cases and 100 people have been found to not have the virus, according to statistics.

There have been no cases reported in Western Pennsylvania, though officials have said they expect that to change.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, the Associated Press reported. For others, including older adults and people who have existing health issues, the illness can be more severe and cause other problems, including pneumonia.

Most people recover from coronavirus. The AP reported that the recovery time can take about two weeks for those with a mild form of the illness. Anyone with a severe illness can take three to six weeks to recover. The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared a pandemic and President Donald Trump is restricting travel from Europe into the United States for 30 days starting late Friday.

Concerns have prompted closures and cancellations locally and around the country. Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will not be held Saturday. The NBA suspended its season Wednesday night after a player tested positive for the virus.

Pittsburgh Public Schools, Woodland Hills affected

Colfax Elementary School in Squirrel Hill was closed Thursday after officials learned that a student may have been exposed to the coronavirus from a relative outside the school.

While the school is shut down for the day, the district’s operations team will clean the building using a device that sprays a mist with an electrostatic charge that clings to surfaces, school officials said.

Pittsburgh Public Schools also sent a letter home to parents on Wednesday informing them that a district employee has self-quarantined because a family member may have been exposed to the coronavirus at a conference.

The Woodland Hills School District announced that it will close the intermediate school for two days because of a potential exposure to the coronavirus, district officials announced Thursday.

Interest-free loans available

The Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh is offering interest-free loans of up to $5,000 for those who incur financial hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan Program is intended to address lost wages, childcare costs because of school closures, small business losses, canceled study abroad programs and medical expenses.

“Last night we approved this new loan program as we brace for an unprecedented public health emergency,” HFL president Shelley Daniels said. “Many of us do not know what to expect exactly, but we know there will be financial fallout.”

HFL’s loan application may be completed online. For details, visit http://hflapgh.org/ or call 412-422-8868.

HFL is a nonsectarian nonprofit that has been operating in Pittsburgh since the late 1880s.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Published at Thu, 12 Mar 2020 14:07:22 +0000

Source: Latest on coronavirus: Pennsylvania up to 21 cases; W.Pa. schools affected.

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