How Pennsylvania is planning for the spread of coronavirus Wochit
In a move to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday extended his “stay-at-home” order to the entire state, preventing millions of Pennsylvanians from leaving their residences except for food, medicine and other “essential activities.”
The news comes the same day Pennsylvania saw its largest single-day spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, state health officials reported 962 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 5,805 spread out across 60 counties with 74 deaths.
Previously, Wolf had been issuing stay-at-home orders on a county-by-county basis, targeting the areas seen as extremely high-risk and using data such diagnoses, types and numbers of hospital beds available, and community spread. Before Wednesday, 33 counties were on that list.
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“We appreciate the shared sacrifice of all 12.8 million Pennsylvanians; we are in this together,” Wolf said in a statement.
Police will continue to focus on informing residents of the order rather than on enforcement, according to the governor’s office.
The order will last at least through April 30.
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What activities are allowed under a stay-at-home order?
- Tasks essential to maintaining health and safety (obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a healthcare professional)
- Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, or to deliver those supplies to others.
- Engaging in outdoor activities.
- Perform essential duties at a life-sustaining business.
- Care for a family member or pet in another household.
How will the stay-at-home order be enforced?
To be clear: No martial law order is in place and enforcing this type of stay-at-home order is tricky.
Recreational activities are still allowed outside, and people who choose to take advantage of that are still encouraged to maintain the “social distance” of 6 feet away from people they don’t live with.
City officials said they would have officers break up social gatherings and instruct people to go home, but Gov. Wolf said he appreciates the public’s voluntary compliance with the emergency orders issued.
Police departments have also said they are not pulling people over just to ask where they are going.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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