All of Pennsylvania now under orders to stay home

Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday placed all of Pennsylvania under an order to stay at home, dramatically expanding the geographic footprint of the quarantine as state officials combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: All of Pennsylvania now under orders to stay home

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Landlords brace for late and missed rent payments due to massive job losses | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

Landlords are bracing for some tough times ahead.

Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have lost wages and jobs due to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Government officials at the state and federal level have taken quick action to prohibit landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent while the pandemic is in effect.

Source: Landlords brace for late and missed rent payments due to massive job losses | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coronavirus in Western Pa.: 592 cases in 13 counties, according to PA Dept. of Health

There are now 592 cases of coronavirus in 13 southwestern Pennsylvania counties.

Source: Coronavirus in Western Pa.: 592 cases in 13 counties, according to PA Dept. of Health

Pa. Sheetz closes as busy convenience stores see more employees hit with coronavirus – lehighvalleylive.com

More and more, coronavirus is finding still-busy convenience stores a convenient target — first Wawa and now Sheetz.

After reporting that as many as a dozen Wawa stores in Pa. and New Jersey had been closed for deep cleaning after employees tested positive for coronavirus, Sheetz had to shut down one of its store for similar reasons.

As WNEP and WOLF news stations report, it happened at the Sheetz location in Trucksville/Shavertown, Luzerne County, on Monday.

That Sheetz store was closed while undergoing a professional “deep cleaning and disinfecting” — including the gas pumps, WNEP reported.

Source: Pa. Sheetz closes as busy convenience stores see more employees hit with coronavirus – lehighvalleylive.com

Pennsylvania restaurants and bars concerned of permanent closure | ABC27

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Closed and not coming back. That’s the fear many bars and restaurants across the state have, whose very survival is in jeopardy because of COVID-19.

In a matter of weeks, anguished restaurant owners have had to lay off their employees, who have had to cope with the financial rug pulled out from under them.

Across the state, the folks who give us food and drink now hunger and thirst for a return to normal.

Fine dining to go?

Survival is very much on the menu at Harrisburg’s Mangia Qui. That means free delivery and curbside pick up.

“We call you when we are outside your home and we will leave it on the doorstep. Curbside pickup, same thing. You call when outside, we glove up and bring it out to your car,” owner Staci Basore said.

Bars, restaurants, and taverns have been served an awful dish called COVID-19 that is not only killing people, but also business.

“I’m hearing maybe a month they can survive like that. But with no revenue, after that it’s gonna be a true struggle and possible disaster for them,” says Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

Moran is sending a letter of encouragement to his 500 members saying federal and state help will soon be on the way.

“That’s our message. ‘Hang in there, keep doing what you can and we’ll get through it together,’” Moran said.

Source: Pennsylvania restaurants and bars concerned of permanent closure | ABC27

Traffic at Walmart, Costco and Target falls for the first time in weeks as coronavirus stockpiling behavior shifts – MarketWatch

Traffic at Walmart Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Target Corp. dropped for the first time in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic ramped up in the U.S., according to Placer.ai.

Walmart WMT, -1.36% traffic was down 6.7% year-over-year for the third week of March. The previous week, traffic was up 18.4%.

At Costco COST, -2.05% , traffic fell 8.7% year-over-year for the third week of March. The second week of March, traffic jumped 34.7%.

And at Target TGT, -3.16% , traffic slumped 20.5% in the third week of March after climbing 19.2% year-over-year the previous week.

Source: Traffic at Walmart, Costco and Target falls for the first time in weeks as coronavirus stockpiling behavior shifts – MarketWatch

Should you wear mask in public if not sick with coronavirus? | PBS NewsHour

Worldwide, the top priority for masks goes to health workers, who are in close contact with patients. Masks are also recommended for the sick.

For months as the COVID-19 crisis grew and masks disappeared from store shelves, U.S. health officials have agreed. The virus is believed to spread mostly through droplets from coughs or sneezes, and thus the main advice has been to keep your distance — staying 6 feet away — in addition to frequent hand-washing and not touching your face. Health workers who may be doing procedures that generate tinier particles are supposed to get high priority for tight-fitting filtering masks.

“Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!” Surgeon General Jerome Adams wrote in a February 29 tweet. “They are not effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk.”

But mask-wearing has long been common in some countries during respiratory outbreaks, especially in parts of Asia.

Source: Should you wear mask in public if not sick with coronavirus? | PBS NewsHour

Stock Markets in Asia Dip on Dire U.S. Warning: Live Updates – The New York Times

Markets fell in early Wednesday trading in Asia as investors digested a steady drip of worrying news about the economic ramifications of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Major indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were modestly lower midday, as financial markets settled into a slow grind of bad news. While the panic of recent weeks appeared to have subsided, numerous signs pointed to glum prospects for a quick recovery.

After Wall Street’s Tuesday close, President Trump said at a news conference that the United States would face “a very painful, very very painful two weeks.” U.S. government scientists projected that the outbreak could kill up to 240,000 Americans.

Futures markets predicted Europe and the United States would open lower later on Wednesday. Prices for long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional investment safe haven, rose, as did gold futures. Oil prices were mixed.

Source: Stock Markets in Asia Dip on Dire U.S. Warning: Live Updates – The New York Times

11 Veterans Die At Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts Amid COVID-19 Outbreak : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

Eleven veterans have died at a soldiers’ home in Holyoke, Mass., where a COVID-19 outbreak is now threatening even more residents and staff. At least five of the people who died have tested positive for COVID-19; other tests are still pending in the case, which Gov. Charlie Baker calls “a shuddering loss for us all.”

An additional 11 veterans and five staff members have also tested positive, raising the facility’s overall total to more than 20 confirmed cases. More tests are under way to determine the scope of exposure to the coronavirus.

The Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke’s superintendent, Bennett Walsh, was placed on administrative leave Monday, according to member station WBUR.

The station also reports that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse says the veterans’ facility did not initially tell city and state officials that residents had died last week. On Tuesday, Morse said it wasn’t until over the weekend, when he began to get anonymous tips, that the gravity of the situation became clear.

Source: 11 Veterans Die At Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts Amid COVID-19 Outbreak : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

Louisiana pastor who defied coronavirus order arrested on misdemeanor charges | Fox News

The pastor of Lousiana megachurch was arrested on misdemeanor charges for holding Sunday services for hundreds of followers in the face of a state-wide coronavirus large gathering ban.

The criminal action against Pastor Tony Spell comes a day after Rev. Rodney Howard-Browne, the pastor of another megachurch, River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida, was arrested and charged with violating a local coronavirus stay-at-home order when he held services over the weekend that drew large crowds.

Spell’s service Sunday drew an estimated 500 people of all ages to Life Tabernacle Church in Central.

On Tuesday Central police charged Spell with six counts of violating the Louisiana governor’s ban on large gatherings that was enacted to contain the sometimes-deadly coronavirus.

Source: Louisiana pastor who defied coronavirus order arrested on misdemeanor charges | Fox News

Coronavirus could travel 27 feet, stay in air for hours: researcher

Social-distancing guidelines to stay 6 feet from others may be woefully inadequate, one scientist warns — saying the coronavirus can travel 27 feet and linger for hours.MIT associate professor

Source: Coronavirus could travel 27 feet, stay in air for hours: researcher

Chris Cuomo diagnosed with coronavirus; he will continue working from home – CNN

New York (CNN Business)CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with Covid-19.

He is feeling well, and will continue to anchor his 9 p.m. program “Cuomo Prime Time” from his home.
“In these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus,” Cuomo wrote in a message on Twitter.
“I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fevers, chills and shortness of breath,” he wrote. “I just hope I didn’t give it to the kids and Cristina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!”

Source: Chris Cuomo diagnosed with coronavirus; he will continue working from home – CNN

IRS Gives Stimulus Check Distribution Details, Says Payments To Begin Within Three Weeks

The Treasury Department and IRS today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and that they will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. See IR 2020-61. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment? Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

Source: IRS Gives Stimulus Check Distribution Details, Says Payments To Begin Within Three Weeks

Russian charged in Pittsburgh with laundering money for international cybercriminals | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Russian national described by the FBI as a “significant cybercriminal” has been charged in Pittsburgh with laundering money for other cybercriminals, joining five Latvians indicted here in January on similar charges.

An FBI complaint was unsealed Monday against Maksim Boiko, 29, known as “gangass” in the cyberworld, after agents arrested him at a Miami condo on Saturday.

Mr. Boiko had entered the U.S. in January with his wife at Miami carrying $20,000 in cash, the FBI said.

He told customs agents that the money was from investments in Bitcoin and rental properties in Russia. But the FBI said that Mr. Boiko, whose Instagram account showed him flashing bundles of cash, is really a money launderer for other cyber criminals who provides access to bank accounts for receiving stolen money from victims and for converting the money into crypocurrency.

Agents said Mr. Boiko conspired with members of an international organized crime group called QQAAZZ that provides money-laundering services around the globe.

Source: Russian charged in Pittsburgh with laundering money for international cybercriminals | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Fugitive Arrested after Delivering Heroin to Undercover Detectives

In October of 2019, an arrest warrant was issued for Herbert Lee Walker III, 25, of Penn Hills, after Allegheny County Police found nearly 7,000 stamp bags of heroin and a handgun at Walker’s residence in Penn Hills during the execution of a search warrant.

On February 13, 2020, Pittsburgh Police officers, aware of Walker’s status as a fugitive, saw him in the 5700 block of Baum Boulevard in the East End. When officers attempted to take him into custody, Walker fled in a white Dodge pickup truck, striking two city police cars in his effort to escape. An additional arrest warrant was obtained by Pittsburgh Police officers stemming from this incident. Walker was charged with Aggravated Assault (3 counts), Reckless Endangerment (3 counts), Fleeing & Eluding, and Flight to Avoid Apprehension.

This Saturday, March 28, 2020, detectives from the Pittsburgh Police Narcotics & Vice Unit were able to obtain a cell phone number for Herbert Lee Walker III. An undercover Narcotics detective was able to establish telephone contact with Walker, who subsequently agreed to meet the undercover detective for the purposes of selling heroin to the detective. Assisted by Pittsburgh SWAT and detectives from the Pittsburgh Police Intelligence Unit, Narcotics detectives formulated plans to take Walker into custody when he arrived at the deal location. Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Walker arrived at the deal location along with another male, Dwayne Nelson, 22, of McKeesport. The men gave (50) stamp bags of heroin to the undercover detective in exchange for $340.00 cash. Immediately following the deal, SWAT officers moved in and took both men into custody without incident. During a search incident to arrest, Walker was found to be in possession of an additional quantity of heroin, as well as over $1,200.00 cash.

Both men were charged with Criminal Conspiracy, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, and Delivery of a Controlled Substance stemming from this incident. Walker was also arrested on his outstanding warrants stemming from the Penn Hills incident in 2019 and the Pittsburgh Police incident on February 13.

Herbert Lee Walker III

Dwayne Nelson

Source: Public Safety Media Blotter

Westmoreland Co. Police Asking Questions After Mystery Man Goes Door-To-Door Asking About Supplies – CBS Pittsburgh

WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — Police are checking in on Westmoreland County residents after a mystery man went door-to-door asking strange questions.

On Monday, an officer walked the beat along Jefferson and Washington Streets in South Greensburg.

The police got a few calls about a late-night visitor who was asking residents questions over the weekend.

“Saw some lights last night, some unusual activity at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night,” resident Katie Kelsey said.

Kelsey lives along Jefferson Street and told KDKA the person visited her neighbor, who then posted on Facebook.

“FYI to all south Greensburg residents. A young man about 6’2″ narrow build walking house to house with a small flip notebook with a badge on it claiming to work for a Gina at the Prison stating he has been sent to see if you need supplies. He may be armed and dangerous and attempt to rob you!” the post reads.

“We don’t know if he was casing the neighborhood, we don’t know what to think at this point,” Kelsey said.

The “Gina” the late-night visitor may be referring to is Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerilli, but she posted a message on Facebook after getting word of the mystery man.

Cerilli posting on her Facebook in part, “I did NOT send anyone to check on your household for supplies. Please keep your doors locked & call 911 immediately.”

We do not know the true intentions of the person going door to door.

Source: Westmoreland Co. Police Asking Questions After Mystery Man Goes Door-To-Door Asking About Supplies – CBS Pittsburgh

Trump approves major disaster declaration for Pennsylvania due to COVID-19

Gov. Wolf had requested the declaration for additional support for Pennsylvania at the state, county and local levels to help people struggling during the coronavirus outbreak.

Source: Trump approves major disaster declaration for Pennsylvania due to COVID-19

Pittsburgh Public Schools to begin remote instruction for students April 16

With schools across Pennsylvania closed until further notice because of COVID-19, Pittsburgh Public Schools are preparing to begin remote at-home instruction for students.

Student instruction will begin April 16, following orientation and distribution of materials on April 14 and April 15, the school district said Monday night. Teachers were set to begin training Tuesday.

The school district said it will buy 5,000 new laptops, adding them to the 2,500 that it says are already available. Another 599 devices will come from the University of Pittsburgh. The district said it will continue working to get more. Distribution to identified students will begin with high school seniors April 9.

Printed instructional packets will be provided for students who are unable to complete them online. Packets will be distributed at Grab-and-Go meal locations.

Source: Pittsburgh Public Schools to begin remote instruction for students April 16