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Wolf Issues Stay-at-Home Order for Hardest-Hit Counties
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 03/26/2020

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered residents of the state's hardest-hit areas to stay home to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus that has already sickened hundreds and caused six deaths statewide.

Wolf issued the stay-at-home order for Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Monroe and Allegheny counties.

Together, those counties account for 75% of the state's confirmed cases of COVID-19. It's the latest in a series of progressively tougher measures imposed by Wolf in the face of a global pandemic that state officials say threatens to swamp hospitals and spike the death toll.

Wolf also extended school closures in the state until at least April 6.

People may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

- Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home

- Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences

- Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing

- To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business

- To care for a family member or pet in another household

- Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities

- Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons

- Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services

- Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction

- Travel required by law enforcement or court order.

- Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth

The following operations are exempt:

- Life-sustaining business activities

- Health care or medical services providers

- Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks

- Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early

- Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, business closure Orders.

- News media

- Law enforcement

- The federal government

- Religious institution

The number of cases has been doubling every two days, state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said news conference earlier this week.

Wolf said the administration wanted to take a "measured approach" to the crisis and expressed hope that if the coronavirus could be largely contained to the most heavily impacted counties, he could avoid extending his stay-at-home order to the entire state.

Health officials are trying to avoid getting to the point where the state's hospital system is overwhelmed by a large amount of new COVID-19 cases, Wolf said.

The state is working on obtaining medical equipment to help deal with the virus, including ventilators, Gov. Wolf said.

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