8:05 AM - March 28, 2020
8:05 AM - March 28, 2020

Read the latest Philadelphia-area coronavirus updates here

As coronavirus cases continue to rise, officials warn that the peak is yet to come in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, 19 counties are under a lockdown of some kind, and Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia will be set up as an overflow hospital. And as the virus spreads, vulnerable customers are having a hard time accessing grocery delivery services.

Editor’s note: News about the coronavirus is changing quickly. The latest information can be found at inquirer.com/coronavirus.

4:04 AM - March 28, 2020
4:04 AM - March 28, 2020

A few lucky golf courses in Pennsylvania get to play on while coronavirus keeps the rest closed

Chris Norton swinging on hole two with Tom Tague both from Phoenixville keeping a safe distance spend the afternoon at the Loch Nairn Golf Course Avondale one of the only courses open. Thursday, March 26, 2020. “The coronavirus has been spreading across the globe since January, and now has been identified in the Philadelphia region.”
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Chris Norton swinging on hole two with Tom Tague both from Phoenixville keeping a safe distance spend the afternoon at the Loch Nairn Golf Course Avondale one of the only courses open. Thursday, March 26, 2020. “The coronavirus has been spreading across the globe since January, and now has been identified in the Philadelphia region.”

Golfers flooded Loch Nairn Golf Club on Thursday and Friday after the Chester County course reopened, claiming it had received a waiver of Pennsylvania’s sweeping shutdowns to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been getting hammered all day with golfers,” a Loch Nairn pro shop employee said Thursday.

The public facility in Avondale, five miles south of Longwood Gardens along Route 1, was believed to be the only course in Southeastern Pennsylvania where golfers were able to play. In the Poconos, Jack Frost National Golf Club also said it had the same permission. It was booked solid Friday, its first reopened day.

But a state official suggested the courses may have interpreted the approval too broadly.

“Golf course waivers are limited to maintenance,” Dominique Lockett, a Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) spokesperson, said in an email.

— Frank Fitzpatrick

12:54 AM - March 28, 2020
12:54 AM - March 28, 2020

Montco officials working to get cloth masks to people who may be at high risk for coronavirus

In Montgomery County, officials are working on a creative solution to get cloth masks to people in the community who may be at high-risk of contracting the virus.

County Board of Commissioners Chair Valerie Arkoosh said that while the county doesn’t have enough medical-grade masks to provide members of the community with individually, the county is working with faith leaders to establish a mask exchange portal to connect people sewing masks with those who need them. She said it will hopefully be up and running by next week.

Arkoosh said cloth masks can be effective for people making trips to the doctor's office or to the grocery store, especially if they are already practicing social distancing and staying six feet away from others.

» READ MORE:

— Anna Orso

10:23 PM - March 27, 2020
10:23 PM - March 27, 2020

Employee of Whole Foods in Jenkintown tests positive for coronavirus

An employee at a Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown has tested positive for the coronavirus, the company said Friday night.

“The safety of our Team Members and customers is our top priority and we are diligently following all guidance from local health and food safety authorities,” Whole Foods said in a statement. “We’ve been working closely with our store Team Members, and are supporting the diagnosed Team Member, who is in quarantine.”

Whole Foods did not say when the employee last worked at the store, which is located at 1575 The Fairway.

The company said the store has undergone additional cleaning and disinfection and that employees are following social distancing guidelines.

— Ellie Rushing

9:33 PM - March 27, 2020
9:33 PM - March 27, 2020

N.J. Attorney General vows to charge residents who violate the state emergency order

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal urged residents and business owners to follow Gov. Phil Murphy’s emergency orders to stay indoors, warning that those who don’t comply could face criminal charges.

Grewal said that police are “being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the orders put in place to protect us all — or what is more egregious, people falsely using the coronavirus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work.”

In a news release Friday, Grewal highlighted some recent action taken against people who spit or coughed on others, including law enforcement officers, and then falsely claimed they had the coronavirus.

Many were charged with disorderly persons offenses for hosting large gatherings, like weddings. A 23-year-old woman was charged with false public alarm for allegedly calling emergency dispatchers and claiming she had the coronavirus to try to get Essex County College to close. She did not have the virus, authorities said.

Some people who were charged with committing crimes unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, such as aggravated assault and arson, also were charged with violating the stay-at-home order.

— Ellie Rushing

9:03 PM - March 27, 2020
9:03 PM - March 27, 2020

Joe Biden recommends 3-month rent freeze for people impacted by the coronavirus

During a CNN Town Hall Friday night, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden recommended a three-month rent freeze to provide relief for people struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would make it a rent freeze for at least the next three months,” the former vice president and senator from Delaware said on CNN with Anderson Cooper. “Freeze it and forgive it."

”No one should be evicted during this period," he said.

Biden also said he “absolutely” supports a moratorium on shutting off unpaid utilities and would “do it nationwide.”

Biden’s main opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, also hosted a livestream Friday night and spoke with doctors and nurses fighting the coronavirus.

— Ellie Rushing

7:00 PM - March 27, 2020
7:00 PM - March 27, 2020

Coronavirus in every Philadelphia zip code, city data show

There are coronavirus cases throughout the city, with some zip codes seeing fewer than 5 cases and others as many as 35, according to city data.

These numbers are expected to grow significantly in the days and weeks ahead as officials, hospital workers and the community brace for a surge in cases. On Friday evening, the data showed zip code 19143, with 35 cases, and zip code 19103, with 34 cases, leading the city.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley has previously said the cases were “all over the city," without offering details.

“This virus is not going to stay in any particular neighborhood,” he said.

The city’s zip code-level data can be found here. The map relies on data gathered through testing since March 8. Since then there have been 637 positive test results in the city and 3,979 negative results.

— Oona Goodin-Smith, Ellie Silverman, Jason Laughlin

6:43 PM - March 27, 2020
6:43 PM - March 27, 2020

N.J. motor vehicle agencies will remain closed through April 12

Tolls at The Benjamin Franklin Bridge are shown in Camden, New Jersey. Thursday, March 26, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Tolls at The Benjamin Franklin Bridge are shown in Camden, New Jersey. Thursday, March 26, 2020.

All New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agencies, road testing, and inspection facilities will remain closed through April 12, MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton announced Friday.

Other MVC operations will continue, through online submissions from customers as well as other functions, including those that support commercial trucking critical to keep the supply chain moving during the COVID-19 health crisis, Fulton said in a press release.

“Fortunately, we have expanded our online capabilities over the past year and many of our customers can get their business taken care of that way,’’ Fulton said. “In most cases you can renew your license, replace a lost license, change your address, renew your registration and other transactions through our easy-to-use online portal.’’

Fulton originally ordered the MVC agencies to close through March 30, but because the number of coronaviruses cases continue to rise in New Jersey, the closures needed to be extended.

— Ellie Rushing

6:35 PM - March 27, 2020
6:35 PM - March 27, 2020

Coronavirus prompts SEPTA to postpone fare proposal hearings

A passenger boards a SEPTA bus at 6:30am in Center City, Philadelphia, March 24, 2020. Non-essential businesses are closed and a stay-at-home order has been issued by the city to try and reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in Philadelphia.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
A passenger boards a SEPTA bus at 6:30am in Center City, Philadelphia, March 24, 2020. Non-essential businesses are closed and a stay-at-home order has been issued by the city to try and reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in Philadelphia.

SEPTA is postponing the required public hearings needed to get its new fare policy into place by July because of the coronavirus, spokesperson Andrew Busch said Friday.

The transportation authority is pushing back hearings on the proposed fare restructuring, operating, and capital budgets that were to be held in April. SEPTA’s board will not be able to vote on the changes in May as expected.

“People are ... focused on making sure they’re healthy, and safe, and secure and we don’t want to get in the way of that,” Busch said.

SEPTA intends to shift the meetings by a month. If hearings happen in May, the board could vote on the budgets in June. Its new fiscal year begins July 1.

— Patricia Madej

6:19 PM - March 27, 2020
6:19 PM - March 27, 2020

How a Philly community held a flag fest while social distancing

Residents inside the University Square Complex waved the Philadelphia Maneto Flag together to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first city flag in America on Friday. The event ensured a safe way to celebrate while complying with social distancing recommendations.

— Heather Khalifa

5:40 PM - March 27, 2020
5:40 PM - March 27, 2020

United States becomes first country in world to pass 100,000 coronavirus cases

President Donald Trump is pictured on a television screen inside the Home2 Suites in Center City Philadelphia as he speaks during a coronavirus press briefing on Thursday, March 26, 2020. The U.S. on Thursday became the country with the most confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
President Donald Trump is pictured on a television screen inside the Home2 Suites in Center City Philadelphia as he speaks during a coronavirus press briefing on Thursday, March 26, 2020. The U.S. on Thursday became the country with the most confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The United States became the first country on Earth to surpass 100,000 cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

There are at least 100,717 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with a little less than half occurring in and around New York City. At least 1,544 people have died nationwide.

The U.S. became the global leader in coronavirus cases on Thursday, when it overtook both Italy and China. The outbreak has been deadliest in Italy, where 969 new deaths were recorded on Friday, bringing the country’s total to 9,134.

New Jersey, which has the second-most cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., reported a cumulative total of 8,825 cases on Friday, a surge of 1,982 cases in just 24 hours. Pennsylvania reported 531 new cases on Friday, increasing the state’s total to 2,218.

Here are the five hardest-hit states, as of Friday:

  • New York: 44,870 cases
  • New Jersey: 8,825 cases
  • California: 4,569 cases
  • Michigan: 3,634 cases
  • Washington: 3,264 cases

— Rob Tornoe

5:20 PM - March 27, 2020
5:20 PM - March 27, 2020

Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package after swift congressional votes

President Donald Trump signs the coronavirus stimulus relief package, at the White House, Friday, March 27, 2020, in Washington, as from left, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Minority Kevin McCarthy of Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence, look on. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci / AP
President Donald Trump signs the coronavirus stimulus relief package, at the White House, Friday, March 27, 2020, in Washington, as from left, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Minority Kevin McCarthy of Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence, look on. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law Friday, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers, and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.

Acting with unity and resolve unseen since the 9/11 attacks, Washington moved urgently to stem an economic free fall caused by widespread restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus that has shuttered schools, closed businesses and brought American life in many places to a virtual standstill.

“This will deliver urgently needed relief," Trump said as he signed the bill in the Oval Office, flanked only by Republican lawmakers. He thanked members of both parties for putting Americans “first.”

— Associated Press

5:15 PM - March 27, 2020
5:15 PM - March 27, 2020

For Pennsylvania’s Amish, the coronavirus and the call for social distancing are a challenge

A couple of Amish children look out the window of a horse-drawn cart riding along Old Philadelphia Pike in Gordonville, Pa. Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
A couple of Amish children look out the window of a horse-drawn cart riding along Old Philadelphia Pike in Gordonville, Pa. Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

The Amish do their best to keep outside troubles from entering their daily lives. That’s not so easy when the trouble is an invisible virus spreading across the globe.

People familiar with the Amish community in Pennsylvania say many are taking the coronavirus and subsequent business closures and calls for social distancing very seriously. But other Amish, just like some of their “English” counterparts, are not.

— Jason Nark

4:47 PM - March 27, 2020
4:47 PM - March 27, 2020

SEPTA pulls back 24-hour service on MFL, BSL

A passenger wears a mask on a SEPTA Market-Frankford line train going westbound on Friday, March 27, 2020. SEPTA trains are now running on limited service due to the spread of COVID-19 and the closure of nonessential businesses.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
A passenger wears a mask on a SEPTA Market-Frankford line train going westbound on Friday, March 27, 2020. SEPTA trains are now running on limited service due to the spread of COVID-19 and the closure of nonessential businesses.

SEPTA is making changes to overnight service on its subway lines.

The transportation authority will pull back service between 1 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on both the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines to allow time for additional cleaning beginning Monday. Ridership was “very low” during the overnight hours, SEPTA said.

SEPTA subway, bus, and trolleys are running on a Saturday schedule. Transit ridership has dropped more than 70% this week as riders heed calls to stay home.

An “essential service schedule” along Regional Rail begins Sunday.

— Patricia Madej

4:40 PM - March 27, 2020
4:40 PM - March 27, 2020

Drexel University postpones commencement ceremonies

Drexel University has become the latest school to postpone commencement ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to assure our newest graduates that we will herald their achievements when it is safe and feasible to do so,” Drexel officials said in a message to campus Friday. “Although details of these celebrations are still to be worked out, we hope to hold a university-wide commencement ceremony in early fall and will share details as soon as they are finalized.”

Individual colleges at Drexel may hold virtual ceremonies in the meantime, the school said.

— Susan Snyder

4:38 PM - March 27, 2020
4:38 PM - March 27, 2020

Pennsylvania rep. tests positive for coronavirus

4:13 PM - March 27, 2020
4:13 PM - March 27, 2020

Under pressure from Trump, GM agrees to make ventilators

President Donald Trump said Friday that he had invoked the Defense Production Act that would mandate General Motors to produce thousands of ventilators for critically ill patients amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.

He made the announcement on the heels of reports that federal officials had reached a standstill with GM over the cost of making the ventilators and how long it would take to make them. The White House had been in talks with GM and Ventec about using a GM auto electronics plant in Kokomo, Ind. to make the equipment.

The timeline to sign a contract with GM and Seattle-based ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems had been moving too slow as the outbreak surged, Trump said at a Friday news conference, adding that “we’re not looking to get into a big deal about price."

”We didn’t want to play games with them," he said.

Trump said he had named Peter Navarro, assistant to the president and the director of trade and manufacturing policy, to be the policy coordinator for the Defense Production Act.

The president’s announcement Friday came mere hours after he had criticized General Motors and Ford Motor Co. on Twitter, accusing the American carmakers of delaying the production of life-saving ventilators in the fight against the coronavirus.

Moments later, GM announced official plans to manufacture the FDA-cleared equipment at its plant in Indiana. The Detroit-based company also said it would begin making FDA-approved surgical masks in Michigan.

“General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!,” Trump tweeted. “FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!”

The president said the U.S. produces around 29,000 ventilators annually. Over the next 100 days, he said, his administration would want 100,000 more ventilators.

— Katie Park, Oona Goodin-Smith

3:59 PM - March 27, 2020
3:59 PM - March 27, 2020

Treating coronavirus takes serious toll on health care workers’ mental health, study finds

A medical worker prepares to collect samples from individuals who signed up for "drive-through testing" for the coronavirus at a Penn Medicine site in West Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Penn, Jefferson and other area hospital systems have set up drive-through stations to swab for samples that can be tested for the coronavirus.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
A medical worker prepares to collect samples from individuals who signed up for "drive-through testing" for the coronavirus at a Penn Medicine site in West Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Penn, Jefferson and other area hospital systems have set up drive-through stations to swab for samples that can be tested for the coronavirus.

Health care workers already deal with disproportionately high rates of depression — about three times higher than the general public. But the strain of treating coronavirus patients, and the impossible decisions many are being forced to make, will likely worsen the mental health of doctors and nurses, experts say.

According to a study published in JAMA Network Open earlier this week, health care workers in China reported experiencing declining mental health as a result of treating patients with COVID-19. The study measured 1,257 responses to surveys used to asses mental health symptoms and found that approximately 50% of participants experienced depressive symptoms; 45% experienced anxiety; 34% experienced insomnia; and 72% experienced distress.

— Bethany Ao

3:49 PM - March 27, 2020
3:49 PM - March 27, 2020

EPA stops enforcing environmental laws, citing coronavirus

The Environmental Protection Agency indefinitely relaxed the enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, allowing companies to effectively regulate themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the sweeping new policy, which has been applied retroactively to March 13, companies won’t face penalties for failing to comply with reporting and monitoring rules on air and water pollution.

The oil and gas industry were among the industries that had sought an advance relaxation of environmental and public health enforcement during the outbreak, according to the Associated Press, citing potential staffing problems.

“This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

The move has garnered widespread criticism from environmental groups. Former Obama EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, now the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the announcement “an open license to pollute.”

— Rob Tornoe

3:32 PM - March 27, 2020
3:32 PM - March 27, 2020

A fourth Montgomery County resident has died from the coronavirus

Montgomery County reported its fourth death Friday, a 95-year-old man from Cheltenham Township who had been hospitalized.

The county also reported 58 new confirmed cases of coronavirus across 30 municipalities, bringing the area’s total to 371, said Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

The newly diagnosed individuals range in age from 12 to 85 years old. Three municipalities reported their first cases. One of the new individuals is hospitalized, 39 are recovering at home, and 18 individuals’ conditions are unknown, Arkoosh said.

She said that people who want to be tested at the county sites must now register for an appointment beginning at 8 a.m. the morning of the test. Previously, appointments could be made the night before.

Arkoosh, who is a physician with a background in public health, stressed that because the county has a limited number of tests available, people with mild symptoms and no underlying conditions do not need to be tested.

— Ellie Rushing

3:19 PM - March 27, 2020
3:19 PM - March 27, 2020

Why the CEO of Comcast and his family gifted $5M for computers to help Philly kids learn during coronavirus school closures

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, left, and his wife, Aileen, pose for photos inside the new Comcast Technology Center in Center City Philadelphia on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. The newly completed skyscraper is the city's tallest. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, left, and his wife, Aileen, pose for photos inside the new Comcast Technology Center in Center City Philadelphia on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. The newly completed skyscraper is the city's tallest. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer

When Comcast CEO Brian Roberts read that Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. had said the school system would need to purchase millions of dollars worth of technology to make large-scale learning during the pandemic possible for Philadelphia’s children Roberts, his wife Aileen and their three adult children began talking about the possibility of covering some of the cost.

On Thursday, the family gifted $5 million to the Fund for the Philadelphia School District, the school system’s charitable arm, to help pay for 50,000 Chromebooks for students in the Philadelphia school district.

— Kristen A. Graham

2:45 PM - March 27, 2020
2:45 PM - March 27, 2020

You don’t have to pay taxes right now, and other ways to conserve cash during coronavirus

Customer Notice sign on the door of a PNC Bank branch in Voorhees on March 15, 2020.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Customer Notice sign on the door of a PNC Bank branch in Voorhees on March 15, 2020.

If you need to, you can cut back on expenses during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are a few ideas on how to do that:

  • You don’t have to pay your taxes right now.
  • You can negotiate debt payments.
  • Stop autopayments.
  • Keep cash on hand.
  • Work with housing and credit counselors.

— Erin Arvedlund

2:30 PM - March 27, 2020
2:30 PM - March 27, 2020

Philadelphia-area hospitals brace for the coronavirus surge: 'We are no more than 2 weeks behind N.Y.’

As U.S. coronavirus case numbers explode, testing is still a bottleneck, and there is a dire shortage of everything from low-tech face masks to high-tech ventilators. In New York City, a doctor at a hospital with 13 deaths in one day told the New York Times just days ago that the situation was “apocalyptic.”

Philadelphia area hospitals are now preparing for “the surge.” That’s a medical term referring not just to the deluge of patients, but also to how hospitals plan to do the near-impossible: provide adequate care without adequate resources.

“We anticipate we are no more than two weeks behind New York City,” P.J. Brennan, chief medical officer of the massive University of Pennsylvania Health System, said on Thursday. “Cases are doubling every two to three days. We had 46 confirmed cases last night. You do the math.”

— Marie McCullough, Lisa Gartner

2:25 PM - March 27, 2020
2:25 PM - March 27, 2020

Pennsylvania still seeing exponential rise in coronavirus cases

Pennsylvania reported 531 new coronavirus cases Friday, similar to the rise seen on Thursday.

But it’s too early to make any conclusions about what that means, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said at a news conference, adding that the state is still seeing an exponential rise in cases.

Unlike officials in other states, she declined to estimate when Pennsylvania will see a peak in cases. Instead, Levine emphasized ongoing mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

— Sarah Anne Hughes

2:20 PM - March 27, 2020
2:20 PM - March 27, 2020

Pennsylvania ‘stay-at-home’ order extended to 9 more counties

A pedestrian walks under the marquee at the Theater of Living Arts along South Street, telling the public to stay home on Friday, March 20, 2020. The coronavirus has shut down local concert venues and theaters.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
A pedestrian walks under the marquee at the Theater of Living Arts along South Street, telling the public to stay home on Friday, March 20, 2020. The coronavirus has shut down local concert venues and theaters.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday said he is expanding his stay-at-home order to another nine counties, bringing the total of counties under some form of lockdown to 19.

Wolf said the new counties where residents are being asked to limit their movements are Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland, and York. The order takes effect 8:00 p.m. Friday, and will remain in place until April 6.

Counties already under a stay-at-home order are: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia.

Wolf has said he’s taking a “measured” approach to the order, which directs residents to leave their homes only for essential items, such as groceries and medicine. He has said he is not, as of now, considering extending the order statewide.

— Angela Couloumbis

2:14 PM - March 27, 2020
2:14 PM - March 27, 2020

New Jersey’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 100 as Gov. Murphy asks anyone with medical training to step up

New Jersey saw its deadliest day yet during the coronavirus outbreak as 27 people died Friday, bringing the state’s total number of fatalities in the pandemic to 108.

As state health officials warned that the peak is likely weeks away, Gov. Phil Murphy extended a plea to anyone with any medical training, from New Jersey or elsewhere: please enlist to help.

“We need to call for experienced backup,” he said. “We need to go to the bullpen.”

He called on retired doctors and nurse, as well as medical students and EMTs, to volunteer their service through the state. By mid-April, officials expect to see a high demand for critical care beds, state health director Judith M. Persichilli said.

Murphy said he believes the current way of life may extend “meaningfully into May.”In all, the state has 8,825 total confirmed cases.

Since Thursday, that’s an increase of 1,982 cases, a number that is less than the increase from the previous day. Coronavirus cases have been reported at 55 long-term-care facilities, he said.

— Erin McCarthy

1:58 PM - March 27, 2020
1:58 PM - March 27, 2020

Bucks County will know in a matter of days if social distancing is working

Bucks County officials said they should know in a matter of days whether social distancing measures are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday, the county saw a slight decrease in the number of new confirmed cases — 16 new cases as opposed to 18 a day earlier, health director David Damsker said. However, when determining whether social distancing is working, Damsker said a better indicator is how many of the cases come from families or households where other individuals have the coronavirus. So far, he said, most of the county’s 144 cases fall into that category.

A second Bucks County emergency responder has tested positive, but officials declined to provide additional details, including where and for what department he or she works. The Middletown Township police officer who tested positive last week is “recovering well” at home,” Damsker said.

Of the county’s 144 cases, 10 have resulted in hospitalization, with four people in critical condition and six people in serious but not critical condition.

On the economic front, the county saw a 200% increase in unemployment this week. To help residents, officials have moved the deadline for paying property taxes without a late fee from July 1 to July 31.

— Erin McCarthy

1:51 PM - March 27, 2020
1:51 PM - March 27, 2020

Franklin Institute lays off all part-time workers and 36% of staff

The Franklin Institute is pictured in Philadelphia on Friday, March 27, 2020. The museum, which is indefinitely closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, laid off all of its part-time staff and 36 percent of its full-time staff Thursday.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
The Franklin Institute is pictured in Philadelphia on Friday, March 27, 2020. The museum, which is indefinitely closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, laid off all of its part-time staff and 36 percent of its full-time staff Thursday.

Closed indefinitely from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Franklin Institute Thursday laid off all of its part-time staff and 36% of its full-time staff across all departments, according to officials at the institute on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

In an unsigned statement, the institute said the large cuts were made to help ensure financial stability.

Many remaining staffers will take pay cuts ranging up to 30% with those at the top of the scale facing the largest reductions. Those making less than $50,000 a year will not face any salary reduction.

— Stephan Salisbury

1:32 PM - March 27, 2020
1:32 PM - March 27, 2020

House passes emergency $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package

The House easily passed a massive $2.2 trillion stimulus package intended to help businesses and workers cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic.

The bill passed by voice vote Friday afternoon, with many lawmakers absent due to travel concerns, shelter-in-place rules, or because they are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 encounters.

The Senate passed the legislation with a 96-0 vote early Thursday morning, which among other things includes direct payments to most Americans and a $600 increase in unemployment benefits for impacted individuals for at least four months.

President Trump is expected to quickly sign the legislation into law, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he expects direct payments of $1,200 to most individuals and $2,400 to most married couples to be in bank accounts by mid-April.

— Rob Tornoe

1:31 PM - March 27, 2020
1:31 PM - March 27, 2020

Philadelphia inmate tests positive for coronavirus

Managing Director Brian Abernathy said Friday an inmate in Philadelphia’s prison system has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We do have inmates in quarantine,” he said. “We’re not going to go into specifics of how many or at what facility.”

City officials also announced Friday the first case in an employee in the city’s Department of Prisons.

The city now has 637 confirmed cases of the virus.

— Laura McCrystal

1:17 PM - March 27, 2020
1:17 PM - March 27, 2020

Delaware County reports two more deaths due to coronavirus

Two additional COVID-19 related deaths were reported in Delaware County on Friday, according to county officials.

A 70-year-old woman from Ridley Township and a 63-year-old man from Middletown Township died, doubling the number of deaths in the county.

Earlier in the week, a man and woman, both in their 80s, from Delaware County died after being treated for the virus at Main Line Health hospitals.

— Vinny Vella

1:06 PM - March 27, 2020
1:06 PM - March 27, 2020

Philly could use Temple University’s Liacouras Center for coronavirus hospital overflow

A pedestrian walks in front of the Liacouras Center at Temple University in North Philadelphia on Friday, March 27, 2020. The city of Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Temple University to use the Liacouras Center and other facilities at the college for overflow medical space if needed to make room in hospitals for those infected with the coronavirus.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
A pedestrian walks in front of the Liacouras Center at Temple University in North Philadelphia on Friday, March 27, 2020. The city of Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Temple University to use the Liacouras Center and other facilities at the college for overflow medical space if needed to make room in hospitals for those infected with the coronavirus.

Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Temple University to use the Liacouras Center and other facilities at the college for overflow hospital space if needed.

“Materials and supplies will be moving into the Liacouras Center over the next few days," Kenney said.

Kenney said he hopes that the city will not have to use the Temple facility, which could hold as many as 250 patients, but it will be there if needed.

The arrangement includes the Liacouras Center, its parking garage and the student pavilion, an indoor athletic and practice space that is one block north on Broad Street, said Ray Betzner, a Temple University spokesperson. The center would be used for the hospital, and the pavilion for storage.

Like in New York, the space will be used to move non-coronavirus patients into and free up space in the hospitals, he said. The Army Corps of Engineers will set up the facility and it will be run by military medical personnel, he said.

The agreement was worked out in the last 24 hours, he said. The city and Federal Emergency Management Agency approached the university. Temple President Richard M. Englert was eager to comply, Betzner said.

“Temple University is part of the city and this is a fight that everyone in the city needs to enter,” Betzner said. “And Temple was happy to be a part of it.”

Temple owns the center, but it is operated by Comcast Spectacor, which also is part of the agreement.

The city hopes that FEMA will help staff the facility with health care workers, he said, but officials are looking into other options if that does not come through.

Kenney said the city is not paying Temple anything for the use of the facilities. “We’re very Temple proud,” he said.

Philadelphia is continuing to search for other facilities in addition to the Liacouras Center and the Holiday Inn Express at 13th and Walnut, which will be used as a quarantine site. The Holiday Inn has already hosted some city employees, and will be fully operational this weekend, Abernathy said.

Other cities plan to use convention centers as hospital overflow space, including the Javits Center in New York and the Atlantic City Convention Center.

John McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, said they continue to have conversations with the city regarding the use of the space, but no decisions have been made.

“Our focus is on getting back to business as soon as possible so we can save jobs,” he said.

In terms of being used as a hospital overflow space, McNichol said: “We’re trying to be as nimble as possible. Right now there’s no plan to use the Convention Center for that purpose.”

— Laura McCrystal, Susan Snyder, Anna Orso

12:43 PM - March 27, 2020
12:43 PM - March 27, 2020

Wolf: Pennsylvania schools must make ‘good faith efforts’ to continue education during coronavirus closures

An unidentified mother and child walk in front of Tilden Middle School where families of Philadelphia students had the opportunity to pick up packed breakfast and lunch meals during the two-week school closure. Monday, March 16, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
An unidentified mother and child walk in front of Tilden Middle School where families of Philadelphia students had the opportunity to pick up packed breakfast and lunch meals during the two-week school closure. Monday, March 16, 2020.

Pennsylvania schools must make “good faith efforts” to continue educating students during the ongoing closures, under a law signed by Gov. Tom Wolf Friday.

While Pennsylvania has not required school districts to provide instruction, the new law requires districts to post “continuity of education” plans on their websites and submit the plans to the state Department of Education. The requirement also applies to charter schools.

Developing those plans is “the biggest challenge in front of” school districts right now, said Mark DiRocco, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. He said school leaders are considering if they are “going to move ahead and teach new content and material,” or focus on review and enrichment activities.

Pennsylvania’s schools are closed at least until April 6, though school leaders have been preparing for the shutdown to last longer as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

— Maddie Hanna

12:33 PM - March 27, 2020
12:33 PM - March 27, 2020

Pope Francis to offer special blessings via livestream

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, Pope Francis will offer prayers and a special blessing today in an unprecedented service before an empty square outside St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Pope’s extraordinary Urbi et Orbi (“from the city to world”) blessing — usually only imparted at Christmas and Easter — will be live-streamed at 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Rome time) and beamed across the world.

The moment of prayer is expected to last about an hour.You can watch the Pope’s service here:

— Rob Tornoe

12:28 PM - March 27, 2020
12:28 PM - March 27, 2020

Republican forces full vote on coronavirus stimulus bill

 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) followed through on his threat to force a full floor vote in the House on the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill Friday. House leaders had hoped to pass the bill by a voice vote, which would have prevented vulnerable members from traveling to Washington, D.C.

There is wide, bipartisan support for the legislation, so Massie’s move is only expected to delay the bill’s passage in the House.

— Rob Tornoe

12:25 PM - March 27, 2020
12:25 PM - March 27, 2020

Philadelphia reports two more coronavirus-related deaths

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Philadelphia has two new deaths due to the coronavirus.

One is confirmed, the other is presumed, Farley said.

Both were women in their 70s, he said, and one was a nursing home resident.

The city now has 637 confirmed cases. The city announced earlier this week that the first city resident known to have died of the coronavirus was a male patient in his 50s with an underlying medical condition.

— Laura McCrystal, Anna Orso

11:50 AM - March 27, 2020
11:50 AM - March 27, 2020

Gov. Wolf signs bill moving Pa. primary election to June 2

A member of the Pa. House of Representatives casts a vote on the postponement of the April election, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The House session will be the first in state history where members can vote remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP)
AP
A member of the Pa. House of Representatives casts a vote on the postponement of the April election, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The House session will be the first in state history where members can vote remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News via AP)

June 2 is shaping up to be the Super Tuesday of postponed primaries. Pennsylvania will join 11 states and the District of Columbia in voting that day, after rescheduling its primary due to the coronavirus.

Gov. Wolf on Friday signed a bill passed through the Pennsylvania legislature to move the primary back six weeks to allow enough time for people to register to vote by mail, for polling locations to shift, and to give election officials time to prepare for an election taking place in unprecedented circumstances.

The law also authorizes county election officials to close and consolidate polling places without the usual court approval. (Officials had asked for that flexibility, as they’ve lost polling places and poll workers due to concerns over the coronavirus.)

Election officials will also now be able to begin processing absentee ballots earlier instead of after 8 p.m. on Election Day, which could have meant elections would take days to call.

With Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and D.C. also voting June 2, it’s been dubbed the Acela Primary.

While the moves are unlikely to derail former Vice President Joe Biden from winning the Democratic nomination, it does mean he’ll need more time to clinch it. Meanwhile, the delay could hurt some candidates running for the state legislature who have limited campaign resources they now need to stretch.

For election officials, it’s a welcome extension to prepare for an election that keeps voters and poll workers safe.

— Julia Terruso

11:40 AM - March 27, 2020
11:40 AM - March 27, 2020

House leaders hoping to vote on $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package at noon

House leaders will attempt to pass the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill by voice vote at noon, but their plans might be upended by Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.), who has said he plans to object and force a full floor vote.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had hoped to pass the measure without a full floor vote to protect vulnerable members of Congress, some of whom are home in states mandating stay-at-home rules. If Massie or any other member objects, a quorum of 216 lawmakers would be required to vote on the legislation.

Several lawmakers from the region, including Rep. Donald Norcross (D., N.J.) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R., N.J.), were present on the House floor Friday morning. Pennsylvania Rep Chrissy Houlahan (D., Pa.) drove to Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon in case her vote was needed.

One local member of congress who won’t take part in a vote is Rep. Andy Kim (D., N.J.), who is in his last day of self-quarantine after coming into contact with a colleague who tested positive for coronavirus.

It’s unclear if Massie will follow through on this threat, which has been condemned by politicians from both parties. That includes President Trump, who called for Republicans to throw the Kentucky congressman “out of the Republican Party!”

Update, 12:28 p.m.: Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) followed through on his threat to force a full floor vote in the House on the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill Friday. House leaders had hoped to pass the bill by a voice vote, which would have prevented vulnerable members from traveling to Washington, D.C.

Rob Tornoe and Jonathan Tamari

10:50 AM - March 27, 2020
10:50 AM - March 27, 2020

Owner of 7 Philly radio stations instituting pay-cuts in face of coronavirus economic setbacks

Beasley Media Group is instituting company-wide pay cuts and reducing the hours of some employees as the radio company grapples with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Beasley — which owns seven stations in Philadelphia, including 93.3 WMMR and 97.5 The Fanatic — is cutting wages 10% for salaried full-time employees, and reducing hours for full-time hourly workers by 10%. The cuts go into effect April 1 and will continue through the end of June.

Most hosts are salaried, meaning they will continue to host their daily shows as usual.

“While it is not something we want to do, it is necessary in the long-term as we continue to move forward to get to the other side of the current economic situation,” CEO Caroline Beasley wrote, adding she will be forgoing 20% of her compensation through the end of the second quarter.

Media companies, long supported by local advertising, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has forced governments across the country to close many businesses in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. Sports stations like The Fanatic and 94.1 WIP, which air live games, have also been hurt by the postponement of professional sports leagues.

— Rob Tornoe

10:20 AM - March 27, 2020
10:20 AM - March 27, 2020

Megabus suspends service in and out of hard-hit New York City

A Megabus near 30th Street Station, in 2018.
LUKE RAFFERTY / Staff Photographer
A Megabus near 30th Street Station, in 2018.

Megabus has suspended service in and out of New York City, America’s largest coronavirus outbreak hotspot, through at least April 9, the company said in a message on its website.

The move was made “in an abundance of caution” and aimed at supporting the federal government’s recommendation that anyone who traveled from New York City self-quarantine for at least two weeks, the company said. All Megabus passengers who have trips booked to and from New York City will receive an email with instructions for how to reschedule.

The announcement came shortly after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday he was considering suspending bus service between New York and Philadelphia, but had not yet made a decision.

“Regularly scheduled bus services that are coming in from states where there’s a problem, that does pose an issue that we have to address,” Wolf said. “We’re doing that. Right now, I don’t have an answer.”

Other major bus companies including Greyhound and Peter Pan still have service available between Philadelphia and New York City, though both have cut back on trips throughout the Northeast as sales and ridership have plummeted.

Amtrak also still offers trips between the two cities, though it canceled nonstop Acela service between Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York City about three weeks ago.

— Anna Orso, Justine McDaniel

10:00 AM - March 27, 2020
10:00 AM - March 27, 2020

Delaware reports second coronavirus death

A second person has died from the coronavirus in Delaware.

An 86-year-old man, who was a resident of a long-term-care facility for low-income seniors in Newark died Thursday night, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health. Six other residents of that facility, the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence, have also tested positive.

A 66-year-old man from Sussex County died earlier Thursday while hospitalized out of state. As of Friday morning, there were 143 confirmed coronavirus cases in Delaware, and 15 people had been hospitalized.

— Erin McCarthy

9:50 AM - March 27, 2020
9:50 AM - March 27, 2020

Update: 2 women who warned about younger people getting COVID-19 report they are recovering

Most people do recover from the coronavirus, more than 127,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which keeps track of the virus and its spread. Corianne Goldstein, a 32-year-old New Jersey woman who was hospitalized after contracting the virus, is on her way to being one of them.

Goldstein, of Matawan, was released from Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel earlier this week and is at home continuing to recover.

“It’s nice to be back with my husband and my dogs, having somebody to be next to me for the rest of this journey,” said Goldstein, a Rowan University graduate and marketing professional.

Earlier this month, Goldstein broke out in chills and fever, then started coughing and having difficulty breathing. She went to the emergency room on March 17, was diagnosed with double pneumonia and tested positive for the virus. She was discharged Wednesday as the hospital became more crowded, she said.

Corianne Goldstein
Courtesy of Corianne Goldstein
Corianne Goldstein

She’s still tired and short of breath, she said, and doctors told her it could take four to six weeks for her to fully recover. Her lung doctor also told her she had some damage to her lungs that will have to be addressed later, she said. “The virus might be gone but the results of what it did to me are not,” she said.

Also recovering is Elena Blanc, 31, a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, who lives in Brooklyn. She was not hospitalized. Her primary care doctor told her the illness was likely COVID-19. But because of test shortages, and because she doesn’t have underlying conditions that would make her more susceptible to bad outcomes, she was told she would not be tested unless symptoms worsened.

“My fever finally went away and my breathing and cough are much better,” Blanc, a full-time graduate student in the economics department at the New School for Social Research, said by email. “It definitely feels like my lung capacity is still less than before and I’m getting tired more easily than normal, but otherwise my symptoms are more or less resolved.”

— Susan Synder

9:40 AM - March 27, 2020
9:40 AM - March 27, 2020

Stocks open lower as Wall Street grapples with coronavirus impact

After three straight days of gains, stocks opened lower on Friday as investors continue to grapple with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened down 800 points, about 3.5%, shaking off some of the gains earned in one of the best three-day stretches in stock market history.

The Nasdaq opened down about 220 points (about 2.8%), while the S&P 500 opened down about 84 points (about 3.2%).

The House is expected to pass the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill Friday afternoon.

— Rob Tornoe

8:40 AM - March 27, 2020
8:40 AM - March 27, 2020

Maverick GOP congressman threatening to delay House vote on $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package

House leaders’ plan for swift action on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package ran into complications Friday as a maverick conservative threatened to delay passage until most lawmakers return to Washington for a vote.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who's opposed to the massive bill, set the House on edge by threatening to try to force a roll call vote. Party leaders had hoped to pass the measure by voice vote without lawmakers having to take the risk of travelling to Washington.

Massie took to Twitter to suggest he’d require a quorum of lawmakers — some 216 lawmakers — to be present and voting. Massie didn’t respond to a reporter’s requests for comment.

— Associated Press

8:10 AM - March 27, 2020
8:10 AM - March 27, 2020

Report: NFL Draft to go ahead, but not as planned

While the coronavirus pandemic has postponed or canceled nearly every major sporting event, the NFL Draft reportedly will go on as scheduled April 23-25.

In a memo obtained by ESPN, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said there will be significant changes to the event, including canceling the public spectacle planned outside the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

Instead, the NFL has nixed all public events and won’t be bringing top prospects and their families to the event. The draft will be conducted and televised “in a way that reflects current conditions,” Goodell wrote, and told teams to prepare to run their draft operations from a location outside their team facilities.

Goodell also warned potential critics of the league’s decision that “public discussion of issues relating to the Draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action.”

— Rob Tornoe

7:30 AM - March 27, 2020
7:30 AM - March 27, 2020

British P.M. Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, and Health Minister Matt Hancock visit Bassetlaw District General Hospital on their General Election campaign in Worksop, England. Matt Hancock has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Friday March 27, 2020, the same day as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was confirmed to have COVID-19. (Christopher Furlong/Pool via AP, File)
Christopher Furlong / AP
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, and Health Minister Matt Hancock visit Bassetlaw District General Hospital on their General Election campaign in Worksop, England. Matt Hancock has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Friday March 27, 2020, the same day as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was confirmed to have COVID-19. (Christopher Furlong/Pool via AP, File)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the most prominent world leader to contract COVID-19.

Johnson wrote on Twitter that he has “mild symptoms” and is self-isolating, but will continue to lead his government’s response to the pandemic remotely.

He was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, according to a statement from Downing Street.

— Rob Tornoe

6:50 AM - March 27, 2020
6:50 AM - March 27, 2020

Businesses tied to Gov. Tom Wolf, top Pa. senator close after questions about how they qualified as ‘life-sustaining’

Thousands of businesses in Pennsylvania have closed under Gov. Tom Wolf’s unprecedented statewide shutdown to help slow the spread of coronavirus, but not the company that the Democratic governor once owned, or the business now owned by the Senate’s most powerful member.

Until now.

On Thursday, Wolf’s office said it had rescinded a waiver that had been issued to the governor’s former business, a kitchen and bath cabinet supply company in Central Pennsylvania, after Spotlight PA and PA Post inquired about how it qualified as “life-sustaining."

Likewise, The Dan Smith Candy Company, owned by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) — which makes and sells candies, chocolates and other specialty items at stores in the northern part of the state — also closed its doors after inquiries from the news organizations.

— Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA and Ed Mahon of PA Post

5:15 AM - March 27, 2020
5:15 AM - March 27, 2020

Nursing homes fear accepting patients who may have coronavirus exposure in hospitals

Family members pray recently outside AristaCare at Meadow Springs in Plymouth Meeting. Nursing homes have been advised to greatly restrict visitation to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
Courtesy of Sidney Greenberger
Family members pray recently outside AristaCare at Meadow Springs in Plymouth Meeting. Nursing homes have been advised to greatly restrict visitation to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

Sidney Greenberger runs a New Jersey-based company that operates eight nursing homes in Pennsylvania and six in New Jersey.

His buildings are filled with those most likely to die if infected with the coronavirus — the elderly and those with lots of chronic health problems. He finds the prospect “terrifying” and says the virus could make nursing homes a “death trap” for his residents.

“I’m scared s—less, and that’s the honest truth," he said.

— Stacey Burling

5:00 AM - March 27, 2020
5:00 AM - March 27, 2020

Colleges stand to lose millions because of the coronavirus

Temple freshman Alix Testa helps her dad, Jason Testa, pack up her things outside of her residence hall at Temple University on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Temple is the latest Philly-area university to announce that it will suspend in-person teaching and move to online courses starting Monday in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Students living on campus must vacate no later than 5 p.m. on March 21. Students who are unable to return home can request extensions to stay the rest of the semester.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Temple freshman Alix Testa helps her dad, Jason Testa, pack up her things outside of her residence hall at Temple University on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Temple is the latest Philly-area university to announce that it will suspend in-person teaching and move to online courses starting Monday in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Students living on campus must vacate no later than 5 p.m. on March 21. Students who are unable to return home can request extensions to stay the rest of the semester.

Temple University refunded millions of dollars to students who were forced to leave their dorms and return home to finish the semester online.

There’s also money gone from canceled campus events and a loss of sports-related revenue. Many other questions swirl: Will the coronavirus affect summer and fall terms? Will students feel safe to enroll? Will their families, who may face job loss, be able to pay? Will the campus be able to open? Will it have to shut again for a second virus wave?

Temple said it couldn’t estimate how much money it has lost already — or could lose in coming months. Pennsylvania State University president Eric Barron said during a virtual town hall his school also faces a loss of millions. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees 14 universities, is projecting a $100 million revenue shortfall.

— Susan Snyder

4:45 AM - March 27, 2020
4:45 AM - March 27, 2020

American Airlines flight attendant based in Philadelphia dies after testing positive for COVID-19

A 65-year-old American Airlines flight attendant based in Philadelphia died this week after testing positive for COVID-19.

Paul Frishkorn started as a flight attendant in 1997, the airline said in a statement late Thursday night.

“Over the years he built a reputation as a consummate professional who was honored as one of American’s Flight Service Champions twice for his excellent service to our customers,” the airline said.

“Our hearts go out to Paul’s loved ones, many of whom work for American," the company saud. "We are working directly with them to ensure they are cared for during this extraordinarily difficult time. He will be missed by the customers he cared for and everyone at American who worked with him.”

Paul Frishkorn
Association of Professional Flight Attendants
Paul Frishkorn

Frishkorn reportedly had other health issues that made him susceptible to complications from COVID-19.

“Paul was 65 years old and the first American team member to lose his life after contracting the illness,” the Association of Flight Professional Attendants said in an online memoriam.

“Our industry, our airline and all of us have been affected by COVID-19 in different ways. But until now, we hadn’t lost one of our own. This loss hits home in a very different, personal way from the headlines,” the union said.

American Airlines, the dominant carrier at Philadelphia International Airport, has been economically devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, as has the airline industry globally.

— Robert Moran

4:15 AM - March 27, 2020
4:15 AM - March 27, 2020

Morning Roundup: Pa. officials look for supplies and space amid coronavirus ‘war,’ New Jersey pronounced major disaster area

As preparations — and a race against time — continued for the anticipated strain of the coronavirus on hospitals, New Jersey was declared a major disaster area by President Donald Trump, and officials across Pennsylvania scrambled Thursday to find hospital space and much-needed supplies to care for the growing number of ill people.

The New Jersey health commissioner warned that the state was nearing the patient surge officials have been trying to combat, and ordered three major hospitals across the state to help mount field hospitals in the coming weeks. The state put in another order for supplies from the federal government, seeking 4.5 million N95 masks and 2,500 ventilators.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania officials said they were “scouring the state and the country” to find any medical supplies available for purchase, and Gov. Tom Wolf said the state needs more beds and ventilators “as soon as possible.”

Justine McDaniel, Pranshu Verma and Laura McCrystal

4:00 AM - March 27, 2020
4:00 AM - March 27, 2020

The Inquirer Front Page

The Philadelphia Inquirer's front page for Friday, March 27, 2020.
Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer's front page for Friday, March 27, 2020.