9:10 AM - March 11, 2020
9:10 AM - March 11, 2020

Read the latest Philadelphia-area coronavirus updates here

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has topped 1,000 Wednesday morning, with at least 31 related deaths, as the pace of infections increases nationwide. As of Wednesday morning, 14 of those cases are in Pennsylvania, and 15 in New Jersey. But you won’t hear more about the total number of samples tested in Pennsylvania, the number of people quarantined after possible exposure, or the exact ages of the infected people. That’s because of a decades-old law.

11:23 PM - March 10, 2020
11:23 PM - March 10, 2020

Bucks announces two presumptive positive coronavirus cases

Bucks County officials on Tuesday announced the county’s first two presumptive cases of the coronavirus.

Officials said both adults live in the same household, and became infected while attending an event out of the state.

Both, whose identities are being withheld, are suffering from mild symptoms. They are being quarantined in their homes until further notice.

Local cases include eight in Montgomery County, two in Bucks County, one in Delaware County, and one in Philadelphia, which reported its first case Tuesday.

— Tommy Rowan

10:20 PM - March 10, 2020
10:20 PM - March 10, 2020

City cancels 2020 St. Patrick’s Day parade

Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been canceled, officials said Tuesday night.

Statement of the Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Observance Association Issued March 10, 2020 9:45pm After heartfelt...

Posted by St. Patrick's Day Observance Association of Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

— Tommy Rowan

8:40 PM - March 10, 2020
8:40 PM - March 10, 2020

One Montco school to remain closed, others set to reopen

The Hatboro-Horsham School District announced that the Simmons Elementary School, which closed for cleaning Tuesday after a student was possibly exposed to the coronavirus, will remain shut down on Wednesday as school leaders awaited guidance from the Montgomery County Department of Health.

Others that were closed Tuesday for cleaning were set to reopen Wednesday. They are all the schools in the Lower Merion Area, Upper Merion Area, Norristown Area, and Cheltenham School Districts, in Montgomery County; Henderson High School, in Chester County; and Buckingham Friends School, in Bucks County.

— Maddie Hanna and Justine McDaniel

8:00 PM - March 10, 2020
8:00 PM - March 10, 2020

Curtis Institute cutting back, adjusting activity schedules

Aiming to reduce potential exposure to the coronavirus, the Curtis Institute of Music is curtailing and adjusting activities over the next few weeks, the school announced.

Remaining auditions for the conservatory, which draws an international student body, have been canceled in voice/opera, violin, and cello. Interviews with composition applicants will be conducted via Skype.

Audiences at concerts at the school, on Rittenhouse Square, between March 23 and 31 will be limited to Curtis students, staff, and faculty, but will be streamed live via YouTube and Facebook. Curtis on Tour concerts in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and in the Detroit area between March 13 and 22 have been canceled.

The Curtis Institute, near Rittenhouse Square.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
The Curtis Institute, near Rittenhouse Square.

Curtis concerts from April 1 through the end of the semester are envisioned as being re-opened to live audiences, but the school cautioned that it will continue to reassess.There are currently no known cases of the coronavirus in the Curtis community, the school said in a statement.

“We are continually monitoring the situation, however, and have developed plans to respond if that changes. The health and well-being of our community are our highest priority, and we are carefully considering all options, including the possible suspension of operations.”

— Peter Dobrin

7:49 PM - March 10, 2020
7:49 PM - March 10, 2020

Game on for Wells Fargo events, despite city’s advice on avoiding crowds

Despite the city’s urging people to avoid large public gatherings, sporting events and concerts at the Wells Fargo Center, including a Flyers game Tuesday night, will go on as scheduled.

The Wells Fargo Center is a landmark in South Philadelphia.
FILE
The Wells Fargo Center is a landmark in South Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, public health officials announced the first presumptive positive case in the city and recommended people avoid gatherings of more than 5,000 people. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said while the city isn’t canceling events, it is asking organizations to urge attendees to stay home.

Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Wells Fargo Center, said in a statement before Tuesday’s Flyers match-up against the Bruins that the game would be played as scheduled, but ticket holders who feel ill or have underlying health conditions should “consider not attending.”

The Wells Fargo Center, an arena that’s the home of the Sixers and the Flyers and is among the city’s largest concert venues, holds nearly 20,000 people.

— Anna Orso

6:35 PM - March 10, 2020
6:35 PM - March 10, 2020

Faegre Drinker shutting its global offices

Faegre Drinker, one of the nation’s largest law firms and which has a Philadelphia headquarters, announced Tuesday that it was closing all its global offices because of concerns over the coronavirus.

It did not say when it planned to reopen them.

The firm, formed Feb. 1 from the merger of Drinker, Biddle & Reath, a venerable Philadephia firm, and Fagre Baker Daniels, based in the Midwest, has 1,300 attorneys and other professional employees in 22 offices. That includes outposts in China and the United Kingdom.

No employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, the firm said in a statement, but someone who attended a recent event at its Washington, D.C., office, has.

— Sam Wood

6:07 PM - March 10, 2020
6:07 PM - March 10, 2020

Chesco schools canceling trips — to Montgomery County

In addition to canceling trips abroad, some area schools are scaling back on travel on a far-more local level -— to Montgomery County.

Two Chester County school districts say they are not allowing trips to Montgomery County, where officials have identified eight presumptive coronavirus cases. Given the “growing number of cases ... we now consider the entire county a focus area of infection,” Unionville-Chadds Ford Superintendent John Sanville said in a message to families Tuesday.

He said the district was “suspending student and staff travel to all areas in Montgomery County,” as well as “prohibiting groups traveling from Montgomery County into our district.”

The district previously suspended student and staff travel to “urban areas,” citing population densities.The Avon Grove School District also says it has restricted student and staff travel to Montgomery County, including spring sporting events for middle and high school teams.

— Maddie Hanna

5:07 PM - March 10, 2020
5:07 PM - March 10, 2020

Sanders, Biden cancel Ohio rallies

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden abruptly canceled scheduled rallies Tuesday night in Cleveland amid concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus — as public health fears began transforming the 2020 race.

Sanders had been planning to speak at a convention center in Cleveland as results from six states voting in the Democratic presidential contests began rolling in. But he pulled the plug only about three hours before it was scheduled to start, and his campaign announced that decisions on future events would be made on a case-by-case basis.

“Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland. We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak,” Sanders' campaign spokesman, Mike Casca, said in a statement. “All future Bernie 2020 events will be evaluated on a case by case basis.”

A Biden spokesman initially suggested the former vice president’s own event in Cleveland would go on as scheduled, but his campaign subsequently released a statement saying it was off.

— Associated Press

4:29 PM - March 10, 2020
4:29 PM - March 10, 2020

More than 20 patients, 17 workers exposed to coronavirus by CHOP doctor

The exterior of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, King of Prussia campus. A CHOP cardiologist working in King of Prussia tested positive for coronavirus and is hospitalized.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
The exterior of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, King of Prussia campus. A CHOP cardiologist working in King of Prussia tested positive for coronavirus and is hospitalized.

About 25 patients and 17 employees were potentially exposed to the coronavirus by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia cardiologist who was hospitalized with the virus on Monday, the hospital’s chief executive said in a statement.

The doctor, who is based in CHOP’s King of Prussia location, saw patients for four days after returning to work on March 1 from a trip to a country where coronavirus is circulating, CEO Madeline Bell said Tuesday.

He was taken by ambulance to Paoli Hospital Sunday and transferred to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was reported in critical condition Monday.

State and county officials declined to provide an update on his condition Tuesday. “This situation is a humbling reminder of the diligence we all must demonstrate when monitoring our own health and that of those around us,” Bell said.

— Sarah Gantz

4:04 PM - March 10, 2020
4:04 PM - March 10, 2020

Burlington County couple who tested positive had traveled to Italy; Cherry Hill patient ‘doing well’

A Burlington County couple — a 62-year-old man and 60-year-old woman — who had traveled to Italy have tested positive for the coronavirus, the county health department announced Tuesday.

They have been “isolated at home” since Wednesday with “mild” symptoms, officials said. Officials said they were working closely with the couple to identify those who might have had contact with them.

Meanwhile, the Cherry Hill man who had tested positive and was hospitalized last week “is doing very well,” Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said in a statement. He added that seven people with whom the man had contact have been under a quarantine that ends Wednesday.

Cappelli said the patient had not taken mass transit or attended any social gatherings while he had symptoms.

— Anthony R. Wood

3:47 PM - March 10, 2020
3:47 PM - March 10, 2020

William Penn Charter to close Friday to plan for remote learning as coronavirus spreads

William Penn Charter School will close Friday so that staff can plan for remote learning, in the event the private school in East Falls has to close due to coronavirus, school leaders said.

Leaders said the closure would allow faculty and administrators to “accelerate” their remote learning plans. The school also announced the cancellation of upcoming trips for 10th and 11th graders, a spring break band trip to New Orleans, and overnight trips for the lacrosse teams, as well as the postponement of junior prom, which had been scheduled for Saturday.

“Given the uncertain nature of the virus, we do not want to put our students at risk or our chaperones in an uncomfortable position should they find themselves in the midst of a localized outbreak,” Darryl J. Ford, head of school, and Beth Glascott, assistant head of school, said in a letter to parents. “Nor do we want to have children in a location that might make it difficult for their families to retrieve them.”

— Maddie Hanna

3:41 PM - March 10, 2020
3:41 PM - March 10, 2020

Coronavirus ‘remains a rapidly evolving situation here in Montgomery County’

Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, Chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, center, takes questions from the media about coronavirus on Tuesday.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, Chair, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, center, takes questions from the media about coronavirus on Tuesday.

Since Monday, there are three new presumptive positive coronavirus cases in Montgomery County, Valerie Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said at a news conference.

Those cases include an 18-year-old who attends Germantown Academy and lives in the same household as a previously identified presumptive positive coronavirus case in Lower Gwynedd. She has mild symptoms, is not hospitalized, and is in isolation at home.

The second case is a 62-year-old adult who resides in the same Upper Merion household as another presumptive positive coronavirus case. She is hospitalized in isolation at the University of Pennsylvania.

The third case is a 70-year-old from Cheltenham Township who is hospitalized in Philadelphia. Contact tracing is not fully complete for her, meaning officials have not yet determined how the woman became infected with coronavirus. If officials are not able to pinpoint how she got the virus, it would represent Montgomery County’s first instance of community spread.

“This remains a rapidly evolving situation here in Montgomery County,” Arkoosh said.

The department is actively monitoring the residents CHOP said were exposed to the cardiologist who tested positive for coronavirus, Arkoosh said.

The spread of coronavirus in Montgomery County has led Arkoosh to recommend people “seriously consider cancelling or postponing large gatherings of people.”

County operations are continuing as planned, but Arkoosh said they are cancelling or hosting virtually board meetings, large meetings, events, and trainings. They are canceling attendance or requiring virtual attendance at conferences and workshops.

“We do not want to experience the type of spread that you’ve seen in Italy or Washington state or other parts of the world,” Arkoosh said. “We must all begin to put the greater good of our community ahead of our personal convenience.”

— Ellie Silverman, Allison Steele

3:19 PM - March 10, 2020
3:19 PM - March 10, 2020

Philly warns against large gatherings after coronavirus reported in city

After the first presumed case of coronavirus was reported in the city Tuesday, the Philadelphia Health Department is now recommending that city residents — especially those who are elderly or have chronic health conditions — consider not attending public gatherings with more than 5,000 expected attendees.

Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health Thomas Farley said the city could not release further details about the person who tested positive, other than saying the person is at home receiving treatment and that the person was exposed to another person officials presume has the coronavirus.

But he also said there is at least one person in the metropolitan area who did not have a known exposure to a person with the virus, meaning the “virus is circulating in Philadelphia now.”

“We expected this,” he said, “but this does mean that the pandemic has now arrived to the city of Philadelphia.”

Farley said the patient in Philadelphia exposed others to the virus and the city is working to contact and quarantine those individuals.

City managing director Brian Abernathy said the city reached out to organizers of this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and asked them to urge people to not attend in person and instead watch the parade on television.

Farley said the city has the authority to cancel large-scale events in the city, but doesn’t believe that is appropriate at this time. He also said the city is monitoring how the recommendation plays out, saying “if this gets worse, then we may be changing those recommendations and lowering the threshold for the size of those events.”

Farley said city officials are not recommending schools and universities close at this time, but Abernathy said the city is asking private employers to relax sick leave policies.

— Anna Orso, Laura McCrystal

3:06 PM - March 10, 2020
3:06 PM - March 10, 2020

West Chester, Rutgers cancel face-to-face classes, move schooling online

West Chester University, the largest school in Pennsylvania’s state system, has canceled all in-person classes for the rest of the semester, the first local university to take such a sweeping step.

The school will begin to offer those classes through “alternate modes of instruction” beginning March 30 and running through the rest of the semester. Faculty will prepare the courses over the next two weeks, the university announced.

The university, which enrolls more than 17,000 students, does not have a coronavirus case, the school said in a statement, but is taking the step “out of an abundance of concern for the continued good health of our community.”

The university’s residence halls and South Campus apartments will not be open; students will be contacted about coming to collect their items, the university said.“

In addition, large public events and public gatherings will be canceled, including West Chester University’s 37th Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala,” the school said.

On Tuesday, Rutgers University also announced it will cancel classes through Thursday, March 12, through the end of its spring break on March 22. Beginning March 23, the school will offer all classes online through April 3.

— Susan Snyder

2:46 PM - March 10, 2020
2:46 PM - March 10, 2020

Pennsylvania AG announces protections against coronavirus price-gouging

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced steps to protect residents from stores that he said are jacking up the prices of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and other antibacterial products amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Shapiro, in a press conference Tuesday, said his office has received 50 complaints from residents who have emailed his office to report instances of price gouging. He said his office is preparing subpoenas to order the stores, which he described as online and brick and mortar of both small stores and big-box chains, to cease and desist or face charges. Companies are barred from selling goods that are priced 20% higher than they were seven days before March 6, when Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf declared a disaster.

Residents should also beware of phishing schemes being sent through email and circling social media. The emails may claim to be a government agency or health official with information about the coronavirus in your area, but when you click any of the links, malicious software could be downloaded giving cybercriminals access to your personal data.

Shapiro urged residents to report any instances of price gouging by emailing pricegouging@attorneygeneral.gov.

— Ellie Rushing

2:22 PM - March 10, 2020
2:22 PM - March 10, 2020

Walmart institutes emergency leave policy for 1.4 million employees

A Walmart in Texas.
Cedar Attanasio / AP
A Walmart in Texas.

Walmart has instituted a new emergency-leave policy for its 1.4 million employee, after a worker in a Kentucky location tested positive for coronavirus.

According to a memo obtained by CNBC, Walmart and Sam’s Club workers — both full- and part-time — are entitled to receive up to two weeks pay if they are forced into quarantine by either the government or the company. Employees who test positive for coronavirus will also receive up to two weeks pay as part of the policy.

“We are looking to provide some additional support so they can better weather these times,” Walmart senior vice president of U.S. benefits Adam Stavisky told the Associated Press.

Between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there are 231 Walmart and Sam’s Clubs locations, which employ more than 75,000 workers combined, according to the company.

— Rob Tornoe

2:19 PM - March 10, 2020
2:19 PM - March 10, 2020

Phoenixville schools will close to plan for online learning

As area schools contemplate the prospect of coronavirus closures, Phoenixville Area School District will be closing on Monday to plan for online learning.

Superintendent Alan Fegley told parents in a letter Tuesday that while there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus within the Chester County district, “we realize this could change at any time.” The district will “proactively” close schools Monday for a full day of training for staff to develop “online instruction and other alternate methods of instruction delivery,” Fegley said.

He said custodians are performing a “deep cleaning” of schools each evening, among other measures.

— Maddie Hanna

1:58 PM - March 10, 2020
1:58 PM - March 10, 2020

Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival postponed amid coronavirus spread

Organizers for the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival have postponed the annual event by about five months due to concerns about the coronavirus.

The festival was initially scheduled for April 1 to 5, but will now take place Sept. 23 to 27 at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Tickets and passes purchased for the original dates will be honored during the rescheduled run.Organizers called the festival’s postponement the “wisest course of action.” However, a release noted that a preview screening of the film Fantastic Fungi — a documentary about the benefits of mushrooms — is currently still scheduled to take place on March 26.

— Nick Vadala

1:31 PM - March 10, 2020
1:31 PM - March 10, 2020

Friends’ Central School to close for rest of week, offer remote learning

The Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood will close Wednesday through Friday as concerns over the spread of coronavirus persist, Head of School Craig N. Sellers announced Tuesday.

On Friday, the school will launch “Virtual Friends’ Central,” a remote learning option, to students.

“I ask that you prepare for the possibility of ‘Virtual Friends’ Central’ continuing beyond this week,” Sellers wrote. “Though we don’t believe we need to close at this time, we recognize that this could change very quickly, making longer-term remote learning for some or all of our community a scenario that seems increasingly likely.”

— Oona Goodin-Smith

1:06 PM - March 10, 2020
1:06 PM - March 10, 2020

Philadelphia reports first confirmed case of coronavirus

Philadelphia has its first confirmed case of coronavirus, officials said Tuesday afternoon in a news release.

The Health Department and other city officials said they plan to share more information at a 3 p.m. news conference.

No details about the case were immediately available.

— Laura McCrystal

12:44 PM - March 10, 2020
12:44 PM - March 10, 2020

New Jersey reports first coronavirus death

A 69-year-old New Jersey man from Bergen County has died due to coronavirus, becoming the first death in the state as result of the disease, Lt. Gov Sheila Oliver said Tuesday at a press briefing.

In addition to the man who has died, three more people — including two in Burlington County — have tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus in New Jersey, bringing the state total to 15, according to state health commissioner Judith Persichilli. The other newly reported case was also from Bergen County.

There is no other information about the new patients at this time, officials said.

The man who died had a “history of working in New York” and traveling back and forth to the state, Persichilli said.

He also had a history of hypertension, diabetes, abnormal heart rhythm, and emphysema. He was admitted to a hospital Friday and died of cardiac arrest Tuesday morning.

“We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can — across all levels of government — to protect the people of New Jersey," Murphy said.

— Pranshu Verma

12:39 PM - March 10, 2020
12:39 PM - March 10, 2020

Coronavirus means nursing homes and assisted-living facilities should restrict visitors, providers group says

Now is not the time to visit Grandma if she lives in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, an organization that represents senior health providers said Tuesday.

Faced with a potentially “shocking” death rate from the new coronavirus, the group recommended that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities allow visitors only for “critical or time-sensitive reasons such as hospice-related visits, complete medical authorizations, etc.” It added that “routine social visits are strongly discouraged.”

— Stacey Burling

12:39 PM - March 10, 2020
12:39 PM - March 10, 2020

Pa. Dept. of Health says ‘no known cases of community spread’ of coronavirus

While Pennsylvania has 11 presumptive positive cases of the new coronavirus and even more people who came into contact with those patients under quarantine, state public health officials said Tuesday that residents who haven’t been contacted by officials should continue to go about their daily lives.

State Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said there are “no known cases of community spread,” meaning officials have identified where each case of the new coronavirus has stemmed from, be it international travel or close contact with another person who tested positive.

Levine said the state could take “more significant” mitigation steps like advising additional school closures or event cancellation if community spread — cases of the virus that can’t be traced — is detected. “But we’re not there,” she said.

— Anna Orso

12:29 PM - March 10, 2020
12:29 PM - March 10, 2020

Kenney on canceling Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day parade: ‘I don’t see that happening'

There has been no discussion of canceling Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day parade as coronavirus cases grow in surrounding counties and the region braces for the economic impact of the virus, Mayor Jim Kenney said Tuesday.

“I don’t see that happening,” he said of the parade, scheduled for Sunday. “If we had a major outbreak and we had 100 new cases in Philadelphia today or tomorrow, yeah, but that hasn’t happened and I won’t speculate that it’s going to happen.”

Speaking to reporters after attending an event in City Hall for the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, Kenney acknowledged that Philadelphia has already faced an economic impact due to coronavirus, with the cancellation of planned conferences.

“It’s going to hurt,” he said. “Hopefully it’s not going to be that debilitating.”

Kenney said his approach to the spread of coronavirus is to “wait and see how it goes day by day.”He said he would not rule out having city employees work from home if necessary, but has not yet planned for that.

While schools are canceled in the surrounding region Tuesday, Kenney said it’s his understanding that shutting down facilities for cleaning is mostly for peace of mind.

“We know what we know and we’ll adjust as things get worse or better,” he said.

— Laura McCrystal

12:20 PM - March 10, 2020
12:20 PM - March 10, 2020

2 Princeton staffers are under self-quarantine

Two Princeton University staff members may have been exposed to the coronavirus at an off-campus gathering and are under self-quarantine, the university announced Tuesday.

“These staff members are being tested and we expect results in the coming days,” a statement from the university said. Princeton and local health authorities are identifying and contacting those who may have been in contact with the staff members, the school said.

The university on Monday announced that it would hold classes online after spring break, which starts next week. The online classes would run at least through April 5. Students were encouraged not to return to campus after spring break.

— Susan Snyder

12:17 PM - March 10, 2020
12:17 PM - March 10, 2020

Rutgers dance marathon canceled

Out of concern about the coronavirus, Rutgers University has canceled its student dance marathon that raises money for children with cancer and other serious illnesses.

It was scheduled for early April.

“While we will no longer be able to gather together … to celebrate this wonderful community of Rutgers students, patient families, and faithful supporters, we remain committed to continuing our fundraising efforts to ensure that we can make a generous donation to benefit our Embrace Kids Foundation families,” the group, Rutgers Dance Marathon, posted on its Facebook page.

The group is inviting dancers and other participants to submit photos and video from their favorite events, which will be included in “a special production that we will be hosting online as part of our modified celebration.” Pennsylvania State University’s dance marathon, THON, was held last month and raised nearly $11.7 million for pediatric cancer research and patient support.

— Susan Snyder

12:10 PM - March 10, 2020
12:10 PM - March 10, 2020

Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is still on ... for now

Mary Aguilar and her husband, J.R., both of Northeast Philadelphia, cheer during last year's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
MARGO REED / Staff Photographer
Mary Aguilar and her husband, J.R., both of Northeast Philadelphia, cheer during last year's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade will go on as planned on Sunday, even as festivities in Boston and Dublin have been canceled amid coronavirus fears. “The parade is still on and not cancelled !!!!” the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association posted on its website.

Michael J. Bradley, the longtime former director of the parade and this year’s grand marshal, said the organizers would rely in the judgment of city government and health officials on whether to postpone the parade.

“They’re the professionals, we’re not the professionals,” he said. “We’ll support any decision they make.”

As for those planning to attend, he said, “We urge everyone to take the precautions that everyone is telling them to.”

—Joseph A. Gambardello

12:01 PM - March 10, 2020
12:01 PM - March 10, 2020

Ivy League cancels basketball tournaments

The Ivy League announced Tuesday it is taking the extraordinary step of cancelling its men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments, scheduled for this weekend at Harvard, due to coronavirus concerns.

“With the health of students as well as the campus and the general community in mind,” the Ivy League said in a statement about the decision to cancel. “The decision has been made in accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals to discourage and limit large gatherings on campuses in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.”

The league announced men’s regular-season champion Yale and women’s champion Princeton will represent the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament.

So Penn’s men’s and women’s teams, which had qualified for the four-team playoff, are out of NCAA consideration.

— Mike Jensen

11:47 AM - March 10, 2020
11:47 AM - March 10, 2020

Stocks climb, tentatively, following worst day since 2008

U.S. stocks, oil and other financial markets around the world clawed back some of their historic plunge from a day before amid hopes that the U.S. and other governments around the world will pump in more aid for a virus-weakened global economy.

Investors welcomed Tuesday’s reprieve but weren’t pretending that this is the end to the market’s huge swings, which took the S&P 500 on Monday to its worst day since the 2008 financial crisis. Even Tuesday's big morning gains were tentative: After spurting to a gain of 3.7%, the S&P 500 quickly gave up more than half of it.

Dizzying swings have been relentless in markets the last few weeks. Stocks had a couple days last week where they rose more than 4%, only for the bottom to give out again.

— Associated Press

11:35 AM - March 10, 2020
11:35 AM - March 10, 2020

Paid sick days in the time of coronavirus: What Philadelphia workers need to know

People march down Market Street towards Philadelphia City Hall for a press conference in Philadelphia, Pa. on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. The Coalition to Respect Every Worker (CREW) marched in support of stronger labor enforcement in city government.
Monica Herndon / File Photograph
People march down Market Street towards Philadelphia City Hall for a press conference in Philadelphia, Pa. on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. The Coalition to Respect Every Worker (CREW) marched in support of stronger labor enforcement in city government.

Officials have said that the spread of coronavirus is inevitable and that the best way to keep the disease under control is to stay home if you’re sick. That’s why it’s a good time to figure out what your employer’s paid sick leave policy is — and maybe even ask for a stronger one, experts say.

From who is covered for sick leave, to your legal rights when it comes to staying home sick, here’s what you need to know.

— Juliana Reyes, Cynthia Fernandez

11:17 AM - March 10, 2020
11:17 AM - March 10, 2020

No changes yet to NCAA tournament

The NCAA logo is on the court at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Keith Srakocic / AP
The NCAA logo is on the court at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

As of now, the NCAA basketball tournament will go forward as planned, with fans in the stands, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus and WarnerMedia News & Sports Chairman Jeff Zucker say.

“Like everyone else, we have no idea where this is going over the next three or four weeks,” broadcaster Jim Nantz said of the spread of coronavirus. “We’ll adapt with whatever the NCAA does with the tournament.”

McManus and Zucker said it is ultimately the NCAA’s decision whether the tournament’s 67 games are played in front of packed arenas. But both said their broadcast plans wouldn’t change much regardless what the NCAA decides.

“Obviously, it would be a different atmosphere and we wouldn’t be able to focus on the excitement of the fans,” McManus said on the possibility of games being played in empty arenas.

The 2020 NCAA Tournament is scheduled to tip-off Tuesday, March 17.

— Rob Tornoe

11:10 AM - March 10, 2020
11:10 AM - March 10, 2020

Community College of Philadelphia postpones, cancels events through end of March

Community College of Philadelphia has postponed or canceled all events and activities on its campuses through the end of the month, though classes are remaining in session. All student club meetings also have been canceled for the month, as have study abroad trips for the rest of the academic year. The athletic center also is closed.

“It is possible that events scheduled later in spring may also experience schedule changes, and we will keep you updated as necessary,” the college said on its website.

At Camden County College, several campus events hosted by others have been changed or postponed, said spokesman Ron Tomasello. That includes a county health department training program for first responders on the virus, which now will be held virtually instead of on campus, he said. And a teen arts festival will be judged online.

Community college officials at several schools said they have asked faculty to prepare to move their courses online if necessary and have ramped up cleaning on their campuses.

“We’re taking precautions like everyone else,” said Greg Volpe, a spokesperson at Rowan College at Burlington County.

— Susan Snyder

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

Germantown Academy student tests positive for coronavirus

TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

A Germantown Academy student has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the leader of the school, which has already closed over coronavirus concerns.

The student, who has a family member who previously tested positive, is a member of the Upper School and remains in self quarantine, according to Head of School Rich Schellhas. The Fort Washington school announced on Sunday that it would close for most of March after the student’s family member, a Montgomery County resident, tested positive for coronavirus.

In a letter to the private school’s community, Schellhas said that three Upper School students who visited the student’s house last week were also in self quarantine for at least two weeks. They do not have symptoms and will not be tested unless symptoms develop, Schellhas said.

He said the student who tested positive “does not have any siblings at the school, does not currently participate in physical education or athletics, and does not use the bus system for commuting to school.”

The school will begin virtual classes on Thursday, as cleaning of buildings continues.

— Maddie Hanna

9:35 AM - March 10, 2020
9:35 AM - March 10, 2020

University of Pennsylvania bans travel and gatherings, contemplates online class as coronavirus spreads

The University of Pennsylvania campus.
File Photograph
The University of Pennsylvania campus.

As coronavirus continues to spread in the Philadelphia region, the University of Pennsylvania has banned all university-related travel and events with more than 100 people until at least April 17.

Admissions previously canceled all on-campus admitted student programs for April, offering virtual options instead. Penn Medicine has also prohibited all students, staff, and faculty from participating in large gatherings and conferences.

In a statement, the university’s administration said it is also preparing to move its classes online “in order to prepare for all possible scenarios.”

On Tuesday morning, Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow announced the college will move all classes online, asking students not to return to from spring break, The Harvard Crimson reported.

— Oona Goodin-Smith

8:52 AM - March 10, 2020
8:52 AM - March 10, 2020

So you think you have the new coronavirus. What should you do now?

If you’re worried that you might have the new coronavirus, think before you go rushing to an emergency department. If you really do have the new disease, called COVID-19, you don’t want to expose fellow patients, who may already be weakened by heart and lung problems. Call the emergency department or your doctor, area health experts said, and ask for advice.

So what should you do if you have symptoms of coronavirus? Should you get tested? How do you treat coronavirus at home?

Here are more answers to questions you may have.

— Stacey Burling

8:43 AM - March 10, 2020
8:43 AM - March 10, 2020

American Airlines cuts international, domestic flights amid coronavirus spread

American Airlines, responsible for about 70% of the traffic at Philadelphia International Airport, is slashing both international and domestic flights as coronavirus spreads, CNBC reported.

The airline, which serves 600,000 passengers a day worldwide, will cut 10% off its summer international flying — including a 55% cut to trans-Pacific flights, according to CNBC.

Per its website, the American Airlines is also suspending flights from Philadelphia to Rome, effective immediately through the end of April.

JetBlue and United made similar cuts last week.

— Oona Goodin-Smith, Catherine Dunn

8:37 AM - March 10, 2020
8:37 AM - March 10, 2020

White House to discuss possible economic relief amid coronavirus fallout

President Donald Trump said Monday that the White House will discuss a possible economic relief package for the coronavirus fallout, saying that he will ask Congress to approve a payroll relief for hourly workers.

Small business loans are also among the options being discussed as part of the stimulus package, he said.

Trump said Monday the administration is working with airlines, hotel and cruise industries, which have been pummeled as the outbreak has spread.

— Oona Goodin-Smith

8:15 AM - March 10, 2020
8:15 AM - March 10, 2020

Philadelphia conventions are being canceled amid coronavirus spread, which could have a big economic impact

People talk to employers during the Hire Hahnemann job fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
People talk to employers during the Hire Hahnemann job fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Concerns related to the spread of the new coronavirus have organizations canceling conferences and major events across the country, including here in Philadelphia, which has one of the nation’s most robust convention circuits, leaving tourism officials, hotels and workers scrambling to manage the fallout of losing thousands of visitors and tens of millions of dollars in local economic impact.

At least two major conferences in Philadelphia expected to draw a combined 21,000 people to the city have been canceled, as have several smaller meetings. Other organizers say they are closely monitoring the situation.

Business conferences and conventions are a major economic driver in Philadelphia, which a top destination for such gatherings. The industry pads revenues at hotels, restaurants, and tourist destinations across the city, particularly in the beginning of the year when tourism for leisure’s sake is at its lowest. Loss of that revenue could threaten the livelihoods of more than 70,000 hospitality workers in the city.

— Anna Orso

8:07 AM - March 10, 2020
8:07 AM - March 10, 2020

Trump orders immigration courts to remove coronavirus prevention posters

The Trump administration has ordered staff at immigration courts nationwide to remove posters from courtrooms and waiting areas explaining how to prevent the spread of coronavirus in English and Spanish, the Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

“This is just a reminder that immigration judges do not have the authority to post, or ask you to post, signage for their individual courtrooms or the waiting areas,” the email said.

— Oona Goodin-Smith

7:30 AM - March 10, 2020
7:30 AM - March 10, 2020

New coronavirus cases in Pa. and New Jersey lead to school closures for more than 30,000 students

The impact of coronavirus on the Philadelphia region intensified Monday as new cases emerged, tens of thousands of students and staff were told to stay home from dozens of area schools, and universities, businesses, and trade groups canceled or postponed events and classes.

Ten presumed positive coronavirus cases have been identified in Pennsylvania, while 11 have been identified in New Jersey. Seven of Pennsylvania’s diagnosed patients are in Montgomery County, where a growing list of schools announced they would be closed for deep cleaning, had canceled field trips, and began making preparations for remote teaching.

Two school districts announced closures because students, parents or staff of the schools may have been exposed to the sick doctor during visits to CHOP.

The districts and schools closed Tuesday include:

  • Lower Merion School District
  • Upper Merion School District
  • Norristown Area School District
  • Cheltenham School District - Closed through Friday
  • Simmons Elementary
  • Neshaminy High
  • Henderson High
  • Buckingham Friends School
  • Unionville High School
  • Patton Middle School
  • Germantown Academy - Closed through March 29

The Haddonfield School District also announced plans to close on March 16 so that staff could attend a daylong planning session on online classes.

— Justine McDaniel, Maddie Hanna