Updated at 4:25 p.m.
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On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 92,148 coronavirus cases since the coronavirus pandemic began, and 6,812 deaths.
Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health has reported 27,069 cases and 1,625 deaths as of Wednesday.
Delaware among 18 states in travel advisory
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has updated its recently issued travel guidance, advising Philadelphians to avoid travel to 18 states where incidents of COVID-19 are relatively high based on population size.
Anyone traveling into Philadelphia from those states, which include its neighbor Delaware, are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor their symptoms. Those who can’t quarantine must wear a mask at all times.
New Jersey, New York and Connecticut also added Delaware to its travel advisory this week. Delaware has more than 12,000 cases and has recently seen about 105 cases per day on average.
States included in the “high risk” list have a rate of 90 cases per 100,000 residents.
Most of the states in the list are in the south, including Florida and Texas, and in the west, including Arizona and California — all states where cases of COVID-19 have soared. Florida, Texas and California have some of the highest numbers of cases in the U.S., well over 200,000 per state.
Paycheck Protection Program application extended
Philadelphia officials are informing city business owners that the deadline to apply to the federal Paycheck Protection Program has been extended to August 8.
Businesses in need of a PPP loan must submit applications to a local lender. Several changes to the process have made it more convenient to seek relief, including allowing borrowers up to 24 weeks to use their funding, permitting businesses to use up to 40% of the funds on non-payroll expenses (but limited to utilities and mortgage interest,) and allowing businesses up to five years to repay the loan.
Additional information on federal relief programs can be found on the Small Business Administration’s website.
Wear masks, political leaders urge
Pennsylvania’s political leaders are urging their constituents to wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. State Health Secretary Rachel Levine signed an order July 1 mandating mask-wearing.
“As we increasingly resume public activities in our commonwealth, we need to remain vigilant about taking precautions, especially wearing a mask that covers our noses and mouths while around other people,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “This is an easy, yet important action that has been shown by research to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey touted research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows wearing a mask reduces the chances of the novel coronavirus getting into the air.
“When you wear a mask, you are sending a clear message to others in your community that you care about them and their well-being as much as your own. I know that if we each do our part, we will beat this virus and be able to start safely rebuilding together,” Casey said in a statement.
Toomey said he’s been a proponent of mask-wearing throughout the pandemic.
“As the commonwealth continues to re-open, mask-wearing has taken on increased significance, as studies continue to affirm that masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Put simply, wearing a mask is an important step that we, as Pennsylvanians, can take to protect one another. My mask protects you, and your mask protects me,” he said in a statement.
State Sen. Pam Lovino and State Rep. Melissa Shusterman said wearing masks is key to reopening the economy.
“As our state moves back to the green phase, it is the most important step we can take to preserve the progress we’ve made as a state through this crisis. As Pennsylvanians, we all need to participate in wearing masks to care for our neighbors, and so that our economy and state can continue to make a strong recovery,” Shusterman said in a statement.
Pa. issues PSA on how to ride-share safely
Pennsylvania health officials are advising residents on how to use Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state released a public service announcement on social media Wednesday asking riders to wear a mask and to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces.
If possible, the state advises, riders should use touchless payment options. Avoid rideshares that include other customers, sit in the back seat, and ask the driver to open the window for ventilation, the PSA recommends.
Assistance available for Montgomery County residents financially affected by COVID-19
Montgomery County Health and Human Services has partnered with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to offer a rent relief program for low- and moderate-income earners during the coronavirus pandemic.
Payments up to $750 a month are available to those who qualify for a maximum of six months between March and December. Applicants must be Montgomery County residents who have lost more than 30% of their income or have become unemployed after March 1.
Applications will be accepted until September 30.
Applicants can visit www.montcopa.org/hss and click on the RRP logo at top of page or call 610-278-3929.
Montco announces steps to tackle COVID-19
There have been 232 new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County since July 2, bringing the total to 8,626. There also have been four new deaths over that seven day period, bringing the total deaths to 804.
Montgomery County entered the state’s “green phase” on June 26. Montgomery County Health Commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh warned residents that reopening does not mean the county is in the clear.
She urged residents to wear a mask (which is now required in the state), to maintain social distancing, thoroughly wash hands and get tested for COVID-19.
“Green does not mean go back to what your life was before the pandemic. Green means carefully and cautiously moving forward to our new normal, living with this virus for the foreseeable future,” Arkoosh said. “Our goals are clear, we want to make sure our schools will be able to open this fall, we want to support our local businesses that have opened responsibly, we want to keep the amount of virus circulating in our community as low as possible. This protects all of us, as well as our hospitals and first responders.”
Montgomery County has not yet seen an outbreak of the virus related to restaurants or bars. However, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in restaurants and bars, the county is strictly enforcing safety standards at these venues.
Montgomery County officials say they have a process to quickly shut down restaurants and bars after a second incident of non-compliance.
The county is asking customers to anonymously report restaurants and bars that aren’t complying to COVID19@montcopa.org.
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