PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The governor of Pennsylvania has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical locations as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to climb. The Pennsylvania Health Department announced there are now 196 COVID-19 cases in the state.
As of 8 p.m. Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf says all non-life-sustaining businesses must close their physical locations. Enforcement is being rolled out in phases through midnight Saturday.READ MORE: Philadelphia-Area Clinics Temporarily Close, Pivot After FDA, CDC Recommend Pausing Use Of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 Vaccine
Businesses who do not comply can be fined or have their licenses suspended.
The enhanced measures come after Wolf said not all businesses took his earlier directives seriously.
“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” Wolf said in a statement. “This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely.”
Food service establishments can offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service, including alcohol.
Wolf reported the first coronavirus death in the state on Wednesday — an adult in Northampton County.
Meanwhile, as the number of cases in Montgomery County climbed to 47, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, the chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, announced Thursday that a drive-thru testing site will open Saturday at Temple University’s Ambler campus in Upper Dublin Township.
In order to get tested, you have to exhibit symptoms, be a first responder or a health care worker who can’t be tested at work.
An appointment has to be made to get tested. Click here to register for a coronavirus testing in Montgomery County.
Also, coronavirus cases rose to 14 in Delaware County, 12 in Bucks County, 10 in Chester County and 44 in the City of Philadelphia. Bucks County officials say they are seeing indications of community spread.
All of the patients are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days and our first death in Pennsylvania indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”READ MORE: Duante Wright Shooting: Dozens March In Philadelphia In Protest Of Fatal Police Shooting
Levine says they can slow the virus “if we all stay home and limit interactions.”
— Jessica Kartalija (@JessKartalija) March 19, 2020
Over 1,600 people have tested negative for the virus.
Wolf said cases are increasing at an “exponential pace” and is pleading with residents to stay home.
“We need to stay home if we want to save lives,” Wolf said. “We need to work together if we want to save lives.”
Earlier this week, Wolf ordered a shutdown of all non-essential businesses amid the outbreak.
Wolf’s administration said it has created a waiver process for day care centers and group child care homes that serve families of health care workers and first responders.
Waiver requests will be processed as quickly as possible, the Department of Human Services said, although child care providers have complained about not hearing anything back from the agency.
Wolf ordered child care centers to close on Monday in an effort to help top the spread of the virus, with narrow exceptions for family child care homes and group child care homes operating inside a residence.
CBS3’s Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: Gregg Shore, Former Assistant Bucks County DA Demoted For Working For DoorDash On Clock, Resigns
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