PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in western Pennsylvania.
The health department says there is one case of coronavirus in Washington County. The case was confirmed at 5 p.m. Friday. There are now 41 cases in the state.
Washington Co. leaders say they did not know a resident tested positive until the health department’s announcement.
“All that we know right now is that an individual sought care with their physician. And when they did, they tested positive and the office sent the information to the Department of Health,” said Diana Irey Vaughan, the chair of the Washington County Commissioners.
It is not known if the person is in quarantine.
WATCH: KDKA’s Pam Surano Reports Live From Washington Co.
With knowledge of the coronavirus in Washington County, the Washington County Courthouse has limited court business to essential proceedings and filings. The entrances to the courts will be limited to legal counsel, necessary participants, and individuals with legitimate business needs.
They are asking the public to avoid the courthouse to make payments unless absolutely necessary and encouraging those that have the ability to make online payments.
Cases will proceed as currently scheduled and if they do make changes, they say the court will notify the parties involved.
Out of those 41 cases, 35 are presumptive positive — meaning they have been confirmed by the Pennsylvania health department but not the CDC — and six are confirmed positive.
The state department of health says 315 cases are under investigation, 145 are negative and 130 are pending.
Before Friday, all COVID-19 cases in the state had been reported in eastern Pennsylvania.
The announcement came the same day Gov. Tom Wolf shut down all K-12 schools in the state.
PA has 35 presumptive positive + 6 confirmed cases of #COVID19. Total = 41
Counties impacted to date:
• Bucks (3)
• Chester (1)
• Cumberland (3)
• Delaware (6)
• Monroe (3)
• Montgomery (18)
• Northampton (1)
• Philadelphia (3)
• Pike (1)
• Washington (1)
• Wayne (1) pic.twitter.com/rMn07lBiUB
— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) March 13, 2020
The governor is also asking people to maintain a six-foot distance between each other.
The governor is encouraging events with more than 250 attendees to be canceled or postponed.
He says he is also strongly discouraging people from going to “recreational activities” in public places like gyms, movie theaters and stores like retail shopping facilities.
Thirdly, he asks religious leaders to use their discretion to prevent the spread.
The state health department created a web page of information to educate the public about coronavirus. It lays out the symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, coughing, shortness of breath — and how coronavirus spreads — just like the cold or flu.
According to the state health department, the symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as two weeks after exposure. People with the illness report a range of little to no symptoms or being severely ill and dying.
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The state health department says the virus can spread through the air by coughing and sneezing or through close personal contact. It can also be contracted by touching something with the virus on it.
As far as prevention goes, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said it’s as simple as washing your hands, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and covering coughs and sneezes. She said the coronavirus is known to be more contagious and will lead to more deaths than the flu. If you’re sick, the state health department advises you to stay home until you feel better.
More information on the Coronavirus pandemic:
- CDC Coronavirus Information
- CDC Global Map of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
- Pennsylvania Department of Health Information
- Allegheny County Health Department Information
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.