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Coronavirus Primer

This curated collection of articles is intended to help readers of The Post better understand issues involved in the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Click on any headline to read a story at its source.

June 5, 2020

Coronavirus testing available for more Montgomery County residents
Montgomery County officials announced Wednesday that the county has enough supplies on hand to allow anyone who wants to be tested for coronavirus to do so at its three community-based sites. (Phoenix, Reporter and Item)

Wolf will announce more counties can enter ‘green’ phase
Gov. Tom Wolf will announce Friday that more counties will be allowed to enter the “green,” and least-restrictive, phase of his pandemic reopening plan, his office said. (Associated Press)

June 4, 2020

Officials: Schools can reopen in-person teaching on July 1
Elementary and secondary schools inside Pennsylvania’s less restrictive reopening zones can resume teaching in person and other activities at the end of June, the Education Department said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

Pa. fitness clubs band together to ask Wolf to include them in ‘yellow’ reopening phase
Fitness clubs from across Pennsylvania are banding together in a concerted effort to convince Gov. Wolf to include them in the “yellow phase” of the state’s reopening process. (KYW Newsradio)

Pa. House committee hearing presents dire picture for state tourism industry
The effect of the coronavirus on the hotel industry could be nine times worse than the losses incurred in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, a state House committee heard Wednesday. (PA Post)

75 new virus deaths reported in Pennsylvania, cases pass 73K
The coronavirus has infected another 511 people to surpass 73,000 total cases in Pennsylvania, and another 75 people have died from it, the state Health Department said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

June 1, 2020

‘No question’: Wolf says Pennsylvania schools will reopen in the fall
Gov. Tom Wolf says he’s confident Pennsylvania students will return to their schools this fall. “No question,” Wolf said during a news conference, although he conceded “schools will look different.” (PA Post)

Governor to lift more pandemic restrictions in Pennsylvania
Gov. Tom Wolf will lift most of his pandemic restrictions in an additional 16 counties including much of the Pittsburgh area, his office said, as Philadelphia also began mapping its way out of the crisis. (Associated Press)

May 31, 2020

Montgomery County ‘pandemic primary’ presents challenges
It’s been dubbed the “pandemic primary” by Montgomery County officials. The road to Tuesday’s primary election include nervous poll workers, consolidated polling places, a vote-by-mail surge, mail-in ballot snafus and political sparring. (Phoenix, Reporter, and Item)

May 29, 2020

Expert: Older teacher population could impact how school is structured in the fall
The National Center for Education Statistics reports 30% of K-12 teachers in the U.S. are 65 or older. Their welfare is going to have a big impact on how schools are structured in the fall. (KYW Newsradio)

Montco commissioner says they’re seeing rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations
Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh said they’re seeing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations. (KYW Newsradio)

Pa. legislature sends $26 billion short-term budget to Gov. Tom Wolf
The Pennsylvania legislature has sent a short-term budget with no tax increases to Gov. Tom Wolf, an unusual measure made necessary by the strain put on the state’s finances by the coronavirus. (PA Post)

Flood of mail-in ballots spurs fight to change deadlines
County and state officials warn that a flood of mailed-in ballots in PA — fueled by fears of in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic — will create problems in Tuesday’s primary election. (Associated Press)

Pro sports can resume in Pennsylvania, without spectators
Professional sports can resume in Pennsylvania where the governor’s stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus is no longer in force, but without spectators, the state said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

May 27, 2020

County prepares to reopen courts with coronavirus precautions
Montgomery County Court officials said the number one priority is safety when modified operations resume at the courthouse and other court-related facilities on June 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Phoenix, Item and Reporter)

Pennsylvania preps short-term budget amid virus uncertainty
Pennsylvania state government began advancing a temporary, no-new-taxes budget plan Tuesday that maintains current spending levels while budget makers watch to see how badly coronavirus-related shutdowns damage tax collections. (Associated Press)

Police, regulators target businesses flouting Wolf shutdown
Police and state regulators are cracking down on a handful of Pennsylvania businesses that are supposed to remain shut down during the pandemic but have instead thrown open their doors. (Associated Press)

May 26, 2020

Charitable runs, walks learn to adapt to crowd limits
The coronavirus pandemic has forced charities and nonprofit groups to cancel or postpone an untold number of walks and runs that raise money. They are proving, however, there’s room to evolve. (Associated Press)

With Memorial Day festivities canceled, veterans’ groups try to uphold traditions
Veterans’ groups across Pennsylvania canceled or postponed Memorial Day events this year to comply with local guidelines during the pandemic. But they’re also finding ways to uphold their traditions. (PA Post)

Adjunct professors, the ‘gig workers’ of higher-ed, fear losing livelihoods
Dire college enrollment predictions are circulating, and fewer students mean fewer classes. Fewer classes also likely means fewer adjunct professors, described as the “gig workers” of academia. (PA Post)

Will ‘pandemic insurance’ become a business norm after COVID-19?
Nobody was interested in so-called “pandemic insurance” prior to 2020. Will coronavirus lead it to become the new norm?, because insurance claims related to COVID-19 closures are likely to be denied. (Reading Eagle)

May 25, 2020

Colleges had to adapt to virtual final exams. What they learned could shape the future on campuses.
Moving final exams online, while maintaining their integrity and yet not putting undue pressure on students, was just the latest historical first for the nation’s colleges.(The Inquirer)

State: $93K sought from nursing homes amid inspections
State health officials say civil penalties totaling more than $93,000 have been assessed against nursing care facilities in PA amid hundreds of complaint investigations during the pandemic. (Associated Press)

May 22, 2020

Knoll furniture maker to cut 275 jobs
Knoll Inc., the East Greenville furniture designer and manufacturer, is cutting about 275 employees as part of its restructuring due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Wednesday. (WFMZ-TV)

Governor eyes lifting many more pandemic restrictions
Some PA counties could see practically all state pandemic restrictions on business activity and gatherings lifted in the coming days, other than social-distancing and health-monitoring guidelines. (Associated Press)

Some Pa. Republicans want to legalize marijuana after coronavirus blew a hole in the budget
Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania are coming around — if slowly — to the idea of legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use. (The Inquirer)

Nursing home testing a massive challenge for Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania must massively boost testing efforts to meet Gov. Tom Wolf’s goal of administering a weekly coronavirus test to more than 100,000 people in long-term care facilities. Health officials are scrambling. (Associated Press)

Masks, plexiglass, hand sanitizer may become new normal at casinos
Pennsylvania casinos will have a different vibe once Gov. Tom Wolf gives them the green light to reopen. Its state Gaming Control Board outlined the health protocols casinos will need to undertake. (Philly Voice)

May 21, 2020

Food pantry at Pottstown church gives out groceries to those in need
Folks who lacked all the fixin’s for a Memorial Day picnic got a special treat Wednesday in Pottstown. The food pantry at Bethel Community Church packed bags of groceries to give out to those who need them. (WFMZ-TV)

County official: ‘Still very real risk of virus transmission’
Montgomery County officials reported a dozen more deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday and reminded residents that there’s “still very real risk of virus transmission” in the community. (Phoenix, Item and Reporter)

Pennsylvania working to pave the return of sporting events
Pennsylvania is working on guidelines to allow sporting events, exhibitions and leagues, both professional and amateur, to get back to “some semblance of normalcy,” Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

‘Desperate’ Pa. child care industry to receive $51 million lifeline
Pennsylvania officials are beginning to distribute $51 million of federal stimulus funding to the state’s child care providers, a lifeline to an industry crucial to reopening the economy. (PA Post)

In Philadelphia region, COVID-19 hit smaller nursing homes hardest
Among facilities in the five-county Philadelphia region with five or more deaths, the average infection rate was 44%, meaning nearly half of all residents tested positive for the virus. (PA Post)

May 20, 2020

Positive trend of fewer deaths continues in Montgomery County
Montgomery County officials reported seven more deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday and announced there is a new testing opportunity available in the Lansdale area. (Phoenix, Item and Reporter)

Drive-thru coronavirus testing site to open in Pottstown
A new, drive-thru coronavirus testing site is opening Thursday in Pottstown. Patient First will begin testing by appointment at its location on Shoemaker Road. (WFMZ-TV)

Rebate checks may arrive earlier for some Pennsylvania homeowners and renters
Pennsylvania homeowners and renters who are elderly or have disabilities may get a state rebate check earlier than expected, officials announced Tuesday. (PA Post)

Real estate business activity to resume across Pennsylvania
Real estate sales and related activity can resume across Pennsylvania if guidelines designed to limit infection are followed, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday. Masks or other facial coverings are a must. (Associated Press)

Wolf discourages Pennsylvania residents from holiday visits to beaches
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is discouraging residents from heading to the beach for the holiday weekend because of the to the coronavirus outbreak. His comments echoed those by Philadelphia officials. (Philly Voice)

May 19, 2020

Pa. extends benefits window for unemployment compensation
A program adding 13 weeks to the time PA residents can collect unemployment benefits launched over the weekend, allowing people whose benefits are running out soon to continue receiving them. (PA Post)

NASCAR’s Pocono races might be run without fans
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says NASCAR can hold its races at Pocono Raceway in late June if the coronavirus situation improves in the area, though the races might have to go off without fans. (Associated Press)

County commissioners clash at briefing over coronavirus protections
Montgomery County commissioners clashed when the Republican board member accused the Democratic chairwoman of taking a “cheap shot” in expressing concerns about a ceremony he attended without wearing a face mask. (The Phoenix, News, and Item)

PA enlists PEMA, National Guard to slow COVID-19 spread in long-term care facilities
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard are introducing mobile virus testing units in long-term care homes, to provide relief for staff as well as equipment training. (PA Post)

May 18, 2020

Pa. distributes more doses of COVID-19 treatment to hospitals
More than 9,000 doses of the experimental drug remdesivir are being distributed to hospitals across Pennsylvania to treat COVID-19 infections. (PA Post)

A Guide to Staying Fit during the Pandemic
The lockdown is, for many of us, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle. As we look toward a phased reopening over the coming months, developing new exercise routines is vital for our health and wellness. (Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation Blog)

Museum of the American Revolution offers online Memorial Day programming
The Museum of the American Revolution invites the public to pay tribute, virtually, to the men and women who lost their lives in service to our country on Memorial Day weekend. (KYW Newsradio)

Uber requiring drivers and riders to wear masks starting Monday
Uber will require all drivers and riders to wear masks starting Monday, as part of a series of measures to protect customers and employees from contracting the coronavirus. (The Inquirer)

May 16, 2020

Limerick supervisors hold in-person meeting, most members wear no masks
A May 12 supervisors’ meeting was held at the Ridge Pike township building, but despite Centers for Disease Control recommendations for public gatherings only one supervisor wore a mask. (The Mercury)

Community colleges expect to see increase in enrollment due to pandemic
Because of the pandemic, more students are expected to attend community college. But some of the reasons for the increase in community college enrollment aren’t as obvious as people might think. (KYW Newsradio)

Pandemic restrictions to ease in 12 Pennsylvania counties
Another 2.6 million people across western Pennsylvania began to emerge from pandemic restrictions Friday as Gov. Tom Wolf announced that 12 more counties soon will join them in a partial easing. (Associated Press)

May 15, 2020

Pa.’s largest nurses’ union accuses hospitals of misinforming state officials about protective equipment
The state’s largest nurses’ union says health-care workers don’t have essential face masks, access to testing, and other safety measures, even as hospitals push to restart elective procedures. (PA Post)

Pa. auditor general looking into Pennsylvania’s business waiver process during pandemic
Pennsylvania’s state auditor general is looking into complaints regarding the state’s waiver process that determines what essential businesses could stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. (KYW Newsradio)

Trump says he’ll replenish stockpile for future pandemics
President Donald Trump,during a Thursday visit to Allentown, says he intends to prepare for future pandemics by replenishing the national stockpile and bringing critical supplies manufacturers back to the U.S. (Associated Press)

May 14, 2020

Pennsburg votes to defy Wolf’s order, allowing businesses to reopen
Pennsburg Mayor Vickie Lightcap says the borough is working on an ordinance that “will allow our businesses to open under CDC guidelines and get back to some sort of normalcy up here in Pennsburg.” (KYW Newsradio)

Montco reports 14 more coronavirus deaths, 106 new positive cases
Montgomery County officials reported 14 more deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday and provided new statistics that showed many in middle and younger age brackets are testing positive for the virus. (The Phoenix, News, and Item)

Pennsylvania AG opens criminal probes into nursing homes
Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor has opened criminal investigations into several nursing homes amid a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 2,600 residents of nursing homes and other facilities. (Associated Press)

Area businesses say federal ‘Payroll Protection’ loans put them ‘at risk’
Southeastern PA business owners say federal Payroll Protection Program funds won’t cover their most urgent costs and the timeline for spending the money is unrealistic. (PA Post)

‘A pressure cooker’: Pa. governor aims to contain GOP revolt
The Democrat at the helm in one of the premier battlegrounds in November’s presidential election is struggling to fight a Republican revolt over his stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns. (Associated Press)

May 12, 2020

Montgomery County elections board votes to adopt ‘pandemic election plan’ for primary
Montgomery County’s elections board has voted to adopt its “pandemic election plan” for the primary, which significantly cuts the number of polling places in the county from 352 to 140. (KYW Newsradio)

Montgomery County commissioner tests positive for coronavirus
Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence said during a news briefing that he tested positive for coronavirus. Lawrence, who said he is asymptomatic, was tested in Pottstown Saturday. (WFMZ-TV)

Students expected to return to school in fall, ed chief says
The state education secretary told lawmakers Monday he expects students to go back to school in the fall. He anticipates providing guidance in coming weeks to prepare teachers and staff to return. (PA Post)

Wolf: ‘Cowardly’ counties ‘choosing to desert’ virus fight
Gov. Tom Wolf attacked local elected officials making plans to reopen in defiance of his shutdown orders as cowards deserting the pandemic battlefield. He threatened Monday to block aid to rebellious counties. (Associated Press)