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Daily local coronavirus briefing - April 20, 2020



Department of Health provides update on COVID-19, 948 positives bring statewide total to 33,232
The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of noon April 20, that there are 948 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 33,232. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. The department is continuing to work to increase the types of cases that are being added to our death case counts. Today, 92 new deaths are reported among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,204. Bucks County reported 1,619 cases and 75 deaths; Chester County 883 cases and 44 deaths; Delaware County 2,484 cases and 99 deaths; Lehigh County 2,245 cases and 33 deaths; Montgomery County 3,040 cases and 184 deaths; Northampton County 1,469 cases and 36 deaths; Philadelphia 9,038 cases and 262 deaths. READ MORE
New Jersey announces state COVID-19 cases at 85,301 with 4,202 deaths
The New Jersey Department of Health announced that as of April 20, there are 2,591 Mercer County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 122 people have died. Hunterdon County lists 497 cases and 18 deaths. The state of New Jersey has announced 85,301 cases and 4,202 deaths.  

Pennsylvanians encouraged to use electronic filing options for Pa. tax returns
The Department of Revenue is encouraging Pennsylvanians to take advantage of user-friendly electronic filing options for their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns (PA-40s). Even though the deadline for filing 2019 tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, filing now electronically is a good option, including for Pennsylvanians who are expecting a tax refund. READ MORE

Community Support

Operation: Thank You donates Wish Wraps to health care workers
Moved by the dedication of healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19, Karen Thompson, founder of Lace Silhouettes Lingerie (LSL Brands), wanted to express her appreciation and admiration for their determination and sacrifices by sending Wish Wraps to the front lines. “We care about our communities. We want them to know they are appreciated, and I hope the wrap gives them a reason to smile for a moment or two,” said Thompson. READ MORE

Make-A-Wish to host Virtual Giving Week
Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley faces a record number of wishes waiting due to COVID-19. As more than 80% of wishes involve travel or large gatherings, 65 local wishes have been postponed with additional wishes being impacted every day. Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley is hosting a virtual Giving Week from April 22 - 29 to raise funds to support these wishes. READ MORE

McCaffrey’s partners with Delaware Valley Food Pantry
Jim McCaffrey and his staff at the New Hope McCaffrey’s Food Market have joined hands with the Delaware Valley Food Pantry to provide food for the people in need in the community. The McCaffrey’s program is two-fold and currently all customers at McCaffrey’s can make a donation to DVFP at the register when they check out. All donations will be used to purchase food for the pantry. READ MORE

Photo Caption: Lou Campo, store manager, and Bert Johnson, president of the Delaware Valley Food Pantry, at the New Hope McCaffrey’s Market.

Palisades Community Foundation offers free meals
The Palisades Community Foundation will distribute meals to community members on April 24. If you or someone you know would like to receive a free meal, fill out the form at: MORE

Arts & Culture

Free online screening of “Penn’s Woods: Cradle of Conservation” offered for 50th anniversary of Earth Day
April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of the anniversary, WITF has partnered with PA Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) and Earth Day 50 PA to host a virtual celebration. To engage the Central Pennsylvania community and beyond, all are invited to attend a free online screening of the WITF original documentary “Penn’s Woods: Cradle of Conservation” followed by an expert panel discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. To RSVP for this interactive event and learn more about the panelists, visit WITF’s event page on OVEE. READ MORE

Milford Merchants Association offers alternative Earth Day celebration – online
This weekend the Milford Merchants Association was planning to celebrate Earth Day in Milford, N.J., with a river clean up, family activities, presentations, live music and eco vendor stalls to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the holiday. Since the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the MMA created an alternative way to continue the conversation on Earth Day Eve. Kristin Schwarz, The Potager at 17 Bridge, invites the community to a scheduled Zoom meeting: “Making a Difference for Birds,” with Diane Allison, at 8:30 p.m. Apr 21. Join Zoom Meeting The meeting ID is: 713 8560 3460. The Password is: LoveBirds. READ MORE

ArtsQuest challenges community to create at-home quarantine films
ArtsQuest is challenging the community to make short movies during the quarantine that it will broadcast at 7:30 p.m. April 30, on ArtsQuest@Home as part of its “at Home” Quarantine Film Challenge. Those interested must register for free here between noon April 20 and 7 p.m. April 24. All registered participants will then meet via Zoom at 7:30 p.m. April 24, to go over the rules. All movies must be shot inside, wherever you are quarantined, to make it make it fun, safe and challenging for all. Quarantine Film Challenge submission categories are ages 6-12, ages 13-17, ages 18-plus and families (meaning a group of related people of varying ages staying in the same home.) Filming will begin at 8 p.m. April 24, and all films must be submitted by 7:59 p.m. April 26. READ MORE

State Police spring and summer youth camps canceled
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) announced today the cancellation of upcoming youth camps, which had been scheduled throughout the spring and summer months, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Camp Cadet, the Commissioner’s Honor Camp, and Sunny Day Camp have deep roots in our department and are a source of pride for the personnel whose hard work and dedication make them possible every year,” said Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “This decision was made with the health and safety of all attendees, staff, and community partners in mind. We look forward to resuming the programs in 2021.” READ MORE


Wolf administration announces Business-to-Business Directory for COVID-19-related supplies
Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced the creation of the Business-to-Business Interchange Directory to connect organizations and businesses directly to manufacturers producing COVID-19-related products and supplies. This is the third web application developed by the Wolf administration to serve the critical supply needs for Pennsylvania. READ MORE

Over 15,000 ask Gov. Wolf to open independent garden centers
Over 15,000 Pennsylvanians are asking Gov. Tom Wolf to allow their local independent family-owned garden centers to open. Wolf in his COVID-19 executive order required that independent garden centers be closed. READ MORE

Gov. Wolf announces online vehicle sale process, construction restart date, PLCB curbside pickup
Gov. Tom Wolf today announced three actions including online sales of vehicles, which will be enabled by the signing of SB 841, restart of construction projects statewide starting Friday, May 8, and curbside pickup of wine and spirits at select Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board locations. “I want to caution that we will not be resuming operations as they were in February. We’re going to continue to take precautions that limit our physical contact with others, and we will closely monitor this to see if it can be done safely.” READ MORE

PECO extends COVID-19 customer support policies
PECO has made the decision to extend the COVID-19 customer support policies through at least June 1. These policies include suspending service disconnections, waiving all new late fees for customers and reconnecting service for customers who have had their service disconnected. Customers in need of support should contact PECO customer care at 1-800-494-4000. PECO will work closely with customers to avoid having their service shut off, waive late payment fees, discuss reconnections and determine eligibility for assistance programs. Visit to learn more about its assistance programs.

Fitzpatrick Joins Bipartisan Group to Support Local Media
This week, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking assistance for local media companies facing challenges brought on due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitzpatrick signed on to a letter asking the administration to direct advertisement funds for federal programs to local media outlets. Additionally, the letter asks the administration to accelerate marketing campaigns with local media and incentivize businesses to advertise in local media. READ MORE

Education, Courses & Online Learning

Mercer County Community College prepares to distribute $1.9 million in Federal CARES Act funds to assist students in need
Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is ready to begin the process of distributing more than $1.9 million in direct aid to students, made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Last week, the federal government announced final approval of the $2 trillion CARES Act package, with $14 billion earmarked to help colleges, their students, and their families mitigate financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Jersey’s share is $323 million, with $3.85 million going to MCCC. Of that amount half – or just over $1.9 million – is slated for direct aid to students. READ MORE