Lawrence County has its first confirmed case of coronavirus.

County Commissioner Chairman Morgan Boyd said the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency contacted the county department of public safety with the notification Wednesday morning.

"We knew this was coming, it was just a matter of time," Boyd said. "Obviously, this only emphasizes and reiterates that people need to adhere to all Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Health guidelines and to minimize exposure to other people."

The Lawrence County courthouse and related buildings are operating with 70 percent of their staff, while the other 30 percent have been laid off.

Boyd said that for now, the courthouse will remain operational with no access to the public.

"We don't have a choice, until the Supreme Court comes down and says we have to close," he said, because the courts have to process emergency orders and conduct hearings.

"We will remain operational at a skeletal staff level," he said.

Notification of the hospitals is under the purview of the Department of Health, Boyd said. In terms of county public safety operations, the county will continue to monitor the spread of the virus in Lawrence County for any new developments, and we're working with state-level agencies to make sure that supplies and materials get to Lawrence County in case we need them.

The number of confirmed cases in Pennsylvania as of noon Wednesday was 1,127 statewide, and about 62 percent are in the southeast portion of the state.

it is not yet known if the patient has been admitted to a hospital, and if so, which hospital it might be.

In a statement, UPMC said it is not identifying any patients being tested for COVID-19 or their locations, in order to protect their privacy. All proper infection prevention protocols are being followed with any such patients.

The healthcare system said it anticipates that most patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will not need to be admitted and will recover at home. For patients who are admitted to a health care facility, "we have a multitude of hospital and nonhospital locations throughout our 40-hospital network that we can leverage for different types of clinical needs. As always, our UPMC hospitals operate with the robust ability to adapt to demands by sharing facilities, resources and expertise across our vast system."

For a Pennsylvania Department of Health Map showing county-by-county totals, CLICK HERE.


Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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