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Butler County included in Wolf's stay-at-home order

March 27, 2020 News Extra

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf extended his stay-at-home order to include Butler County. The order will take effect at 8 p.m. Friday and continues until April 6.

Just four days ago, Wolf implemented the same rule for seven of the commonwealth's most populous counties, which at the time accounted for 75 percent of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania.

He gradually expanded the number of counties under the order, adding three counties Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before his Friday dictate that Butler County residents must stay home.

“If our number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase at its current rate, our hospitals will be overwhelmed,” Wolf said in a Wednesday press conference.

As of 12 p.m. Friday, Pennsylvania has seen 2,218 cases, with 16 deaths; there are 26 confirmed cases in Butler County, according to the state Department of Health.

One person has died of the respiratory illness in the county. A second death was announced today by Butler Health System.

The stay-at-home order is largely the same as the business closure order issued March 19, but extends to individual residents alongside businesses with physical locations.

Under the governor's order, a number of outdoor activities are permitted, including grocery shopping, outdoor exercising when social distancing is maintained, caring for a family member or pet and all travel pertaining to those.

Employees at life-sustaining businesses may continue traveling to work and working.

Law enforcement will be focused on informing residents about the order, the governor said, rather than enforcing the order. Businesses not considered life-sustaining will continue to receive warnings, which will progressively ramp up to citations.

A number of other states' governors have ordered all residents to remain at home — in some states, it's phrased as shelter-in-place — prior to Wolf's order, including neighbors Ohio and New York, with the latter being the current epicenter of the United States' COVID-19 outbreak.

Wolf's order now includes 19 counties, including four — Allegheny, Butler, Erie and Westmoreland — on the western side of the state. Pennsylvania has 67 counties.

“All PA residents should be staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Wolf said in a Friday tweet. “People who live in counties under this order are required to do so, and can only leave their homes if it is for a necessary task.”

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