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Trump declares disaster as Wolf shuts schools indefinitely

March 31, 2020 News Extra

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A federal medical station is set up at Temple University's Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Monday, March 30, 2020, to accommodate an influx in hospital patients due to the coronavirus outbreak.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The president declared a major disaster in Pennsylvania on Monday night, capping off a day that saw nearly 700 new cases as Gov. Tom Wolf extended the closing of schools and nonessential businesses indefinitely.

Wolf also added four more counties — Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin and Schuylkill — to a separate stay-at-home order and extended its duration by more than three weeks, through at least April 30.

Trump's order allows for federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 10 million Pennsylvania residents, or 80% of the state's population, have now been instructed to remain in their homes, with exceptions that include working at a business that's still open, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, visiting a doctor, caring for a relative or heading outside to exercise.

The Democratic governor said he knows the extended shutdown of businesses, schools and swaths of daily life “isn't easy to hear,” but is necessary to save lives and keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

“We're going to keep our schools and businesses closed as long as we need to keep them closed to keep Pennsylvania safe. Right now, it isn't safe," he said.

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