COVID-19 in Lawrence County: What You Need to Know & What You Should Do

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has announced that all schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be closed indefinitely. The governor said that no schools will be penalized if they fail to meet the 180 day or school hours requirements, meaning students do not need to make up these days. Pennsylvania’s education secretary Pedro Rivera said during a conference call that school will not extend past June 30, whether or not school is back in session this year.

The entire state of Pennsylvania have been issued stay-at-home orders, meaning that residents are only allowed to leave their house in emergencies, to get supplies, or take care of loved ones. The entire states of Ohio and West Virginia, as well as dozens of others, are also under stay-at-home orders.

As of the latest update of this article, it is unknown if and when schools will continue in-person education in the Commonwealth. This article will be continually updated as more news revolving the COVID-19 virus in New Castle happens. Updates will also be posted on the school’s website, ncasd.com, the city’s website, and the Senior High School Twitter page.

Also, students: please check your Google Classroom accounts. Most teachers have sent invites to all of their students to join a classroom, and this is how you will receive all work from here on out.

UPDATE 3/25/2020 4:15 PM: Lawrence County now has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. According to the New Castle News, the person is an employee at Nalco Water’s Ellwood City water treatment plant. Other employees at the plant have been told to self-quarantine for at least fourteen days.

UPDATE 3/26/2020 6:15 PM: Last night, the U.S. Senate approved a $2 trillion stimulus plan, which includes checks to be sent to Americans. All U.S. residents with a gross income up to $75,000 (couples up to $150,000) would get a $1,200 check from the government ($2,400 for couples). Additionally, for every child in an eligible family, they will receive $500. The stimulus package also includes $500 billion in loans to struggling industries such as airlines, $100 billion to hospitals, $150 billion to governments, and much, much more. A similar package (for around $1 trillion) was also approved in 2009 after the Great Recession.

UPDATE 3/27/2020 5:30 PM: Lawrence County now has four confirmed cases of COVID-19, and U.S. Representative Mike Kelly, representing all of Lawrence County, has tested positive for the coronavirus. In a press release on kelly.house.gov, he stated that he was experiencing mild flu-like symptoms earlier this week and was tested at Butler Memorial Hospital. Additionally, Butler and Westmoreland County are now under a stay-at-home order.

UPDATE 3/28/2020 3:00 PM: Lawrence County now has its first death from the coronavirus, according to the New Castle News. The 88-year-old man reportedly died Friday night at UPMC Jameson hospital. No further information is available. In other news, Lawrence County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have doubled since Friday, now at 8.

UPDATE 3/30/2020 3:00 PM: The number of COVID-19 cases in Lawrence County is now at 10. The New Castle News reports that two New Castle firemen and two Noga Ambulance employees are quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19 on a call in Mahoningtown. The patient reportedly had no symptoms of the virus, but was discovered to be infected with the coronavirus at UPMC Jameson Hospital, where he later died. This is the only death related to COVID-19 in the county thus far. In other news, Governor Wolf has extended the stay-at-home order for 26 counties until April 30 and announced that schools will be closed indefinitely.

UPDATE 3/31/2020 2:30 PM: Starting at 8:00 PM tonight, Lawrence County will be under a mandatory stay-at-home order until at least April 30. Individuals may only travel to maintain health and safety, obtain supplies, engage in outdoor exercise, perform work at an essential business, care for a family member or other vulnerable person, travel to educational institutions, travel required by court or law enforcement order. Additionally, the New Castle News reports that a second person has died from COVID-19 in Lawrence County and there are now 13 cases in the county.

UPDATE 4/1/2020 8:30 PM: The entire state of Pennsylvania is now under a mandatory stay-at-home order. Lawrence County has not reported any new COVID-19 cases since yesterday. However, the New Castle News reported that the county’s second death was a 68-year old man who worked at Blair Strip Steel.

COVID-19 Cases By County Locally

These are the amount of COVID-19 cases by county as of 3/30/2020 @ 3:00 PM. These stats will be updated approximately every 24 hours or when a major update is necessary. The U.S. has 215,010 cases; Pennsylvania has 6009 cases in total (plus 74 deaths), Ohio has 2547 cases (plus 65 deaths). All counties listed below are under a mandatory stay-at-home order. Data sourced from health.pa.gov, coronavirus.ohio.gov, and infection2020.com.

  • Allegheny County, PA: 356 cases + 2 deaths
  • Armstrong County, PA: 5 cases
  • Beaver County, PA: 54 cases + 2 deaths
  • Butler County, PA: 64 cases + 2 deaths
  • Clarion County, PA: 5 cases
  • Crawford County, PA: 5 cases
  • Erie County, PA: 15 cases
  • Lawrence County, PA: 13 cases + 2 deaths
  • Mercer County, PA: 8 cases
  • Venango County, PA: 3 cases
  • Washington County, PA: 35
  • Westmoreland County, PA: 72
  • Columbiana County, OH: 19 cases + 2 deaths
  • Mahoning County, OH: 177 cases + 10 deaths
  • Trumbull County, OH: 58 cases + 2 deaths

Stay At Home!

Please stay at home unless it is an emergency! The arrogance and ignorance of the American people have caused this virus to spread to a point where it is out of control. Please, do not be selfish during this pandemic. While you might feel healthy, you may still have the virus – symptoms vary from person to person. Please only leave the house if you are doing tasks essential to health and safety, picking up supplies, or if you work at a life-sustaining business. Please take the virus seriously!

Think about your loved ones. By going out of your way to hang out with your friends you are putting your family and friends at risk to contract the coronavirus. Not only is your family at risk, but what if a family member or friend has to go out to the store, care for their elders, or end up admitted to the hospital? Thousands of others are put at risk of contracting the coronavirus including hospital staff, pharmacists, grocers, and just regular citizens, to name just a few.

PLEASE take the coronavirus pandemic seriously. It could cost your family members, friends, and millions of other people their jobs, livelihoods as we know it, and even their lives. Take a look at this chart made by a website from New Zealand by clicking here. It really helps to put the virus into perspective. Consider alternative methods of communication with friends such as FaceTime, Discord, Skype, and plenty of other options. Please, stay at home!

Fake Text Message Alerts

If you have received a text message claiming that the National Guard will close all businesses and impose curfews is fake. While the National Guard has a local presence, they are not allowed to shut down businesses and impose curfews. The text also mentions that President Trump will invoke the Stafford Act, ordering a two-week mandatory quarantine for the entire nation. Please note that these text messages are fake and if a real curfew and/or stay-at-home order was imposed, it would likely be sent via the Digital Presidential Alert system, which is similar to the Amber Alert and Emergency Alert systems.

Free & Reduced Breakfasts & Lunches for Students

The following New Castle restaurants are welcoming students with valid ID to a free meal

  • Ali’s Upper Crust (1700 Highland Avenue) – free 7″ cheese pizza
  • Los Amigos (2017 W. State Street) – free two tacos (hard or soft, chicken or beef) and a side of rice ($5 nacho and $1 taco deals also)
  • El-Canelo (all locations) – free two tacos (chicken or beef) and a side of rice (30% off all to-go orders also)

The New Castle Area School District will be passing out breakfast and lunches at the following locations and times via a food truck and a van.

  • 10:00-10:20 – Van Oak Leaf Gardens Apartments; Food Truck Harry W Lockley Early Learning Center
  • 10:30-10:50 – Van McGrath Apartments; Food Truck Courthouse next to Albert Gettings Annex
  • 11:00-11:20 – Van Westview Apartments; Food Truck Brinton Hill Apartments
  • 11:30-11:50 – Van Grant Street Homes; Food Truck Big Run Apartments
  • 12:00-12:20 – Van Lincoln Terrace Apartments; Food Truck Panella Bros.
  • 12:30-12:50 – Van Harbor Heights Apartments; Food Truck Hito’s Restaurant
  • 1:00-1:20 – George Washington Intermediate

Meals are served Monday-Friday and students will receive breakfast and a lunch. Students do not need to be present to receive a meal; a parent or guardian can pick up a meal for every child in their household.