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Wolf Says Southeast PA Last to Reopen; Charges in 4yo Death; School District: Not Enough Hot Spots
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 04/23/20 5:22 pm | updated: 04/23/20 5:22 pm
 
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said Thursday, 4/23, that Philadelphia and its surrounding suburban counties in Southeastern PA will be 'among the last places' to reopen when the commonwealth begins to ease restrictions on businesses and individuals starting May 8. "It's not a one-size-fits-all approach. What's good for Philadelphia is not going to be good for Cameron County; what's good for Tioga County is not going to be good for Montgomery County," Wolf said. "We need to recognize that reality as we move forward."

Wolf unveiled a three phased reopening plan on Wednesday, 4/24, that would gradually reduce pandemic restrictions in a region or county once certain benchmarks are met. One of the more explicit benchmarks given yesterday was "an average of 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 over 14 days." What that exactly means has not been clarified by the administration. If that means 50 or fewer new daily positive cases per 100,000, then Philadelphia County would immediately meet that criteria. With a population of 1.584 million, there would need to be 792 new cases each day to be per capita 50 per 100,000 people. The city has never had that many new cases in a day. It could mean total active cases, or maybe daily hospital cases. There are 953 active COVID-19 hospitalizations in Philadelphia as of Thursday, which is about 60 per 100,000.

Wolf said there would be a variety of metrics looked at when making reopening decisions, including testing capability and capacity. "We're going to have to make subjective decisions," Wolf said. "What I'm trying to do is create a reasonable and logical and informed reopening strategy, but it has to be one that is sensitive to the possibility that we move too quickly." If there are any flareups or surges then restrictions could return.

Governor Wolf also said that all private and public construction will be allowed to resume on May 1, but with strict social distancing measures in place. The administration is working on guidelines to ensure the safety of workers on job sites. Currently, job sites that have been allowed to remain open conduct temperature checks, daily questionnaires, solo lunches, mandatory masks, and limits on the number of crew on site.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced charges against the parents of a 4-year-old girl who was shot and killed inside her Northeast Philadelphia home earlier this week. 29-year-olds Alhakim Nunez and Iris Rodriguez were charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and obstructing justice in the death of Kastari 'Star' Nunez. Nunez was also charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. A third person from the house, 31-year-old Ashley Gushue, was charged with unsworn falsification, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice. It happened just before midnight on Monday, 4/20, on the 2900 block of Secane Drive. The girl was shot in the stomach. The family took her to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital where she died shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning. Hospital officials called police. Investigators found a .357 revolver, with five live rounds and one spent casing, inside a living room sofa. It is still not clear who or how the girl was shot.

Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite said Thursday, 4/23, that the school district will not be able to purchase enough mobile hot spots to distribute to every child who needs access to the Internet. The district purchased 75,000 Chromebook laptop computers. Those computers, combined with computers already owned by schools, were distributed to students who did not have a way to access lessons online. However, many students still needed a way to get Internet access in or near their homes. Mobile hotspots, which use the cellular networks, are easy to set up and use anywhere. Hite said that those hotspot devices are in short supply and there is high demand for them. He said, "if we were lucky, we could get a couple of thousand." Students still have access to paper packets of their work. Formal distance learning began this week, new material will start May 4.

 
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