St. Luke's emergency room on Apr. 28, 2019. Many put off routine medical care in the early months of the pandemic, leading to a backlog that could have ramifications long into the future. (Becca Bednarz/B&W Staff)

Coronavirus updates: First death recorded in Pennsylvania


This story serves as a summary of recent coronavirus developments as of March 19.

First COVID-19 death in Pennsylvania

An adult from Northampton county has died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the Courier Express reported Thursday. 

Across the state, there are 185 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. As of March 18, Northampton county has five cases and Lehigh county has one. 

Wind Creek employee tests positive

An employee at South Side’s Wind Creek tested positive for COVID-19, according to the casino via The Morning Call. Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the casino has been deep cleaning the entire property.

According to a statement from the casino, the employee last worked there on Saturday, when symptoms began to show, and had limited public interaction. 

The casino closed to the public last weekend and plans to reopen on March 29, as of now. 

All non-essential businesses across the state to close

Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday said all businesses statewide that aren’t “life-sustaining” will shut down immediately in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Examples of “life-sustaining” businesses include grocery stores, gas stations, farms and transit centers. 

The shutdown will take place at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.  

Bethlehem to cancel all public meetings

Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez announced the cancellation of all public meetings, beginning on Monday and going through April 3, and will be reassessed at that time. 

City council will be holding an emergency meeting at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, where they will look to pass a law that allows them to be refunded, from the State and Federal Emergency  Management Agency, for the costs of COVID-19 supplies and more, which includes the overtime hours of first responders and health department employees. 

City offers free 15-minute parking

Mayor Bob Donchez announced on Wednesday that through at least March 30, Bethlehem is supporting their local businesses by allowing special free, 15-minute parking for anyone delivering or receiving a takeout order. 

Donchez said the time limit will be “strictly enforced” and there will be two free pickup parking spaces per block shared by the surrounding businesses. 

According to, the Bethlehem Parking Authority will install new meter bags and signs to direct drivers to those specific spots

Numbers in the U.S.

There are 13,737 cases of the coronavirus in the States as of Thursday, with 201 deaths. Globally, 244,693 people have tested positive for the virus, with 10,024 deaths and 87,407 recoveries.

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