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Pa. unemployment claims spike as virus takes hold

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The Investigator

Your guide to the Capitol & stories holding the powerful to account

March 19, 2020 | spotlightpa.org

Unemployment claims in Pennsylvania are surging after Gov. Tom Wolf ordered a statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Plus, the state is mourning the loss of Carmine Fusco, 55, of Northampton County, who Wednesday was the first to die of the virus.

We're continuing to update a number of helpful guides for you, including a complete look at what's open, what's closed during the statewide shutdown, as well as a complete rundown of all the ways you might see relief from Pa. lawmakers. And we're answering your questions and posting them for all.

Finally, we're working nonstop to provide an essential public service to inform the public and help us all stay safe and healthy. We share our work at no cost with 25 different news organizations serving communities in all corners, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, Scranton to Erie, Towanda to New Castle.

We depend on reader support and now more than ever, we need your help. Make your gift today.

We're all in this together, and we're working hard for you.

Christopher Baxter, Spotlight PA

"To everybody, this is a virus. To us, it’s a person."

— Andriana Fusco, sister of Carmine Fusco, 55, of Northampton County. Carmine Fusco died Wednesday of the coronavirus, the state's first fatality.
As a result of limited testing and other factors, experts believe the virus is far more widespread than case counts suggest. Here's the latest official tally:


Latest county-by-county data
As of 12 p.m. March 19
 SPOTLIGHT PA: Pa. eases take-home restrictions on meds for those in opioid recovery
» SPOTLIGHT PA: Funeral directors in Pa. brace for grief as coronavirus spreads
» SPOTLIGHT PA: What Pa. lawmakers are proposing to bring you some relief
» PA POST: Pa.'s gun background check system saw 'surge in requests'
» INQUIRER: Pa. elections officials are pleading with state to postpone the primary
» PENNLIVE: Pa. says state workers, retirees will get their checks on time
» PENNLIVE: State boarding up some closed liquor stores in "at risk" areas

 INQUIRER: Penn 'left us stranded on the streets': Vulnerable students are desperate
» INQUIRER: Coronavirus testing sites draw worried crowds from around Philly region

 MORNING CALL: School districts hand out laptops to help students learn from home
» MORNING CALL: What happens next for Lehigh Valley businesses and shoppers?

 TIMES-TRIBUNE: Fearing budget hit, Scranton to furlough a few dozen workers
» TIMES-TRIBUNE: School boards, others mull alternatives to public meetings

 PENNLIVE: Police in central Pa. won't respond to some calls to avoid coronavirus
» PENNLIVE: 300 new Amazon jobs coming to Harrisburg area to meet new demand

 POST-GAZETTE: Shell reevaluating work at cracker plant after days of pressure
» POST-GAZETTE: Homeless shelters desperately adjust to new social norms
» PUBLICSOURCE: Thousands of patients in Pittsburgh have turned to telemedicine

 ERIE TIMES-NEWS: Erie-area fire departments limit medical call response
» ERIE TIMES-NEWS: Erie judge won’t free pregnant inmate amid COVID-19 concerns

 OBSERVER-REPORTER: Housing authority advises elderly residents to self-quarantine
» OBSERVER-REPORTER: COVID-19 taking a significant bite out of restaurants

Send your answers to newsletters@spotlightpa.org.

Number crunch (Case No. 30): If you write down every number from 1 to 999, how many of the numbers will have the letter "A"?
Stumped? Get a hint. Feeling smart? Challenge a friend.

Last week's answer: The bear was white, because the cabin was in the north pole.

Congrats to Rebecca D., who will receive Spotlight PA swag (when we reopen our office!). Others who correctly answered: Kathy W., Bob S., Lisa M., William H., Dave D., Jon N., T. Carr, Kenneth J., Jim S., Don H., Lou R., Jeffrey F., Michele M., Robert A., Jim K., Frank E., Annette I., Stephan A., Robert K., Susan A., Noreen G., Marian S., Jeffrey W., and Patrick.
» This week's Riddler hint: Get counting.
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