LANSDALE, PA — As the coronavirus outbreak continues across Pennsylvania, vast impacts are being felt in Montgomery County and in the greater Lansdale area, including the closure of schools and many businesses.
Social distancing recommendations and stay at home orders have led to a radical shift in every day life. All non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania have been closed.
A total of 216 positive cases of coronavirus were found in Montgomery County, as of Thursday afternoon. The statewide total is at 1,687 people in Pennsylvania as of Thursday afternoon, and 16 are dead.
Lansdale borough's first case of coronavirus was found in a 29-year-old man Wednesday. There are also three cases in Montgomery Township, three in Towamencin, two in Upper Gwynedd, and eight in Worcester, as of early Thursaday afternoon.
“We must remain vigilant and dedicated to following the CDC guidelines now more than ever,” Lansdale Mayor Garry Herbert said in a statement. “For weeks COVID-19 has surrounded the Borough and we have been preparing for the inevitable future that a case would breach the Borough boundaries. I ask all residents to continue to take this event seriously and socially distance themselves from friends, family and neighbors in order to control the spread of the virus.”
There have been two deaths in Montgomery County thus far, both of them in Abington Township, and both of them elderly men. The second death was confirmed Wednesday.
Here's a look at more local area updates:
All schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed through at least April 6 in response to the new coronavirus outbreak, state officials said.
Free lunches are being disbursed in the North Penn school district for all children age 18 and under. Distribution days have been consolidated to Mondays and Thursdays. MORE.
Montgomery County officials are urging residents to take the time to complete the 2020 census. The information gathered is crucial in how federal and state funds are allocated for vital projects involving hospitals, first responders, schools, roads, and more. You can complete the census online here.
The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is selling gift cards to support local businesses. They're matching purchase up to $2,500 in an effort to immediately inject $5,000 into Montgomery County's economy. Learn more.
Harvest in North Wales laid off 45 employees. They're diverting 100 percent of sales from online gift cards to support employees. MORE.
Lansdale area restaurants, reeling amid the crisis, are offering takeout deals. Many remain open for delivery and curbside pickup. MORE.
For a more comprehensive listing of local small businesses you can support, the Lansdale Borough Economic Development Committee has put together a map of establishments which fall under the "life-sustaining" category and are still open. See the map here.
Abington Lansdale Hospital is not allowing visitors except in very specific circumstances, including emergency care and end of life or extreme cases. "These measures may be inconvenient, but they are important steps for keeping our patients and our staff members safe," the hospital said. "The need for these visitor restrictions will be re-evaluated regularly as the COVID-19 situation is constantly shifting, and our responses must shift with it."
Montgomery Township is hosting a face mask and food drive on Friday, March 27. Supplies should be dropped off at the Montgomery Township Police Department, which is located at 1001 Stump Road, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
American Red Cross has set up a temporary emergency donation site at Towamencin Mennonite Church, located on 1980 Sumneytown Pike in Kulpsville, through March 28.
Medical supplies can be dropped off at Levy Medical Plaza, across from Abington Hospital, on 1235 Old York Road in Abington. Details here.
Einstein Medical Center Montgomery is collecting supplies. MORE.
TESTING AND ASSESSMENT SITES
A temporary, drive-thru coronavirus testing site has been established by the county at Temple University's Ambler campus. The site is now open to a much broader group of patients. MORE.
Abington Hospital has a testing site. MORE.
Tower Health has established assessment sites in Plymouth Meeting and Gilbertsville. MORE.
All Holy Week and Easter Sunday masses have been canceled in the Philadelphia Archdiocese due to coronavirus. MORE.
The Lansdale Public Library is closed until at least April 6.
SEPTA's parking garage at Lansdale Station shut down on Monday, March 23. Surface lots remain open.
Disconnections and new late charges for all customers of Lansdale Electric have been suspended. Utility bills should be paid online or by phone: 1-888-844-8371.
All Lansdale borough park facilities have been closed until further notice. Trails and open space remain open. Residents are encouraged to follow social distancing protocol and remain six feet away from others.
Montgomery Township gave their facilities a deep cleaning earlier this week.
The Montgomery Township Sewer Authority is urging residents to not flush disinfectant or cleaning wipes down the toilet. They've been causing an increasing number of blockages and "costly damages," officials said.
All construction projects in Lansdale have been shut down.
A "disaster declaration" was issued by Lansdale borough on March 16. Read the text here. Montgomery Township issued a similar declaration on March 18. These declarations give local municipalities greater access to state and federal funding opportunities as they become available.