One of the nation’s largest malls, in suburban Philadelphia, has closed amid a call from Pennsylvania’s governor for nonessential businesses to close to help stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as the number of cases in the commonwealth increased to at least 66.
The security office of the King of Prussia mall said Sunday that the mall was closed until further notice. A notice on the site of owner Simon Property Group said nonessential mall tenants were expected to comply “effective immediately” with the governor’s recommendation.
Officials in Delaware County in suburban Philadelphia, meanwhile, said almost a dozen county prison inmates had been quarantined and almost two dozen employees had been advised to self-quarantine at home after a prison employee was confirmed to have tested positive for the virus.
A look at the latest developments in Pennsylvania:
The King of Prussia mall, one of the nation’s largest, has closed amid a call from Pennsylvania’s governor for nonessential businesses to close to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The mall is in suburban Philadelphia’s Montgomery County, Pennsylvania’s hardest hit by the virus, with at least 24 cases out of the state’s total of at least 66.
The mall had remained open after Gov. Tom Wolf’s call for closure of all nonessential retail facilities in Montgomery County, saying the governor hadn’t mandated store closures and nor defined “what non-essential retail is.”
But a notice displayed on owner Simon Property Group’s site over the weekend noted the governor’s clarification that supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations were defined as essential.
“Accordingly, we expect that all nonessential tenants of King of Prussia adhere to and comply with Gov. Wolf’s recommendation effective immediately,” the notice said. The security office at King of Prussia mall said Sunday that the mall was closed until further notice.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Sunday confirmed 16 additional positive cases of the coronavirus, the majority in the Philadelphia area and one more in western Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, which saw its first two cases earlier in the weekend. That brings the state’s official total to 63, but Allegheny County announced that a second case not yet included in the statewide total had been confirmed. Philadelphia announced another two cases not included in statewide total.
Health officials said all of the people affected were either in isolation at home or being treated at hospitals.
Most of the state’s cases of positive tests are in eastern Pennsylvania. Hardest hit is Montgomery County, with 24 cases. The confirmed cases largely have been traced back to contact with the new coronavirus in another state or country. Most people are at home in isolation, officials say; a few are hospitalized.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The vast majority of people recover.
◄WORLD’S FIRST REPORTED PRISON QUARANTINE►
Delaware County emergency and health officials said GEO Group, which runs the county’s George W. Hill Correctional Facility, had received confirmation that a prison employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
Following guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 prison employees who had been in contact with the individual were advised to self-quarantine at home. Eleven inmates who had been in contact with the infected employee were placed in quarantine in a separate unit of the prison.
All are being tested and none have shown any symptoms of the virus, officials said.
“This is an example of how one infected person affects countless others,” county officials said in a statement. “One positive case led to quarantining 34 others. We are seeing this around the country. It can cripple vital services like health care and emergency first responders.”
Your Content was first to report that the prison holding comedian Bill Cosby is also on red alert after a guard tested positive for the deadly disease.
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This story has been updated to correct one instance of outdated numbers of cases statewide, to 63 instead of 47.