WEATHER: Philadelphia: rain, high of 48; Harrisburg: a.m. rain, high of 50; Pittsburgh: rain, high of 54.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* More than half a million Pennsylvanians have filed new unemployment claims during the past week, a record number indicative of the sweeping economic fallout from Gov. Tom Wolf’s statewide shutdown in order to slow the coronavirus, Spotlight PA reports.
* Pennsylvania is “particularly ill-prepared” for the impending financial blow caused by the coronavirus, Spotlight PA reports.
* The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday approved a bipartisan proposal to postpone the state’s 2020 primary until June 2, and allow counties to consolidate polling places without court approval amid concerns about the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic. Representatives unanimously approved the changes in an amendment to a preexisting Senate bill, clearing a major hurdle and increasing the prospects the legislation will pass and be on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf by the end of the week, the Inquirer reports.
* As the COVID-19 pandemic grips southeastern Pennsylvania, Democratic leaders in Delaware County say they hope their struggle to respond to the crisis proves, once and for all, that they need to create their own health department, WHYY reports.
* An emergency school code bill that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is set to vote on Wednesday addresses the payment of teachers. The bill would ensure that anyone employed by a school on March 13 shall be paid the same as they would have if the pandemic had not occurred, PennLive reports.
* President Donald Trump's intention to resume normal business operations in the next several weeks drew the ire of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney during the city's daily briefing on the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, the Philly Voice reports.
* Legislative leaders and the Wolf administration, with significant input from Pennsylvania’s hospital community, are negotiating the details of an emergency relief fund that would be used to help hospitals brace against an expected surge in COVID-19 patients as cases across the state continue an exponential rise, the Capital-Star reports.
* The City of Philadelphia has been looking for sites where it could house COVID-19 overflow patients. Perhaps the most obvious choice is the shuttered Hahnemann University Hospital, whose 496-bed capacity would make an enormous difference in the city’s ability to absorb patients in need. But at the city’s daily COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday, Managing Director Brian Abernathy said negotiations with the building’s owner, investment banker Joel Freedman, are not going well, WHYY reports.
* Based on guidance from the federal government, the School District of Philadelphia is proceeding with a plan to offer more rigorous virtual instruction during the coronavirus shutdown — a reversal from last week when it said equity concerns hampered its ability to provide mandated, graded learning, WHYY reports.
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* PennLive offers five new facts about COVID-19 – and how to fight it.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: … Superior Court Judge Alice Dubow … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday to firstname.lastname@example.org
11 a.m. - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Hite will visit Webster Elementary School while staff pack meals for distribution to students and families. Webster is one of 80 locations citywide where free meals are available for children and youth while schools are closed. John H. Webster School, 3400 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia.
1 p.m. - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will join Health Commissioner Dr. Farley, Managing Director Brian Abernathy, and other officials to provide an update on the impact of the coronavirus in Philadelphia. Mayor's Reception Room, Room 202, City Hall, Philadelphia. Note: The daily 1:00 p.m. press briefings will be offered on the virtual platform Zoom. Virtual press conferences allow safe social distancing as advised by the CDC and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Members of the media will be able to ask questions through Zoom during the Q&A portion of the briefing. In-person attendance at the press conferences is discontinued until further notice.
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KICKER: “It is clear that state revenues are softening pretty dramatically at the moment.” – PA Revenue Secretary C. Daniel Hassell. From Spotlight PA.