Senator Robert Tomlinson E-Newsletter

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COVID-19 Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious disease that can create life-threatening health problems in some patients. This email update includes information and resources to help keep you and your family up to date on the latest news regarding this new virus.

To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported that dozens of Pennsylvanians in at least 14 counties have tested presumptive positive for the disease, and hundreds of others have undergone testing and are awaiting results.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have created webpages to keep the public informed about how to contain the spread of the disease. I encourage you to visit these sites for the additional information that will be the most current:


PA Department of Health:

Governor Wolf and officials from the Department of Health are also providing daily updates to the public. The updates are available at

Check back on my website at website and follow me on social media at the links below for additional information as the situation continues to develop.



Governor Orders Closure of Bars, Restaurants, Other Venues for Two Weeks

To limit the number of in-person contacts that could spread the coronavirus, Governor Wolf has ordered the closure of bars and dine-in restaurants. He has strongly encouraged other non-essential places such as gyms and other entertainment venues to close for two weeks. Essential businesses like healthcare providers, grocery stores and gas stations will remain open.

Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so. The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) offered guidance on which businesses are essential or nonessential here. Our office is working to answers the many questions from our area employers. Specific information pertaining to whether the governor’s order affects a particular business is coming from DCED.

More details about these measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is available in the video below:

3/16/20 - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Information for employees who may be affected by the shutdown is available from the Department of Labor and Industry here.

Signs and Symptoms, Preventative Measures, and Testing

According to the Department of Health, symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever.
  • Coughing.
  • Shortness of breath.

The CDC recommends the following steps to help minimize the risk of infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

The Department of Health outlines these preventative measures in a video below:

6 Ways to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

The Department of Health advises people who have mild symptoms to stay home to avoid contact with others. State residents who have severe symptoms, including a fever over 100 degrees or shortness of breath, are encouraged to call their healthcare provider. Individuals without a healthcare provider can contact their local health department or call 1‐877‐724‐3258.

More guidance for state residents and healthcare providers is available in the graphic below.

Unemployment Compensation Information

Workers in Pennsylvania who are impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation benefits. Unemployment compensation claims should be submitted online for faster processing.

You may be eligible if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19;
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19;
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19; or
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts.

Applying online is the fastest and easiest way to get started. You can find call center hours and other vital info at; learn all UC benefit requirements by visiting the self-service guide; or use UC LiveChat.

Pennsylvania Schools Remain Closed Through March 27

Governor Wolf has ordered all K-12 schools to remain closed through at least Friday, March 27. The Administration will reevaluate when it is safe for schools to reopen. No school will be penalized for failing to meet the mandated 180 days of instructional time for the 2019-2020 school year.

A number of school districts are developing alternative education plans and continuing to offer lunches for students. Parents and guardians of students are encouraged to learn more about how their school district is responding to the school shutdown by visiting their school district’s website or calling the school.

Legislative Offices Temporarily Closed to Meetings

In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and protect the health and safety of local residents and office staff, my offices will be temporarily closed to visitors.

My staff will still be available to respond to emails and phone messages during this time.  Community residents who need help with any problem related to state government are encouraged to visit my website at website. Those without internet access can use the information below to call. My staff is working and ready to help.

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