Western Pennsylvania’s post-coronavirus economy moves into a new phase in some communities today.  Lawrence, Mercer, Clarion and Venango counties are among 24 in the northwestern part of the state that will open retail stores and other non-essential businesses.  Stores and offices must maintain social-distancing guidelines and everyone inside the businesses must wear masks.  The reopenings come as the region’s counties are reporting a flat uptick in new COVID-19 cases.

Investigators say a woman from Grove City is accused of taking several hundred dollars from a couple while serving as their home health aide.  It’s believed 21-year-old Bella Burke had been serving the Prospect couple when she learned their A-T-M PIN code.  Burke was caught on camera making withdrawls with it from convenience store A-T-Ms in Butler and Mercer counties.  It’s believed Burke took over 300-dollars before being caught.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 1,070 more positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 52,915. The state also reported an increase of 310 new deaths Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 3,416 deaths in Pennsylvania. Lawrence County reported one new case for a total of 69 and deaths remain at seven. Mercer County reported one new case for a total of 70 and the deaths remain at one.

Despite reports that many Western P-A counties will be announced today as moving into Governor Tom Wolf’s yellow reopening phase, yesterday he said all red counties will remain that way until June 4th.  There are 24 counties that will move into that second of the three stages today, though none are in southwestern P-A.  All the terms of the Governor’s stay-at-home order issued April 1st remain in effect until otherwise.

Congressman Conor Lamb is calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to investigate Brighton Rehabilitation & Wellness Center amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  The facility has had 60 related fatalities and make up 65-percent of the cases in Beaver County.  Lamb is requesting the agency to consider using federal resources and provide more PPE and testing supplies.

An economist with P-N-C says he feels Pittsburgh will rebound from the coronavirus pandemic faster than other areas.  Gus Faucher tells W-P-X-I T-V the city is a little less exposed to some of the industries that are going to lead the downturn, since it isn’t a travel center.  The region also has a lot of healthcare, according to Faucher, which should be to its benefit.

Organizers are putting together a stop-and-drop donation drive to benefit the Salvation Army in Aliquippa.  The event Saturday at the Aliquippa City Building will collect perishable and non-perishable food donations as well as cleaning and disinfectant donations.  A recent stop-and-drop event in Pittsburgh collected more than two-and-a-half tons of donations and over one-thousand-dollars to benefit Light Of Life Rescue Mission.

The Mercer County Courthouse will reopen on Monday. Social distancing guidelines will still be in place and visitors should call ahead to make sure that the services they need are available. Masks are still being required when entering the building.

Northeast Ohio’s post-coronavirus economy will take a step closer to normal one week from today.  Governor Mike DeWine announced yesterday that barbershops and hair salons can reopen May 15th with several health and safety guidelines in place.  Restaurants can also start offering outdoor dining on the 15th, with indoor service beginning on May 21st.

Organizers say the annual North Washington Rodeo is the latest event to be cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  That decision is rooted in concerns about selling tickets for the event as well as mitigating the spread of COVID-19.  The hope is the rodeo will return in the summer of 2021.