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VERIFY: Is Gov. Wolf really moving counties back to the red phase?

A website that published the false report claims to be a 'Proud Conservative News Source in the State of Pennsylvania.' The headline of the story is fabricated.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Some Pennsylvania residents were upset in the past few days after seeing a viral Facebook post claiming that Governor Tom Wolf is set to move certain counties back into the red phase of coronavirus reopening due to rising daily number of COVID-19 cases.

The story was published by Pennsylvania Breaking News, a website claiming to be a "Proud Conservative News Source in the State of Pennsylvania," and shared on Facebook over 700 times.

Within the story, it does not actually mention any counties that are moving to the red phase, and says the move "remains to be seen."

So, is Governor Tom Wolf really moving counties back into the red phase of coronavirus reopening?

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We verified that answer.

THE QUESTION

Q: Are counties moving back into the red phase of reopening?

THE ANSWER

A: We spoke with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They said, "the Department, at this time, has no plans to return counties to the red phase. Counties listed in the weekly early warning monitoring dashboard press release are those with percent positivity rates over five percent, where more monitoring from a state perspective is occurring. Any mitigation efforts needed, beyond those in place since July 15, would be targeted and surgical to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.”

WHAT WE FOUND

Pennsylvania Breaking News appears to be one of many sites that are set up across the country that are made to look and sound like professional news websites.

Some of these sites are set up by GOP consultants to look reputable, and can be funded by candidates in those states.

It is not known who or what entity owns "Pennsylvania Breaking News," but the site's Facebook page has been changed three times since 2017, and was originally a weather page.

A Google search shows that the page is also associated with "KNNP-TV Pittsburgh" with a business address the same as a post office in a town north of Pittsburgh.

When we called that number, FOX43 received a busy signal.

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