***Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, PA – For COVID-19 event suspensions, postponements, and cancellations CLICK HERE***
**As per Gov. Tom Wolf, all schools K-12 will close Monday, March 16th and will remain closed until further notice. Full story here.**
* For lunches for local school students, find details here*
*Find DuBois Food Pantry Info here.*
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania will use $50 million in state funding to supply medical equipment to hospitals and other healthcare workers to prepare for combatting the novel coronavirus.
Governor Tom Wolf announced that he will spend up to $50 million in transferred state funding to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency workers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania. See Gov. Wolf’s full statement here.
Harrisburg, PA – New funding is available to help small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, through a new program under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s (PIDA) Small Business First Fund, the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA).
The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) recently authorized the transfer of $40 million to the Small Business First Fund for CWCA. PIDA authorized making $60 million available to provide loans of $100,000 or less to for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees. Funds are expected to become available this week. Learn more about the Small Business First Fund here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that the Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.
PennDOT closed all driver and photo license centers on March 16 and paused REAL ID issuance in the state out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health. Centers will reopen no sooner than April 3. PennDOT also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requesting that the agency consider extending the October 1, 2020 REAL ID enforcement deadline.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., March 25, that there are 276 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,127 in 44 counties.
The department also reported four new deaths, bringing the statewide death total to 11.
All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration reported four more coronavirus-related deaths in Pennsylvania on Wednesday and ordered residents of Lehigh and Northampton counties to stay home, with few exceptions.
Before Wednesday, Wolf’s orders covered eight counties, including Philadelphia, Allegheny County and Philadelphia’s four heavily populated suburban counties.
The 10 counties account for half of Pennsylvania’s 12.8 million residents and 80% of its more than 1,120 coronavirus cases.
Lawmakers also passed a measure to delay Pennsylvania’s primary election by five weeks, potentially past the spike of the state’s spreading coronavirus cases. Wolf plans to sign it.
Clearfield County, PA – As of the noon report on Wednesday, March 25, there are now two confirmed cases in Clearfield County.
DuBois, PA – Penn Highlands Healthcare invites community members and organizations to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the region’s healthcare system.
Penn Highlands will add these supplies to their inventory as the healthsystem enacts preparedness measures in the event that the spread of COVID-19 should pose a threat to our community.
Learn more about Penn Highlands request here.
Clearfield County, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed one case of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Clearfield County.
The case was added to the department’s COVID-19 map on Tuesday, March 24 during their noon update.
This brings the number of confirmed cases in PA (as of 1:40 p.m. Tuesday) to 851.
No details can be given about the individual involved or their condition.
During an informal press conference, Penn Highlands Healthcare said that this individual was not in any of their hospitals but has been confirmed as a positive COVID-19 test result.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Pennsylvania’s coronavirus death toll has risen by one.
The Allegheny County Health Department confirmed the death on Saturday and described the person as an adult in the late 60s who had been hospitalized.
More than 370 coronavirus cases and two deaths have been reported in Pennsylvania.
Lawyers for Gov. Tom Wolf, meanwhile, are asking a court to toss a lawsuit challenging his authority to shutter “non-life-sustaining” Pennsylvania businesses.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf is ordering residents of Pennsylvania’s hardest-hit areas to stay home to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus that has sickened hundreds and caused six deaths statewide.
He also shuttered schools statewide for an additional two weeks.
Harrisburg, PA – Today the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced that all schools in the state will be closed for an additional two weeks, trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
All schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed until at least April 6, in order to help with COVID-19 response efforts.
It is possible that the closure might be extended longer if necessary.
Gov, Tom Wolf announced that, if it’s determined that students can return to school, administrators, teachers and other staff will be given two days to prepare classrooms, reset the cafeterias, schedule buses and transport for kids, and arrange other business operations.
Students would return on the third day, after the school is prepared of them.
The Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera, said the state’s 29 intermediate units will be providing technical assistance to help develop education plans for all students.
Standardized testing has been cancelled for this school year, include the PSSA testing and Keystone exams, the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment, and all career and tech educational standardized testing for this year.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf reminded Pennsylvanians that grocery stores, food processors, and food banks remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration is working to expand resources for those who are food insecure.
Pennsylvanians should feel confident in the food supply and shop for food at their normal rate.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21 2020.
DuBois, PA – COVID-19 testing is available at Penn Highlands Healthcare for patients. But, not everyone needs to be tested, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
If patients have symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough or shortness of breath – they should call their primary care providers/family doctors.
Anyone without a primary care provider/family doctor, can call the Penn Highlands Call Center at 814-375-6644 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The next steps will be explained here.
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf has announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Learn more about these low-interest business loans here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today confirmed the state’s first COVID-19-related death, an adult from Northampton County. This individual was being treated at a hospital.
Statewide, there are 133 cases of COVID-19 reported from commercial, hospital and state labs.
There are 1,187 patients who have tested negative. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.
The Disease Control and Prevention Act protects the right to privacy and confidentiality of Pennsylvanians, so at this time, there is no additional information available about the patient.
Jefferson County, PA – Jefferson County Commissioners have declared a disaster emergency, as has Punxsutawney Borough.
Government, municipal, township, and city buildings have been closed off to the public, although employees will continue to work diligently inside.
Officially declaring a disaster emergency means that government officials can legally do things like close municipal building to the public, delay deadlines, and request funding on state and federal levels.
Although no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed for either Jefferson or Clearfield Counties, our area is taking precautions to slow the spread as much as possible.
You will see many businesses either closed or operating on reduced hours, and restaurants are not allowed to offer dine-in meals, only take-out or delivery.
You might also see emergency responders in protective suits. Don’t be alarmed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re responding to someone with novel coronavirus symptoms. They’re being cautious for the sake of themselves and for others.
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania is joining the list of states to temporarily close all non-essential businesses. What are the differences between nonessential and essential? See Gov. Wolf’s clarification here.
Gov. Tom Wolf has extended the shutdown, which originally only affected the five most heavily populated counties in the state. This is a directive from the Pennsylvania government, but it will be up to each business to self-enforce.
All essential government and medical services will continue. Other essential businesses like pharmacies, grocery stores, health care facilities, and gas stations will stay open.
State-run liquor stores will also shut down at 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 17th 2020, wine and beer can still be purchased at grocery stores that carry them.
***For more information on filing unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis click here.
Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics
For all press releases regarding coronavirus, please visit here.
Find the latest information on the coronavirus here.
Photos of the state’s lab in Exton are available for download and use here.
Coronavirus and preparedness graphics are available here near the bottom of the page: On.pa.gov/coronavirus
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is implementing the following operational changes in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19. All Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks effective close of business on Monday, March 16. Learn more about PennDot operational changes due to COVID-19 here.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is supplementing staffing in the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) to monitor the progress of COVID-19, more commonly referred to as “coronavirus,” with specially trained staff from multiple state agencies.
The CRCC staffing will include personnel from the following agencies, departments and organizations: Office of Administration; Agriculture; Banking and Securities; Community and Economic Development; Corrections; Education; General Services; Health; Drug and Alcohol Programs; Insurance; Military and Veterans Affairs; Human Services; PA State Police; Transportation; PA State System of Higher Education; PA Turnpike Commission; PA Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (PA VOAD); and American Red Cross.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Individuals most at risk for severe symptoms include elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
You are reminded to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
- If you are sick, you should stay home until you are feeling better.
To date, there are nearly 128,000 cases worldwide, including more than 4,700 deaths. There are 1,323 cases and 38 deaths to date in the United States. The department expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. The department also said due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19 around the world, it is important for families to be prepared.
The Wolf Administration Preparedness Actions
The World Health Organization first announced the coronavirus outbreak in late January and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has had its Department Operations Center operating since February 1. The center allows for a collaborative, concentrated state response, including:
- Maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
- Reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans to prepare for spread of COVID-19;
- Provided symptom monitoring for residents returning from areas impacted by coronavirus;
- Provided health care providers, businesses and education providers with information;
- Begun testing for COVID-19 at the state laboratory;
- Increased testing capacity;
- Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration March 6 to ensure state agencies involved in the response have the expedited resources they need to continue to focus on the virus and its possible spread.
Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Outline COVID-19 Mitigation Guidance for Montgomery County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Health Take Aggressive Action to Stop Spread
Harrisburg, PA – One thing that won’t be shut down during the response to COVID-19… your utilities. Basic utilities will not be terminated due to lack of payment during the Proclamation of Disaster.
On Friday, March 13, 2020, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille signed an emergency order prohibiting electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utility terminations.
The moratorium will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6 related to the Coronavirus, is in effect.
Under the unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing a termination moratorium for utility services under the PUC’s jurisdiction is consistent with the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency and the requirements of the Public Utility Code. Under the order, terminations would be permitted in the event of a safety emergency.
“I believe that issuance of an emergency order is appropriate under the unique circumstances,” said the emergency order signed by Chairman Dutrieuille. “It is beyond argument that the provision of public utility service is necessary for the safety of the public. This is especially the case under the current challenges that resulted in the Proclamation of a pandemic emergency.”
Pursuant to the Commission’s regulations governing emergency relief, an emergency order will be issued only when there exists a clear and present danger to life or property or when the relief requested is uncontested and action is required prior to the next scheduled public meeting.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the
“Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.
DuBois, PA – Penn Highlands Jefferson Manor in Brookville and Penn Highlands Elk Pinecrest Manor in St. Marys, both a part of Penn Highlands Healthcare, are restricting visitors, as per the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for long-term care facilities.
This means no visitors are allowed unless there are emergency circumstances approved by nursing home administration. These restrictions are in place to protect residents and staff.
Also, Penn Highlands Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is limiting visitors to the babies’ parents. This will protect the littlest patients, families and staff.
DuBois, PA – Concerned or curious about how the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 is being handled in our area? Experts from Penn Highlands Healthcare will be the guests on this week’s Contact Show with Joe Taylor. Hear the program here.
The show will feature Sue Stiner, PH’s Director of Infection Prevention and Control, and Dr. Deepak Garg, an Infectious Diseases Physician.
They’ll cover how our communities are preparing for coronavirus and planning to stop or slow its spread. They’ll also explain what exactly the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is in comparison to the common flu, how it is spread, and everyday tips that you can put to use.
Dr. Shaun Sheehan, leader of the Penn Highlands COVID-19 Task Force, talks about the misconceptions about the illness and small steps you can take to lower your risk of infection. He says it comes down to washing your hands more often, not touching your face, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you feel sick.
You shouldn’t panic, but you do want to take it seriously. A big question has been why this specific coronavirus has been gaining so much attention, in comparison to other illnesses that might have higher fatality rates.
The main concern for COVID-19 is not necessarily that people will contract it… the vast majority of people are predicted to only see minor symptoms, maybe a very similar feeling to having the flu. However, if everyone is infected at once, even if the percentage of people who need to be hospitalized is relatively low, hospitals will simply not have enough beds, staffing, or resources to handle it.
Instead, experts say that if we practice good hygiene and stay home if we’re feeling sick, it will slow down the spread of the virus so not everyone gets hit with the illness at one time.
The elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the most at risk, but it’s all of our responsibilities to make sure that, even if we would be able to fight off the illness ourselves, to not spread the virus to someone who would be at risk of death if they caught it.
Just like you should be doing any time, you should continue washing your hands thoroughly and not touching your face.
Harrisburg, PA (AP) — Cases of the new coronavirus crept into a new county in Pennsylvania as Penn State and at least a dozen other schools moved classes online while St. Patrick’s Day parades in Philadelphia, Scranton and Pittsburgh were canceled.
Bucks County confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19. That helped boost the statewide total to at least 16 confirmed cases. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is telling state workers to avoid out-of-state business travel and large gatherings.
Philadelphia officials are urging people not to attend events of more than 5,000 attendees, and Penn State encouraged its 76,000 students to stay home the next three weeks.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health this morning confirmed one additional presumptive positive case of COVID-19 – a resident from Montgomery County,
bringing the statewide total to 11 presumptive positive cases. This resident is hospitalized.
The department also announced that it will hold a daily press briefing at PEMA headquarters at 1310 Elmerton Ave. in Harrisburg every day at noon to announce the latest efforts and updates on the commonwealth’s response to COVID-19.
“While we anticipate that there will be more Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks, it is important for residents to know the commonwealth is prepared and to be prepared themselves,” Dr. Levine said. “Right now, you have a higher chance of testing positive for COVID-19 if you have traveled to a country or state with known community outbreaks or have come in contact with someone who has the virus. We are working with the health care community across Pennsylvania to keep them informed, consult on patient testing and ensuring they have the resources they need to care for patients.”
The World Health Organization first announced the coronavirus outbreak in late January and the Pennsylvania Department of Health has had its Emergency Operations Center set up since February 1. The center allows for a collaborative, concentrated state response, including:
• Activated the Department of Health’s Emergency Operations Center to allow for enhanced response coordination;
• Begun testing for COVID-19 at the state laboratory;
• Maintained communication and outreach with federal, state and local partners;
• Provided symptom monitoring for residents returning from areas impacted by coronavirus;
• Provided health care providers, businesses and education providers with information;
• Reviewed and adapted current pandemic flu plans to prepare for spread of COVID-19;
• Increased testing capacity;
• Partially activated the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at PEMA.
• Governor Tom Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration March 6 to ensure state agencies involved in the response have the expedited resources they need to continue to focus on the virus and its possible spread.
• The Department of Health is providing a daily update via statewide press release.
• On March 9, Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine began to provide daily press briefings. Today’s press briefing will be at noon at PEMA.
To date, there are nearly 116,000 cases worldwide, including more than 4,000 deaths. There are 755 cases and 26 deaths to date in the United States. The department expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. The department also said due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19 around the world, it is important for families to be prepared.
Comments from State Health Secretary
“Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur. We encourage people to prepare for potential life disruptions. The same family emergency plans and kits that we use to prepare for flu or norovirus, and even snowstorms and floods, are important now.
“Since the start of flu season, we have encouraged Pennsylvanians to stop the spread of illnesses by washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are sick. Those are the same healthy habits you should continue to practice to protect your family and yourself against the spread of this virus.
“Individuals who intend on traveling outside of the United States are urged to check the CDC’s and the federal Department of State’s travel guidance. Currently there are outbreaks of COVID19 occurring within numerous countries across the world. The number of countries seeing new cases has increased significantly over the last week.
“As this situation evolves, we will continually update Pennsylvanians through our website, health.pa.gov, our Facebook page and our Twitter account,” Dr. Levine said. “It’s important to remember that the most accurate and timely information regarding this outbreak is available through the Department of Health.”