Tuesday May 19.2020

Photo by Judy Bliss Spaeth

CDC teams are working in PA “Hot Spots”…..State cases now 63,000+ ….region’s total holds steady but Cattaraugus County has increases…Osceola man accused of punching woman in face….Cell phone booster stolen in Elk County camp burglary

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sent three teams to Pennsylvania to assist with the COVID-19 response. The teams are assisting in the  response in the hardest-hit areas as we work to protect the public health and safety of Pennsylvanians.

These teams arrived in Pennsylvania on Thursday, May 14. Since then, they have been working to become familiar with the situation across the state so they can begin providing assistance to locations in need. There are two teams assisting long-term care facilities and one team assisting food facility outbreaks.

The CDC teams will be onsite in Pennsylvania for two weeks to help in the response using their expertise. These teams will help assess the situation, teach infection control practices, and offer training on personal protective equipment (PPE) and outbreak response at the facilities they visit. They will also assist with developing a testing strategy for the nursing homes they visit and use their expertise to help cohort residents.

Governor Tom Wolf has  announced that through the federal stimulus bills providers of COVID-19 testing and treatment services will be able to be reimbursed for providing those services to uninsured patients which means uninsured patients will not have to pay.

As of 12:00 a.m., May 18 p.m., there were 63,056 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide in 67 counties and 4,505 confirmed deaths.  The number of cases in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area stands at 30; 16 in Tioga County, 11 in McKean; 6 in Elk, 4 in Potter and 2 in Cameron. Elk, McKean and Tioga  counties have had one death each. Cattaraugus County in neighboring NY state has 44 cases and Allegany County has 44.  Most of the patients hospitalized are 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 and older. More data is available on the Department’s website.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 18, that there are 822 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 63,056. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.

There are 4,505 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 87 new deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are available hereOpens In A New Window.

There are 277,553 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.In nursing and personal care homes, there are 13,626 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,111 cases among employees, for a total of 15,737 at 561 distinct facilities in 44 counties. Out of thetotal deaths, 3,086 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. There have been no cases here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area.Approximately 4,479 of our total cases are in health care workers.For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov


Reps. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) and Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland) have introduced legislation to ensure the religious freedoms of Pennsylvanians of all faiths are protected during times of emergency declaration.“Our religious freedoms did not go away during COVID-19 and should not be affected by the current game of red light, green light,” Owlett said. “Thanks to the vague and often confusing guidance coming from this administration, our religious organizations must know – and have clarity – that they are able to worship as they see fit in the Commonwealth as guaranteed by our state and federal constitutions, especially in an emergency declaration.”

House Bill 2530 would bring clarity to the situation by amending the Religious Freedom Protection Act to state that no order issued during an emergency, or control measure issued under the Disease Prevention and Control Law, may impact the free exercise of religion in the Commonwealth.

“The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives us the rights of freedom of religion and to assemble,” Nelson said. “These rights are not guaranteed only some of the time. We have these rights always. While it is prudent to take extra steps during a pandemic to prevent the spread of disease, people should still be able to practice their religion in houses of worship if so desired.”

While the lawmakers believe the state’s houses of worship are already within their rights to gather as they see fit, their bill is designed to ensure beyond any doubt these religious gatherings will not be held to or requested to follow any arbitrary standards created by government.

State police at Mansfield have arrested a 50 year old Osceola man> whose name they did not release, for physical harassment. Authorities say they responded to a domestic violence incident allegedly occurring at around 4:30am on May 5 on Route 49 in Osceola Township. The suspect is accused of hitting a 48 year old Westfield woman one time in the face. He’s now facing charges in District Court

A camp burglary in Highland Township Rlk County is being investigated  by state police at Ridgway. Sometime between January 25 and April 21. Thieves apparently used a key to gain entrance to a camp on Ross lane owned by Robert Ross of Sarver, Pennsylvania, as there was no sign of forcible entry. However, a Verizon cell phone booster valued at $140 was stolen.

No one was hurt in a car deer collision occurring Sunday evening. In Deerfield  Township Tiogar County. State police say that a driver of a 2014 Buick LaCrosse was unable to avoid a deer which came on to Route 249. The driver swerved to miss the deer but was unsuccessful and the sedan hit a fence wire. Only minor damage was reported and the driver was not hurt, so it is technically considered a non reportable and the name  of the driver was not released.