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.

 

Monday May 18, 2020

Back Yard Hummingbird

Statewide total now more than 62,000…..McKean County increases to 11…..Coudersport state police investigate child endangerment cases….Suspect uses phony bill to pay Emporium business for bad check…Byrnendale man accused of terroristic threats…14 year old seriously hurt in ATV accident in McKean County…..

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 17, that there are 623 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 62,234. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. Here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area Tioga has 16; McKean has gone up to 11; Elk has 6 Potter 4 Cameron has 2. Elk; McKean; and Tioga Counties  have each recorded one death each. Across the border into New York State Cattaraugus  County has 65 cases and Allegany 44.

Today, Pennsylvania is reporting 4,418 total deaths, an increase of 15 new deaths. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the department’s website. There are 270,670 patients who have tested negative to date. Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. In nursing and personal care homes, there are 13,447 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,091 cases among employees, for a total of 15,447 at 558 distinct facilities in 45 counties. None here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area. Out of the total deaths, 3,057 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found on the department’s website.

Approximately 4,451 of the total cases are in health care workers.

Non-life-sustaining businesses in the red phase are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide through the remainder of the academic year. Currently, 37 counties, including all those in the Black Forest Broadcasting  Service  area in the yellow phase of reopening; 12 more will move to the yellow phase on May 22.

The 37 counties which are currently in yellow and include: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington and Westmoreland. 12 counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22. Those counties include Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and York.Pennsylvania is using  a three-phase matrix to determine when counties and/or regions are ready to begin easing some restrictions on work, congregate settings, and social interactions..

 

Stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.

Officials stress it is important that as many people as possible wear a nonmedical or homemade mask when leaving their homes.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Potter County Board of Commissioners will be held at 11 am Thursday, May 21. To participate, please call 814-274-0844; when prompted, enter 114477#.

The Commissioners say they  appreciate your understanding and cooperation during the state of emergency declared as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic .

Coudersport based state police have arrested Dennis Buck, no address given, for illegally transferring firearms and providing unsworn falsification to authorities. No further information was released.

A case of endangering the welfare of a child allegedly taking place between January 1 and 5 in the 400 block of Harrison Fox Hill Road in Harrison township remains under investigation. A known male suspect allegedly endangered the welfare of a child at that location during that period of time.

Troopers  also investigating harassment by physical contact allegedly occurring May 5, just after 5pm on Route 49 in Harrison Township, the victims are listed as girls ages six, seven, and five from Westfield.

Emporium based state police  say a known suspect paid L & M Lumber of Emporium with a worthless check And then when contacted, he allegedly made a payment with a fake $100 bill, on May 8. The discrepancy was not noticed until later in the day. Investigation remains open and formal charges may be made.

 Ridgway  based State Police have arrested 24 year old Ty Hahn of Byrenedale on a charge of terroristic threats. Troopers say when they responded to a domestic violence incident last  Friday morning on Garfield Street in Jay |Township at around 1am they found that Hahn had threatened to kill a 26 year old Byrnedale  woman and also had visible recent physical injuries. Hahn was taken into custody and placed in the Elk County Prison on a probation  detainer. Charges are pending in District Court.

State police at Lewis Run report a 14 year old Pittsburgh resident was seriously injured in an ATV accident Thursday afternoon in Hamilton township in McKean County. The  youth was operating an ATV on Mudlick  Road and he fell off injuring his right leg when it went out of control . When he hadn’t returned home family members began to look for the operator and he was located about 45 minutes after the accident. EmergyCare ambulance and Ludlow volunteer fire department assisted at the scene.The teen was  flown to UPMC Hamlet, where he is said to be in stable condition. Due to his age his name was not released.

 Both drivers escaped injury in a collision occurring last Thursday afternoon in Otto Township McKean County. According to state police at Lewis Run, the crash occurred on Route 46 near the intersection  with old Old Rew/Colville Road when a Ford Mustang operated by Christopher O’Connor of Smethport attempted to pass a Chevy Silverado driven by Jeffrey Switzer of Rew in a no passing zone, both vehicles were going south and the Mustang overtook the pickup truck and moved in front were struck the front driver side bumper, causing it to go out of control and off the west side of the highway before striking  a small ditch The car proceeded through a front lawn striking multiple  shrubs before  finally coming to arrest after colliding with a tree. Both drivers were unhurt.

 A 31 year old Eldred  woman has been charged with disorderly conduct for an incident allegedly taking place last Thursday night on Bennett Street in  that town. Police claim that when they responded to a domestic violence incident, they found that the woman had committed disorderly conduct against a 32 year old Eldred man. No further information was released.

And troopers at Lewis Ruin are investigating vandalism to several mailboxes along Highland Road in Kane. Last week, the investigation revealed that the mailboxes were damaged with a softball sized limestone rock. Troopers located in an area where the limestone was believed to have been taken from and further evidence was documented, so the investigation is continuing,  Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Lewis from barracks at 814.368.9230.

 

Friday May 15

Dr. Rachel Levine, PA Health Secretary admitted yesterday that she and her sister  had arranged to have their elderly mother moved out of a nursing home and into a hotel to avoid Covid-19. Apparently unrelated, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced this week that his office will be investigating nursing homes where there have been deaths.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 14, that there are 938 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 59,636. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. The number here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service area stands at 36—16 in Tioga, 8 in McKean; 6 in Elk, 4 in Potter and 2 in Cameron Counties. Elk, McKean and Tioga Counties have each had one death. Cattaraugus County NY now has 64 cases and Allegany County has 44.

Pennsylvania is reporting 4,218 total deaths, an increase from the 3,943 total deaths reported yesterday. There were 44 new deaths reported overnight; the remaining 231 were reported as a result of a reconciliation of data over the past several weeks. This means the department added 275 total deaths to the data. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the department’s website.

“As counties move from red to yellow, we need all Pennsylvanians to continue to follow the social distancing and mitigation efforts in place,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, which includes our seniors, those with underlying health issues, our healthcare workers and our first responders. I am proud of the work that Pennsylvanians have done so far, but we cannot stop now, we must continue to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from COVID-19.”

There are 251,559 patients who have tested negative to date.

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients aged 65 or older. All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 12,677 resident cases of COVID-19, and 1,922 cases among employees, for a total of 14,599 at 549 distinct facilities in 44 counties.None here in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service Area. Out of the total deaths, 2,896 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found on the department’s website.Approximately 4,217 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.govOpens In A New Window.

Non-life-sustaining businesses in the red phase are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide through the remainder of the academic year. Currently, 24 counties are in the yellow phase 13 more movefd  to the yellow phase on today.

 

Governor Tom Wolf has released an updated Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Risk-Based Decision Support Tool report for May 12. The administration has released two previous reports based on public data on May 1.The commonwealth is partnering with CMU to create this data-driven decision support tool that enables a balance between maximizing the results of our economy while minimizing public health risks.Qualitative and quantitative factors are taken into account in any decision made by the commonwealth and this tool provides one input the decision-making process. It helps the commonwealth better understand the current health and economic status, as well as the inherent risks and benefits to easing restrictions by sector and region.

The CMU metrics look at the impacts of risk factors such as reported number of COVID cases per population of an area; ICU and medical/surgical bed capacity; population density; population over age 60; and re-opening contact risk, such as the number of workers employed in a currently closed industry sector. The administration will continue to work with CMU to refine the tool as more information and data are available.

The CMU metrics are considered along with the county’s or region’s ability to conduct testing and contact-tracing to first and foremost maintain robust public health as well other economic factors.

 The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announces that statewide highway fatalities reached a new low in 2019, dropping to 1,059, the lowest since record keeping began in 1928 and 131 less than in 2018.

The number of unrestrained fatalities dropped from 398 in 2018 to 330 last year, the lowest it has been in the last 20 years. Other areas that saw significant decreases in 2019 were fatalities in aggressive driving crashes, fatal crashes involving a driver 65 years of age or older, and pedestrian fatalities:

There were 129 fatalities in aggressive driving crashes in 2018 compared to 95 in 2019;

Fatalities in crashes involving a driver 65 or older dropped from 330 in 2018 to 281 in 2019; and

Pedestrian fatalities decreased from 201 in 2018 to 154 last year.

Aside from the year-to-year decline, longer-term trends also continue to decrease. For example, compared to 2015, there were 141 fewer total traffic deaths, 83 fewer unrestrained deaths, and 42 fewer deaths in crashes involving impaired drivers.

While fatalities for most types of crashes were down for 2019, some types saw fatality increases in 2019:

There were 174 motorcyclist fatalities last year, up from 164 in 2018;

Fatalities involving stop-controlled intersections increased to 92 from 67 in 2018;

Fatalities in vehicle failure-related crashes increased from 45 to 52.

Despite the year-over-year increase, long-term trends for all three categories continue to decrease.

 

According to national data, over 90 percent of crashes are caused by driver behavior. For this reason, PennDOT focuses on data trends to drive enforcement and education improvements and invests approximately $18 million annually in federal grant funds statewide to support these behavioral safety programs.

In addition to behavioral safety, PennDOT focuses on infrastructure improvements to roadways in an effort to further reduce fatalities and serious injuries. More than $403 million in Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds were invested on 464 unique safety projects from 2015 to 2019. Another $50 million of state funds were invested in low-cost safety improvements at approximately 2,800 locations between 2014-2018. Examples of low-cost safety countermeasures include centerline and edge-line rumble strips and signing and pavement markings. There were approximately 11,000 miles of rumble strips added or replaced during this time.

For more information on reportable crash data, visit PennDOT’s Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool (PCIT) website, www.crashinfo.penndot.gov or for additional information on the department’s highway safety initiatives, visit PennDOT.gov/safety.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced that expiration dates for vehicle registrations and safety and emission inspections will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Deadlines on the following products will be extended effective May 12, 2020:

Vehicle registrations of all classes which includes, but not limited to, mass transit vehicle registrations, apportioned vehicle registrations, fleet vehicle registrations, dealer plate registrations, temporary registrations and biennial farm exemption certificates scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended through June 30, 2020.

Safety inspections and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended through June 30, 2020.

Persons with Disabilities parking placards scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended through June 30, 2020.

These extensions are in addition to those announced on May 1 related to driver’s licenses, photo ID cards, and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through May 31, 2020 – these products are also extended through June 30, 2020. A camera card is considered a driver’s license, so it is covered by the same terms and conditions extending other driver’s license products.

State Police at Mansfield have arrested a 32 year old Westfield man on charges of physical harassment for a fight occurring Sunday afternoon at a home on Route 349 in Clymer Township. Police say that the suspect, whose name they did not release, pushed his mother a 57 year old Wesfield woman to the ground during an argument and charges are being filed in District Court.

Ridgway based state police  21 year old Rylee Goetz  of Ridgway and 26 year old Kyle’s Smithof  Kersey, for  shoplifting at the St Mary’s Walmart Monday afternoon.  The couple made off with merchandise valued at $232 and 57 cents it include car speaker dog food, oranges, bananas, hot dogs, showerhead broom, cleaning products, and a shower caddy.  Charges are being filed in District Court.

The theft of a laptop computer from a home on Route 46 in Keating Township McKean County sometime between March 1 and 15th is being investigated by troopers at Lewis Run. several items were taken from a house on Route 46 including the silver Chrome Book laptop and a 16 inch Tablet.

A 17 year Smethport resident  14 and a 20 year old Res man have been arrested for drug possession. State Police  at Lewis Run, while on routine patrol yesterday at around 12:30am stopped  to check on the welfare of a motor vehicle on King Street and upon further investigation they allegedly found multiple occupants of the car were in possession of a controlled substance. The 17 year old and 20 year old were taken into custody for driving under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.

A 16 year old Duke Center boy has been charged with physical harassment for an altercation allegedly taking place early last Saturday morning at 54 Sweitzer Drive in Otto  Township. Police claim the teen hit 41 year old Edward Panighetti and  and 38 year old Megan Panigehtti of Duke Center during a disagreement.

A Galeton  driver escaped injury in a one vehicle crash Wednesday morning just after 11 o’clock on Charleston Road in Charleston Township Tioga County. State police said Billie Jackson was going east when her Ford Fusion went off the Road and traveled along the shoulder before hitting a ditch where it became disabled.  The car had to be towed from the scene.

A burglary occurring at a locked storage unit at Butters Stow and Go rental storage facility on rice road and route 660 in Charleston township is being probed by state police at Mansfield that occurred between April 29 and this past Tuesday. Criminals damaged two other storage unit locks after taking items out of a unit belonging to a 35 year old Westfield woman,  causing  $20 in damage in the process. Anyone with information is asked to call the Mansfield barracks at 570.662 2151.

Fire departments and other organizations are scrambling to make up some of the lost revenue from the cancellation of events due to the Conoravirus  and the Roulette Volunteer Fire Department is no exception. The department is having a chicken barbecue Saturday starting at 11am. Take-out or in town delivery only. $10 for a meal which includes the chicken, baked beans, macaroni salad and roll.

 

Additionally, limited services are available at some Driver License and Photo License Centers. For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visit www.dmv.pa.gov.

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; and driver license and photo ID duplicates. There are no additional fees for using online services.

PennDOT will continue to evaluate these processes and will communicate any changes with the public.