Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is asking residents to join him in following new temporary restrictive measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and continuing for a three week period until 8 a.m. on Monday, January 4th, those measures include the suspension of extracurricular school activities as well as the limiting of indoor gatherings or events to no more than 10 people and no more than 50 people for outdoor events.
Wolf also is suspending all indoor dining although take-out and outdoor dining will remain permitted. Indoor operations will also be suspended at a variety of indoor venues such as gyms and casinos. Finally, in person businesses that serve the public such as retail will be limited to 50% capacity.
Wolf states that his goal in taking this action is to stop the increasing spread of the virus, keep healthcare workers and facilities from being overwhelmed, and get safely through the holiday season which will be one step closer to the availability of a vaccine for everyone.
For up to date status on the COVID 19 crisis in Pennsylvania click the action button below
Good morning. The C.D.C. announces its suggested vaccine priorities, and we offer a timeline of when you can expect to get one.
The obvious question on many people’s minds is: When can I expect to be vaccinated? While there is still a lot of uncertainty, it’s possible to lay out a rough expected timeline. I’ve done so below, with help from public health experts and colleagues who are covering the virus.
December: Health care workers and nursing home residents will likely be the first people to receive the vaccine, as the panel recommended.
Up to 40 million doses could be available to Americans before the end of this year, from a combination of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines. That would be enough to vaccinate the three million people who live in long-term-care facilities, as well as most of the country’s 21 million health care workers.
January: Keep in mind that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a second dose a few weeks later to be effective. So an initial batch of 40 million doses would be enough to vaccinate only 20 million people.
By early next year, Pfizer and Moderna are likely to be able to ship about 70 million doses per month, Moncef Slaoui, a top federal vaccine official, told The Washington Post yesterday. People will likely receive the shots at doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies, as well as at specially created clinics in some places, my colleague Katie Thomas says.
February and March: The next priority groups are likely to be people over the age of 65 (and especially those over 75); people with medical conditions that put them at risk of death if infected; and essential workers, like those in education, food, transportation and law enforcement.
One exception to this second wave of vaccine recipients may be people who have already had the virus, making them immune from it for at least some period of time.
If other companies in addition to Pfizer and Moderna receive approval for their vaccines, the total number shipped each month could reach 150 million by March, Slaoui said.
April, May and June: The most likely scenario is that even people who don’t qualify as a priority — like healthy, nonessential workers younger than 65 — will begin receiving the vaccine by the spring. The vast majority of Americans could be vaccinated by early summer.
Once that happens, life will still not immediately return to normal, partly because the vaccines are not 100 percent effective. “There will still be risks to people,” as Caitlin Rivers, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, told me.
But those risks will be small compared with today’s risks. Treatments continue to improve, reducing the death rate for people who get the virus. And widespread vaccination will sharply reduce the spread, helping protect even people for whom a vaccine is ineffective. Rivers predicted that social gatherings will again be common and largely safe by the summer.
All things considered, the spring isn’t that far away, which is yet another reason for people to make extra efforts to avoid unnecessary risks — like eating inside restaurants and gathering indoors with friends — for the next few months.
Abby Goodnough is a national health care correspondent. She has also served as bureau chief in Miami and Boston, and covered education and politics in New York City. She joined The Times in 1993. @abbygoodnough
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says we all have to do our part if we want things to get better.
“This is a sobering look at reality. COVID-19 continues to impact our state and our country,” Dr. Levine said during a press conference Monday.
This after the state reported its highest-ever number of new coronavirus cases at 4,035 on Saturday. Dr. Levine said the cases aren’t just rising because they’re doing more testing, and pointed to the state’s rising percent-positivity, which sits at 7% statewide compared to 6% last week.
“We all need to take steps to prevent the spread of this virus and if we don’t, we put ourselves, our families and our communities and our health systems at risk,” Dr. Levine said.
The state reported over 6,000 new cases in the last 48 hours, and 530 of those cases are from Allegheny County.
“It’s unnerving,” said Wes Wise.
“I think it’s really concerning. I’m glad that I only work downtown two days a week,” said John Tribley.
The rising numbers begs the question of what is causing the increase in community spread.
“I don’t know if we are getting burnt out on the social distancing and masks and all that,” Wise said.
Wise isn’t far off. According to Dr. Levine, the mitigation efforts are still in play, but people aren’t being as honest about what they’re doing.
“Only 21 percent of people that were asked answered the question whether or not they frequented a business or large gathering. This percentage unfortunately continues to decrease,” Dr. Levine said.
She urged Pennsylvanians to answer the calls of contact tracers, who she said will leave a voicemail if people don’t answer their phone.
“More and more people are not providing the information we need as part of our case investigations,” Dr. Levine said.
She went on to say, “I cannot stress enough how absolutely critical this information is and how important it is to answer the call and participate fully in the case investigation and contact tracing process.”
Without that information and cooperation, Dr. Levine said there is not a clear picture.
“We might see an increase at a correction prison or a long-term care facility, but what we are mostly seeing is that there is just community spread. We can’t pinpoint it to one activity or one location. It’s prevalent in the community and it’s spreading,” Dr. Levine said.
There are now 47 counties on the state’s watch list and 52 have a percent-positivity rate higher than 5%. Levine is again calling on the public to be aware and mask up.
“The only way we are going to get this all under control is if we all get on the same page. We have to know what’s going on, who’s sick who isn’t, and where you’ve been,” Tribley said.
1- WEAR YOUR MASK
2-WASH YOUR HANDS
3-KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
4- SAVE YOUR NEIGHBOR'S LIFE; OR YOUR OWN
THE BIDEN PLAN TO COMBAT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND PREPARE FOR FUTURE GLOBAL HEALTH THREATS
For more information on Joe’s leadership during the Coronavirus pandemic, please visit here.
For more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the coronavirus, please visit here.
The American people deserve an urgent, robust, and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. That is why Joe Biden is outlining a plan to mount:
Governor Tom Wolf releases a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard .This website is up to date since the beginning of the pandemic.
The dashboard is designed to provide early warning signs of factors that affect the state’s mitigation efforts. The data available on the dashboard includes week-over-week case differences, incidence rates, test percent-positivity, and rates of hospitalizations, ventilations and emergency room visits tied to COVID-19.
One thing we know for certain is that:
“We need to recommit to the simple measures of mask-wearing and social distancing to stop the spread and go back to more freedoms.”
Each of these counties bear watching as the state continues to monitor all available data.
The Department of Health updates its travel recommendations, on a regular basis, to relate safety information regarding the states recommended for domestic travelers returning from; to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.
It is important that people understand that this recommendation is in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. A significant number of recent cases have been linked to travel, and if people are going to travel, we need them to take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community, and that involves quarantining.
Gov. Wolf continues to prioritize the health and safety of Pennsylvanians through the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvanians should continue to take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of the status of their county. This includes wearing a mask or face covering anytime they are in public. COVID-19 has been shown to spread easily in the air and contagious carriers can be asymptomatic.
Peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine corroborate the need for masks and the U.S. Surgeon General said that wearing a mask doesn’t impinge on our freedom – it gives us more freedom from unknowingly spreading COVID-19.
The state’s business guidance outlines mask-wearing requirements and additional safety parameters for both employees and customers.
Read more on Gov. Wolf’s Process to Reopen PA here.
It appears that many Columbia County citizens are not wearing masks in public places. It is important to know that the number of infected people in our county has begun to rise again after weeks of being stable. Do not believe the mythical reason for this up-tick is because of more testing. It is a lie promulgated by inept and scared politicians.
Governor Wolf unveiled a plan for Pennsylvania's COVID-19 recovery. It includes the following issues:
Student Loan Debt
Individuals Who Have Been Furloughed, Laid Off, or Have Reduced Hours
Students and Families
Relief for Businesses
Department of Revenue
Department of Community and Economic Development
Banks and Mortgage Servicers
Federal CARES Act
Relief for Health Care Systems and Providers
Recovery for Pennsylvanians
Recovery for Businesses
Recovery for Health Care Systems and Providers
The Wolf administration has created one of the most sensible, comprehensive and economically feasible plans in the United States. The Columbia County Democratic Committee wishes all citizens a safe and successful future as we dig our way out of this unprecedented time.
Update on Coronavirus Impact in PA
Information about the presence and spread of coronavirus here in the Commonwealth is quickly and constantly changing. To help you keep up-to-date on the information that matters most to you, I put together a page of online resources that includes links to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as news about school closures, PennDOT information and more.
Coronavirus 101 - What is it and how do I protect myself?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. Symptoms of 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.
The CDC and PA Department of Health (DOH) suggest some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and others:
" Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
" Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
" Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
" If you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
Why did the governor close our schools and businesses?
Information from the World Health Organization, the CDC, DOH and others, clearly show that coronavirus has been taking a toll on countries around the globe and is now having wide impact across the United States. Cases have been reported throughout the state, with our first coronavirus-related death occurring this past week. More than 100 have died across the nation, and more than 8,000 worldwide according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The vast majority of people afflicted with COVID-19 recover; however, it is especially dangerous for senior citizens and others with compromised immune systems. The closures outlined by the governor are designed to help prevent the spread of the virus to protect those vulnerable populations using the concept of "social distancing" - simply keeping people apart so as not to pass the virus from one person to another. Since a person may be a carrier of the virus for as long as two weeks without displaying any symptoms, simply telling people to stay home if they are not feeling well is not enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Currently, grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations are among the businesses that may remain open, as well as bars and restaurants offering take-out or delivery services (no dine-in service is permitted). Businesses that must be closed, based on the governor’s guidance, include things like hair and nail salons, gyms, theaters and sports venues. With regard to businesses, the governor has urged nonessential businesses (which he defines as things like hair and nail salons, gyms, theaters and sports venues) to close to help create social distancing, but as yet has not issued an emergency order. He has ordered bars and restaurants to discontinue dine-in services, but they may offer pick-up, take-out or drive through service. Even before businesses were urged to close temporarily, many had seen a significant drop in traffic, affecting both their bottom line and in many cases, that of their employees. For more information concerning unemployment compensation for EMPLOYEES, click here. For more information concerning EMPLOYER unemployment relief, click here.
As suggested by the CDC, it is important we all stay calm, limit unnecessary travel and interactions with others, wash our hands, pay attention to how we are feeling and be patient. The House was in session earlier this week to vote on a rules change that will allow us to cast votes on legislation remotely if necessary. We will be looking at legislation to address unemployment needs, business assistance and more.
We will try to stay current on updates to how Federal, State and local governments are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis
these sites are the best starting places:
Information for Businesses Affected by the State Closure Order:
Updated FAQs about "Life sustaining" business://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/business-faq
Unemployment Compensation Updates for Workers Impacted by COVID-19
Other Information by Departments:
FEDERAL AND OTHER RELATED RESOURCES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
It is a wise move to contact (by phone,text, email etc.) any stores you intend to visit to discover if they are open, will take orders by phoned in credit card information and if they will deliver to your vehicle.