Two positive Cases of COVID-19 in Aliquippa School District

(File Photo)

Story By Beaver County Radio News Correspondent Sandy Giordano

(Aliquippa, Pa. ) LATE LAST FRIDAY, ALIQUIPPA SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT DR. PETER M. CARBONE  SAID THE DISTRICT WAS MADE AWARE  OF POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES, ONE IN THE FIFTH GRADE AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, AND ONE AT THE JUNIOR /SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL.. DR. CARBONE STATED IN A LETTER TO PARENTS THE POSITIVE CASES  WERE IN SCHOOL ON MONDAY, MAY 12, 2021. HE SAID THE DISTRICT IS FOLLOWING CONTACT TRACING PROTOCOLS , AND ADDITIONAL STAFF AND/OR STUDENTS HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED TO QUARANTINE. DUE TO THE CONTACT TRACING PROTOCOLS, GRADE 5 WILL BE COMPLETELY VIRTUAL BEGINNING TODAY, APRIL 19 UNTIL APRIL 23, 2021.

BOTH SCHOOLS BUILDINGS WERE THOROUGHLY CLEANED OVER THE WEEKEND..
DR. CARBONE URGES EVERYONE TO TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS  TO LIMIT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY..

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot
By HOPE YEN and JONATHAN MATTISE Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Half of all adults in the U.S. have now received at least one COVID-19 shot. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The announcement on Sunday marks another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign. It also leaves more work to do to convince skeptical Americans to roll up their sleeves. The CDC says almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4% of the total adult population. Almost 84 million people adults, or about 32.5% of that population, have been fully vaccinated.

Pennsylvania sounds alarm on vaccine hesitancy

Pennsylvania sounds alarm on vaccine hesitancy
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press
A growing number of unfilled appointments and low uptake among nursing home workers are early signs that vaccine hesitancy is becoming an issue in Pennsylvania. That prompted state officials to sound the alarm Friday and urge residents to get their COVID-19 shots as quickly as possible. After months of demand outstripping supply, vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are more readily available. The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf says the challenge now is to assuage the concerns of people who are reluctant to get it.

US REP. LAMB (17th) INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN BILL TO ENABLE VETERANS TO ADVANCE COVID-19 VACCINATION EFFORTS 

LAMB INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN BILL TO ENABLE VETERANS TO ADVANCE COVID-19 VACCINATION EFFORTS 

 

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) was joined by Representative Jenniffer González-Colón (PR-At Large), to introduce the bipartisan Supporting Education Recognition for Veterans during Emergencies (SERVE) Act.  The legislation will ensure that veterans’ service-connected medical qualifications and expertise are utilized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and civilian health care facilities to meet the challenges of the coronavirus public health emergency.  Lamb is reintroducing the bill in the 117th Congress to advance COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

“The race to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 has been a stark reminder of how unprepared we were for this global pandemic.  There is no better group than our veterans to help us fight to the finish,” said Lamb.  “Veterans have received the best training available and are eager to contribute when they return to civilian life.  This bill removes the obstacles to help veterans better serve our communities, especially as we ramp up the vaccination efforts nationwide to finally defeat COVID-19.”

“The SERVE Act seeks to capitalize on the skills and knowledge acquired by our veterans and use it to assist our country in times of national emergencies.  As it has become evident with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need to maximize every opportunity and asset at our disposal to combat this life-threatening virus.  Like my constituents, I am hopeful for the future and longing for a return to normalcy.  Still, pandemics and similar emergencies are always a looming threat and we must always be prepared.  I am confident this bill places us in a better position to respond to emergencies moving forward.  I am proud to be an original cosponsor, alongside my colleague Representative Conor Lamb, and look forward to working in a bipartisan manner to get it across the finish line,” said González-Colón.

The SERVE Act is supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Union Veterans Council (UVC) AFL-CIO and Team Rubicon.  These veterans service organizations (VSOs) cite veterans’ willingness to serve their communities again and have called upon Congress to provide improvements to the existing credentialing system to better recognize the medical skills of veterans.  To answer this call, the SERVE Act:

  • Directs the VA to identify veterans with former military medical occupation specialties and provide documentation of medical training and experience through a web portal, allowing veterans to provide contact information on a voluntary basis;
  • Allows the VA to share volunteered information from veterans with medical backgrounds with state veterans’ homes, state Departments of Veterans Affairs and Labor, VSOs, and state-credentialing bodies, to facilitate the credentialing process at the state-level for qualified veterans;
  • Permanently authorizes the Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) program, which is designed to hire former military corpsmen and medics into positions at VA Medical Centers; and
  • Requires a study on whether the existing ICT program can be replicated for other military medical specialties to expand pathways for transitioning service members and veterans.

“I applaud the bipartisan efforts of Reps. Lamb and González-Colón in introducing this important legislation,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO, IAVA.  “The SERVE Act introduction is timely given the need for health professionals during this pandemic.  There are hundreds of thousands of veterans with critical medical knowledge and experience.  They are an untapped resource and should not be kept on the sidelines.”

“Medical professionals have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for over 14 months now and they need support.  We have the ability to unlock a whole new workforce that is eager to serve.  There are hundreds of thousands of military veterans with extensive training and experience in emergency medicine who have no way to leverage their skills in a time of crisis,” said Jake Wood, CEO, Team Rubicon.   “The SERVE Act creates a pathway to allow these men and women to continue their service in times of need and get into the fight against COVID-19.”

“As veterans, we are wired to serve and are always ready to step up to the plate when our country needs us.  This bill not only helps to provide trained individuals to help administer and support the COVID-19 vaccination mission, but it will also provide a sense of service and purpose to so many of our nation heroes,” said Will Attig, Executive Director, Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO.

Click here to learn more about the SERVE Act.

Aliquippa Students Headed Back to the Classroom Full-time

(File Photo)

Story  by Beaver County Radio News Correspondent Sandy Giordano

(Aliquippa, Pa.) ALIQUIPPA SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT DR. PETER M. CARBONE ANNOUNCED THAT THE DISTRICT  HAS DECIDED TO ALLOW STUDENTS TO RETURN TO  FULL-TIME LEARNING, MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2021.   STUDENTS MAY  REMAIN  VIRTUAL IF THEY  DESIRE. IF  YOUR CHILD(ren) CHOSE TO REMAIN VIRTUAL, LET THE HOMEROOM TEACHER KNOW.   IF  VIRTUAL IS CHOSEN , THIS WILL BE UNTIL JUNE 10, 2021.

TEACHERS WILL CONTINUE TO GOOGLE CLASSROOMS. STUDENT TRANSPORTATION WILL CONTINUE BEING PROVIDED, AND BREAKFAST AND LUNCH WILL BE SERVED TO THE STUDENTS.
FOR SAFETY REASONS, STUDENTS AND STAFF WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS. SOCIAL DISTANCING WILL BE  ENFORCED TO THE GREATEST EXTENT POSSIBLE. WATER FOUNTAINS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE USED, AND STUDENTS  ARE ALLOWED TO BRING THEIR OWN WATER BOTTL;E TO SCHOOL, DAILY HEALTH ASSESSMENT IS NECESSARY. ANY CHILD EXPERIENCING FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS  SHOULD REMAIN HOME FROM SCHOOL. IF YOUR CHILD(REN) WOULD DEVELOP SYMPTOMS IN SCHOOL, AND YOU’RE CONTACTED, PLEASE  PICK UP THE CHILD(REN) ASAP.. IF YOU FEEL YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19, CONTACT THE SCHOOL NURSE.

Department of Aging Encourages Older Adults to Reach Out if COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assistance is Needed, Provides Resources Regarding Vaccines

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today continued to encourage older adults seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment to contact their local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for any assistance they may need in scheduling an appointment. The AAAs have been working with vaccine providers to arrange appointments for older adults eligible in Phase 1A of the commonwealth’s vaccine plan after the Department of Health (DOH) issued an amended order in March.

“Even though the Department of Health recently ramped up its timetable for all Pennsylvanians 16 and older to receive vaccinations, we continue to focus on our mission to get older adults their vaccines with AAAs assisting seniors as much as possible with navigating the vaccination process. While we’ve seen real progress in getting older adults the vaccines they need, more older adults need assistance. Any senior who needs help should not hesitate to reach out to their local AAA,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres.

In addition to working with vaccine providers to schedule appointments for older adults, AAAs may be able to help with arranging transportation if that is needed. Shared ride programs are available in every county and fixed-route transportation systems statewide offer accessible transportation. Older adults can use these services for assistance in getting to mass vaccination sites and any site where a vaccine is available to individuals, including pharmacies, hospitals and doctor’s offices. Free transportation to vaccinations may also be available for qualifying seniors.

The department is offering resources and guidance to help educate and protect older adults who are still looking to schedule their COVID-19 vaccine appointment. The following resources can be downloaded in English and Spanish from the Department of Aging’s website:

  • Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines
  • Protecting older adults from COVID-19-related scams
  • Clearing up misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine
  • General information on COVID-19 for older adults

Here is the phone number list for the local AAAs by region:

Northeast

  • Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna/Tioga Counties: 570-265-6121
  • Carbon County: 1-800-441-1315
  • Lackawanna County: 570-963-6740
  • Luzerne/Wyoming Counties: 570-822-1158
  • Monroe County: 510-420-3735
  • Pike County: 570-775-5550
  • Schuylkill County: 510-622-3103
  • Wayne County: 570-253-4262

Southeast

  • Berks County: 610-478-6500
  • Bucks County: 267-880-5700
  • Chester County: 610-344-6350
  • Delaware County: 610-490-1300
  • Lehigh County: 610-782-3034
  • Montgomery County: 610-278-3601
  • Northampton County: 610-829-4540
  • Philadelphia County: 215-765-9000

North Central

  • Cameron/Elk/McKean Counties: 814-776-2191
  • Centre County: 814-355-6716
  • Clearfield County: 814-765-2696
  • Columbia/Montour Counties: 570-784-9272
  • Lycoming/Clinton Counties: 570-326-0587
  • Northumberland County: 510-495-2395
  • Potter County: 814-544-7315
  • Union/Snyder Counties: 570-524-2100

South Central

  • Adams County: 717-334-9296
  • Cumberland County: 717-240-6110
  • Dauphin County: 717-780-6130
  • Franklin County: 717-263-2153
  • Fulton County: 717-485-5151
  • Huntingdon County: 814-643-5115
  • Mifflin/Juniata Counties: 717-242-0315
  • Lancaster County: 717-299-7979
  • Lebanon County: 717-273-9262
  • Perry County: 717-582-5128
  • York County: 717-771-9610

Northwest

  • Butler County: 724-282-3008
  • Clarion County: 814-226-4640
  • Crawford County: 814-336-1792
  • Erie County: 814-459-4581
  • Jefferson County: 814-849-3096
  • Lawrence County: 724-658-3729
  • Mercer County: 724-662-6222
  • Warren/Forest Counties: 814-723-3763
  • Venango County: 814-432-9711

Southwest

  • Allegheny County: 412-350-4234
  • Armstrong County: 724-548-3290
  • Beaver County: 724-847-2262
  • Bedford County: 814-623-8148
  • Blair County: 814-946-1235
  • Cambria County: 814-539-5595
  • Fayette/Greene/Washington Counties: 724-489-8080
  • Indiana County: 724-349-4500
  • Somerset County: 814-443-2681
  • Westmoreland County: 724-830-4444

Learn more about the various programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging here.

More COVID state shutdowns unlikely, despite CDC suggestion

More COVID state shutdowns unlikely, despite CDC suggestion
By DAVID A. LIEB Associated Press
A recent spike in coronavirus cases in some states has led one of the nation’s top health experts to suggest that governors could “close things down” like they did during previous surges. But that doesn’t appear likely to happen — not even in states led by Democratic governors who favored greater restrictions in the past. Governors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois all are reluctant to return to broad shutdowns. Colorado’s governor plans to turn decisions about public health orders over to local officials later this week. Officials are hoping vaccinations will help counter an increase in cases from new virus variants.

Wolf Administration Encourages All College Students to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Before the Semester Ends

Wolf Administration Encourages All College Students to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Before the Semester Ends

Harrisburg, PA – The Departments of Health (DOH) and Education (PDE) today encouraged all students at Pennsylvania colleges and universities to receive their COVID-19 vaccination before the semester ends. DOH and PDE officials are encouraging all institutions of higher education to work with local providers to ensure vaccination opportunities are available before students leave for the summer.

“As students are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage them to find a provider and get vaccinated before they travel back home at the end of the semester,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “We look forward to higher education institutions connecting with our provider network or the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partners to coordinate vaccination opportunities for their students.”

The DOH vaccine jurisdiction includes 66 counties across Pennsylvania, and everyone over 16 is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine – regardless of occupation, health conditions, residency, or citizenship. Students do not have to be a resident of Pennsylvania to receive the vaccine here.

“The COVID-19 vaccine will allow postsecondary institutions to provide more in-person learning and improve the safety of our campus communities for our students, faculty, and staff,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “I encourage all students enrolled in PA’s postsecondary institutions to take advantage of this available resource and get the vaccine before the semester ends.”

“There are safe and effective vaccines available, and we encourage all students to get vaccinated today. Even if students are concerned about not getting their second dose while at school, it is important to seek out the vaccine now and to later find the second dose if needed,” Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “When fully vaccinated, students can travel home safely knowing they are armed with the best protection against this virus. Even when vaccinated, it is important to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash hands frequently.”

To date, more than 6.6 million doses have been administered to more than 4.3 million people. You can find vaccine demographics in our vaccine dashboard here.

Students can visit the DOH vaccine map to find a provider nearest them or call the PA Health Hotline  at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) with questions.

While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient.

  • The Your Turn tool provides a way to register to be alerted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated.
  • commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
  • Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
  • All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.
  • Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
  • Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.
  • Frequently asked questions can be found here.

Allegheny Health Network Opens Dedicated Clinic for Patients Experiencing Longer Term Effects of COVID-19 Infection

Allegheny Health Network Opens Dedicated Clinic for Patients Experiencing Longer Term Effects of COVID-19 Infection

Pittsburgh, Pa (April 14, 2021) – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) announced today it has established one of the region’s first specialized clinics to address the unique health needs of patients recovering from moderate to acute cases of COVID-19 and experiencing its longer-term effects. The AHN Post COVID-19 Recovery Clinic is led by the Network’s pulmonary and critical care division and is based out of the Breathing Disorders Center at the AHN Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion.

“Across the country, physicians are witnessing an increasing number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 yet continue to deal with a myriad of issues from pulmonary, heart and vascular problems to chronic fatigue, headaches and post-traumatic stress disorder,” explained Tariq Cheema, MD, division director of pulmonary, critical care, sleep and allergy at AHN and physician lead at the clinic. “The ramifications of the pandemic will continue to be seen in this new patient population and we’re looking forward to helping these individuals diagnose their symptoms, navigate their treatment path and ease some of their concerns.”

A February study in JAMA by infectious disease specialists from the University of Washington in Seattle, (“Sequelae in Adults at 6 Months After COVID-19 Infection” doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0830) found that roughly 30 percent of 177 people who mostly had mild COVID-19 cases reported persistent symptoms up to nine months after illness; for surveyed participants over the age of 65 years, that number jumped to 43.3 percent. Overall, of the more than 28 million Americans diagnosed with COVID-19, it’s estimated that as many as 8.4 million people fall into the category commonly known as the “long-haulers.”

Across AHN, and in line with national findings, the coined “long-COVID” symptoms most often recorded include fatigue, shortness of breath, scarred lung tissue, cardiac or neurological complications and depression. In fact, in a recent report published in JAMA Psychiatry (“Association of Acute Symptoms of COVID-19 and Symptoms of Depression in Adults” doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.3223) researchers surveyed nearly 4,000 individuals with a prior COVID-19 diagnosis and found that more than half met the criteria for moderate or greater symptoms of major depressive disorder.

“We’ve seen former COVID-19 patients who’ve never smoked before with lung scans mirroring that of a lifelong smoker. We’re also noting increased cases of extreme fatigue, ongoing loss of smell/taste, heart inflammation and growing numbers of self-reported depression,” continued Dr. Cheema. “So as COVID-19 hospitalizations started to fall across the Network, we pivoted our focus to designing a multidisciplinary, strategic clinical team aimed at diagnostics, recovery and comprehensive care.”

Currently, the AHN Post COVID-19 Recovery Clinic engages caregivers from the cardiovascular, family medicine, behavioral health, pulmonary and critical care disciplines to create tailored treatment paths that help patients diagnose, manage and overcome related complications brought on by mild to severe COVID infections.

Pulmonologists Tiffany Dumont, MDBriana DiSilvio, MDJeffrey McGovern, MD, and Meilin Young, MD will work alongside Dr. Cheema to spearhead the effort. Specialty physicians at the clinic include  Indu Poornima, MD, cardiologist, Betsy Blazek-O’Neill, MD, integrative medicine, Amy Crawford-Faucher, MD, family medicine, Andrea Synowiec, MD and Kevin Kelly, MD, neurologists and Alicia Kaplan, MD, psychiatrist.

Patients can expect to work closely with an assigned nurse navigator to design and implement a purposeful care pathway to best manage their post-acute COVID syndrome and treat persistent symptoms. For patients at the clinic, treatment plans will vary but may include CT scans, cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation, medical therapies, mental health screenings and breathing exercises.

Although based out of AHN Health + Wellness Pavilion in Wexford, the clinic is available for patients throughout the region with participating clinicians positioned across Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Jefferson, Grove City and Saint Vincent hospitals. The clinic offers both telemedicine and in-person appointments.

The AHN Research Institute will also be actively engaged to systematically assess and analyze data collected from patient reports and outcomes.

“We anticipate the broad-range of patient cases to offer a special vantage point into the lasting impacts of the virus. As we rapidly synthesize this information, we’ll be able to better understand its epidemiology, have more data to inform treatment plans and gain more knowledge to share with our broader community. There’s still so much to learn and apply from this pandemic,” concluded Dr. Cheema.

The new clinic is open to anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and continues to experience symptoms after recovery. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 412-DOCTORS.