Gov. Wolf Outlines Plans to Create Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps to Support Fall COVID-19 Recovery Efforts
Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvania plans to safely reopen the economy and recover from COVID-19, Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector.
“Our highest priority remains protecting public health and safety, but we must also look ahead to see how we can address future needs. To reopen our economy to its maximum potential, we will need to boost our ability to contain this highly transmissible virus,” Governor Wolf said. “The Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps will serve as a public service program that will expand our ability to conduct contact tracing and testing and mobilize Pennsylvanians to contain COVID-19.”
The Wolf Administration’s continued measured and careful efforts to reopen Pennsylvania will depend on our ability to expand the availability of COVID-19 testing and develop a robust infrastructure to conduct surveillance and contact tracing. This work will allow Pennsylvanians to effectively monitor and respond to new cases and quantify mitigation efforts. It will help our phased reopening efforts while ensuring that the health care system does not become overwhelmed and that the transmission of disease continues to slow.
As Pennsylvania plans to ramp up these efforts in the coming months, the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps would bring these efforts to fruition by:
- Partnering with local public health agencies, community organizations, and the nonprofit community to expand Pennsylvania’s existing testing and contract tracing initiatives;
- Leveraging additional resources to fund testing and contact tracing initiatives;
- Exploring creative ways to recruit experienced Pennsylvanians with health care and public health experience to support this initiative; and
- Coordinating existing resources deployed by the commonwealth, including community health nurses and county health departments who are currently conducting testing and contact tracing throughout the state.
The Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps will also provide for a unique opportunity for Pennsylvania to recruit and train COVID-19-impacted dislocated and unemployed workers into public service for contact tracing roles, which would address Pennsylvania’s health and economic needs.
To foster this new workforce, the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps would:
- Engage partners in the workforce development system, existing allied health training programs, and AmeriCorps programs to build and strengthen a public health workforce across the commonwealth;
- Leverage existing workforce development resources to recruit, train, and connect the public health workforce with employment opportunities; and
- Engage public health and health care employers to connect trained workers with long-term career opportunities.
“We have all made many sacrifices throughout this crisis and all we share a desire to move forward toward a healthier, safer and more prosperous future,” Governor Wolf said. “Through this public service initiative, Pennsylvanians will have opportunities in the months ahead to join a collective effort to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic a stronger commonwealth.”
New cases below 1,000 for 4th straight day in Pennsylvania
By MARC LEVY and MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is reporting below 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus for the fourth straight day, the longest such streak since the daily reports of new cases first reached four figures in early April. Cases tallied in the two months since Pennsylvania reported its first positive test now number more than 51,840, according to Wednesday’s figures from the state Department of Health. That’s an increase of 888 from Tuesday’s figures. The state reported 94 more deaths, bringing the statewide total to 3,106. All told, about 2% of the population has been tested. About one-fifth of those tests were conducted in the past week.
Locally in Beaver County we are at 471 positive cases an increase of 5 since yesterday. 2291 people have tested negative in the county and the county is up 3 deaths to 76. All 3 Deaths being reported in nursing homes in the County.
In the 3 nursing homes that are reporting positive cases in the county there are now 307 positive cases an increase of 2 since yesterday. Employee cases are up 1 to 24 and the death toll has increased by 3 to 69.
(Beaver Falls, Pa,) Tune into 1230 WBVP, 1460 WMBA, 99.3 FM, and beavercountyradio.com at 3:30 p.m. today for a virtual press conference with Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. They will provide an update on the coronavirus known as COVID-19 and efforts to mitigate the virus in Pennsylvania.
We will have full coverage of the Governor’s Press Conference at 3:30 p.m. Courtesy of Common Wealth Media Services.
BEAVER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY ANNOUNCES DRIVE-THRU PET FOOD DISTRIBUTION EVENT
(Aliquippa, PA )–Beaver County Humane Society is hosting a drive-thru pet food distribution event this Friday, May 8, 2020 from 9 AM to 3 PM. Supplies are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; therefore, pet owners in need must pre-register at https://beavercountyhumanesociety.org/drive-through-pet-food-distribution After registering, pet owners will be provided with the location of and an assigned time to arrive at the distribution event. Participants must be pre-registered to attend. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many families in our community who struggle to feed themselves also face the challenge of feeding their pets. “As we watch the lines at local food panties grow, BCHS has seen an increase in calls to our pet food pantry as well,” said Susan Salyards, Executive Director. “We are pleased to serve as the Western PA hub for GreaterGood.org who is working on a national level to provide pet food and supplies for disaster response and providing the food for this event.” Friday’s distribution will occur as a no-contact drive-thru pick up, and individuals will be asked to stay in their cars as food is loaded into their vehicle by BCHS’ staff members and volunteers. For the safety of all involved, staff and volunteers will wear face masks and gloves. Those who are picking up food are asked to wear a face covering of some kind as well. To make a donation so that the Pet Food Bank can continue to support the pets and people who need it most: items can be purchased directly from the shelter’s Amazon Smile Wish List and shipped directly to BCHS; items can be dropped off at the shelter from 11 AM to 3:00 PM. Although the shelter is closed to the public, donation bins are outside of the shelter’s main entrance, weather permitting. Monetary donations can be made securely at https://beavercountyhumanesociety.org/donate.
US senators seek probe of veterans homes after virus deaths
By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER Associated Press
A group of U.S. senators is seeking an investigation into the Department of Veterans Affairs’ oversight of homes for aging veterans amid a spate of coronavirus deaths at the state-run homes. The senators on Tuesday asked the Government Accountability Office to look into the VA and states’ roles in ensuring veterans get proper care at the homes. They also want to know whether the agency or states have a system to “capture real time spikes in mortality rates.” Their request comes as outrage builds over the death of more than 70 veterans sickened by the coronavirus at a home in Massachusetts.
(Beaver County, Pa.) The Beaver County Commissioners will resume having weekly Work Session Meetings starting today at 10:00AM. The Meeting will not be open to the public. There will be a live stream available to view on the Commissioners’ portion of the County’s website. Beaver County Radio will have full coverage of the work session starting with the noonday report.
The Commissioners will also make their monthly appearance on “Ask the Commissioners” tomorrow morning at 9:10 a.m.
(Monaca, Pa.) Faith Restoration Food Pantry in Monaca is Beaver County’s largest Food Pantry and they are in desperate need for help. The pantry typically serves 300 people each week, it is now trying to feed more than 1,000.
Faith Restoration’s is running dangerously low on meat and staples.
With the increasing number of people waiting in line for hours at times they have had to turn some people away.
The food pantry has set up a GoFundMe account asking for any type of donation.
Why has toilet paper run out during the pandemic?
The Associated Press undefined
Why has toilet paper run out during the pandemic? Blame the empty shelves on hoarders who stockpiled toilet paper. During a two-day period in March, online and in-store sales shot up 845% as states announced lockdowns, according to a data and consulting firm. Since toilet paper is bulky and not profitable, retailers don’t keep a lot of inventory on hand. That made it hard to keep up with surging demand. Demand has since softened and retail chains like Kroger are limiting the number of rolls customers can buy at once.
Pennsylvania tops 3,000 virus deaths as data are reconciled
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, MARC LEVY and MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania has reported another 554 deaths from the coronavirus to pass 3,000 total, and Gov. Tom Wolf says he isn’t committing to a particular schedule to lift stay-at-home restrictions in the state’s counties or regions. The large number of new deaths reported Tuesday by the state Department of Health were spread out over the previous two weeks. It comes as case growth appears to slow in many parts of Pennsylvania and Wolf’s administration moves to lighten its restrictions on movement and business activity. Wolf maintained Tuesday that he would stick to a reopening process that relies on what he sees as indicators tied to safety.
(WASHINGTON, DC) – United States Representatives Conor Lamb (PA-17) and Mike Doyle (PA-18) sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services urging them to immediately increase the frequency of inspections of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, especially for those facilities already on provisional licenses or facilities handling COVID-19 outbreaks.
“The coronavirus is having a devastating impact on our senior community and their families,” said Lamb. “Nowhere has that impact been felt more painfully than at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County. The current CMS inspection cycle of 9-15 months is inadequate to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19. We need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect our seniors, including increasing the frequency and intensity of inspections.”
“Seniors are the group most at risk from the coronavirus, and senior care facilities have proven to be places where COVID-19 can spread rapidly,” Doyle observed. “The Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center provides a terrible example in our region of the need to do better at protecting the health of residents in such facilities. I believe that more frequent inspections – along with additional resources for testing, treatment, and personal protective equipment – would go a long way towards ensuring that senior care facilities live up to their responsibilities to protect their residents from deadly threats like COVID-19.”
In addition to sending this letter to CMS, Lamb and Doyle have also joined many of their colleagues in advocating for additional protections for seniors. On April 15, they joined more than 70 Members of Congress in a letter calling for the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS to collect and publicly report facility-level data on the number of long-term care residents affected by COVID-19, including cases and fatalities. On May 4, Lamb and Doyle joined with other Members of Congress to request that a portion of the $25 billion emergency funding appropriated by Congress as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act be allocated to states specifically for the development, purchase, administration, or provision of COVID-19 diagnostic tests for long-term care facilities.