Virus-afflicted 2020 looks like 1918 despite science’s march

Virus-afflicted 2020 looks like 1918 despite science’s march
By CALVIN WOODWARD Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Science has ticked off some major accomplishments over the last century. The world learned about viruses, cured various diseases, made effective vaccines, developed instant communications and created elaborate public-health networks. Yet in many ways, 2020 is looking like 1918, the year the great influenza pandemic raged. Like then, science is unable to crush an insidious yet avoidable infectious disease before hundreds of thousands die from it. In 1918, no one had a vaccine, treatment or cure for the misnamed Spanish flu as it ravaged the world and killed more than 50 million people. No one has any of that for the coronavirus now.

Pa. State Rep. Aaron Bernstine on Teleforum Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.

(Beaver Falls, Pa.) Tune into 1230 WBVP, 1460 WMBA, 99.3 FM, and Tuesday May 5, 2020 at 9:10 a.m. during Teleforum with Frank Sparks for a special interview with PA State  Representative (R-10) Aaron Bernstine.

Bernstine will provide updates on what the State House is working on this week. He will also talk about Gov. Wolf’s decision to keep the South West Region of Pa. In the Red phase. Aaron will also be available to answer your questions by calling 724-843-1888 and 724-774-1888.

Nearly 1 Million Pennsylvanians Have Applied for a Mail-In Ballot for June 2 Primary Election 

Nearly 1 Million Pennsylvanians Have Applied for a Mail-In Ballot for June 2 Primary Election

Harrisburg, PA – Nearly one million voters have applied for a mail-in ballot for the June 2 primary election, Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced today in an update on how the state is preparing for the election.

“We are in an unprecedented time and are facing a major public health crisis in a presidential election year,” said Governor Wolf. “I want Pennsylvanians to know that they have options for how to cast their ballots, including both voting by mail and voting in person. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and Pennsylvanians can still cast their ballots while keeping themselves safe and healthy.”

Mail-in ballots are new to Pennsylvania because of Act 77 of 2019, which Governor Wolf signed last year as part of the state’s most sweeping election law improvements in 80 years. The law created the option of mail-in ballots with no excuse needed, along with later deadlines for voter registration and for returning mail-in and absentee ballots.

“Our priority is to ensure the integrity of our elections while also keeping Pennsylvania voters safe,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “Voting by mail-in ballot is a secure way to vote from the comfort of your own home and to make sure that your voice is heard on election day.”

The Department of State has seen a significant increase in mail ballot application requests since the onset of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. To date, 948,831 applications have been submitted for mail-in and absentee ballots.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, in March the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed, and Governor Wolf signed Act 12 of 2020, which rescheduled the primary election and made additional changes in the process for voters as well as county election officials.

Registered voters have until 5:00 PM, May 26 to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot and until 8:00 PM on election day to return their voted ballot. Voters who applied for a ballot before the change of election date do not need to apply again, but voters whose address has changed should contact their county election office.

Act 12 also allows counties to temporarily consolidate polling places more easily as they work to relocate voting sites, including those in locations such as senior centers. The Department of State is working with counties as they develop their consolidation plans to ensure that convenient, accessible locations will remain, and the public is informed where locations will change.

To assist counties during this extraordinary time, the Wolf Administration will provide counties with federal funds from the recent CARES Act and from a prior appropriation on election security and technology. Counties will be able to use this funding to send informational mailings to voters, purchase equipment and protective supplies, promote and facilitate mail-in voting, increase needed staffing, and take other actions to improve election administration and voting safety and security.

Additionally, the Department of State is procuring precinct infection-protection kits so poll workers can maintain a safe voting environment at polling locations on June 2. These kits will include masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, floor-marking tape and other sanitizing supplies and will be provided to the counties at no cost

The Department of State has launched an awareness campaign, including sending 4.2 million postcards to primary voters to inform them about the new primary election date and how to apply for a mail-in ballot. The department is also working closely with counties to ensure that voters, poll workers, and election officials have the resources they need to be ready for election day.

For more information on the new mail-in ballots and all things related to voting in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit

“COVID Cuture” Leads To On Air Church Services. Tune In Today!

(Beaver County, PA) A new way of doing things has become the norm.  We now wear masks in public even on days when it’s not Halloween.  We call ahead or order supplies online for curbside pickup. We patiently wait outside for someone to leave a store, so we can then enter. We watch and listen to sports broadcasts that actually happened years ago.  It’s called “COVID Culture”, and one of the most  wide sweeping aspects of this forced lifestyle is tuning to the radio on Sundays to engage in church and faith activities.   For almost two months now, reaction to the coronavirus pandemic continues to force the suspension or cancellation of large gatherings, including worship services across Pennsylvania.  Along that line, WBVP, WMBA and 99.3 F.M. are pleased to be a part  of the new “COVID Culture” and provide a way for worship to still be a part of Sunday even though the sanctuaries are closed . Local listeners and parishioners can tune in to WBVP. WMBA, 99.3 F.M. and the Beaver County Radio live online audio stream to six different local church and faith based programs this Sunday.

The Line Up For Sunday May 3, 2020:

The day starts off with “Sounds of Faith”, a two hour inspirational segment  of worship and praise music that airs from 7 until 9 A.M.

At 9 A.M.  live Sunday Mass from St. Monica Catholic Parish in Chippewa will still take place even though the church is closed to the public.

St. Monica Catholic Parish, Chippewa Township worship site.

Then at 10 A.M., A recorded broadcast of “Christian Dimensions” with Aliquippa native, Jackie Billingslea-Davis, will offer worship from a Jewish perspective.

As in previous weeks, The Soma Gathering in Beaver Falls is again sponsoring the 10:30 A.M. slot featuring Pastor Jan Davis from Central United Methodist church in Beaver Falls, who will engage with listeners via a recorded sermon.

At noon, Senior Pastor Cliff Reynolds from Word Alive church in Ellwood City will be featured with a recorded message entitled “Arc of Safety”  The Word Alive broadcast is sponsored by Hamilton Tool and Supply in Beaver Falls.

Word Alive Church in Ellwood City. Photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds, Word Alive Church.

Finally, from 1 to 2 P.M., a special live broadcast will be aired from The New Galilee Church of the Nazarene featuring Pastor Andy Russell speaking from the “drive in church” pulpit.  Much like the old drive in movies of years past, Pastor Russell plans on preaching from the parking lot and inviting people to pull up, park, and tune the car radio in to 1230 WBVP, 1460 WMBA or 99.3 F.M. to hear his special  Sunday message.

All six segments will air on WBVP,  WMBA,  99.3 F.M. and The Beaver County Radio Live Audio Stream.

Will Beaver County Re-open Next Friday May 8, 2020? No!! According to Gov. Wolf’s Plan

Gov. Wolf Announces Reopening of 24 Counties Beginning May 8

Harrisburg, PA – Balancing economic benefits and public health risks, Governor Tom Wolf today announced the reopening of 24 counties in the northwest and north-central regions of the state, moving them from red to yellow beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, May 8.

“Over the past two months, Pennsylvanians in every corner of our commonwealth have acted collectively to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “We have seen our new case numbers stabilize statewide and while we still have areas where outbreaks are occurring, we also have many areas that have few or no new cases.”

Counties Moving to Yellow Reopening
The 24 counties that will move from red to yellow on May 8 are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.

These counties were deemed ready to move to a reopening – or yellow phase – because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread.

Decision Process
The administration partnered with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create a Risk-Based Decision Support Tool that enables decision makers to strike a balance between maximizing the results of our economy while minimizing public health risks.

The CMU tool looked 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; re-opening contact risk, such as the number of workers employed in a currently closed industry sector.

The CMU metrics were considered along with the county’s or region’s ability to conduct testing and contact-tracing to first and foremost maintain robust public health.

The Department of Health developed testing and contact-tracing plans that informed today’s decisions and will be used in making decisions moving forward. Factors include: having enough testing available for individuals with symptoms and target populations such as those at high risk, health care personnel, and first responders, and the ability to perform robust case investigation and have in place a contact-tracing infrastructure that can quickly identify a cluster of outbreaks to issue any necessary isolation and quarantine orders.

All reopening decisions follow the six standards outlined in the governor’s plan to reopen Pennsylvania. These include adhering to:

• Data-driven and quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopening.
• Clear guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities and providers for assured accountability.
• Adequate and available personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing.
• A monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
• Protections for vulnerable populations such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
• Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations.

“Our goal since this pandemic was first identified in Pennsylvania has been to save lives while ensuring that the public health system does not become overwhelmed with people suffering from COVID-19,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Our contact tracing and testing plans will ensure that as we begin to resume our daily activities, we can do so safely and without fear.”

While both Gov. Wolf and Dr. Levine cautioned that we cannot be certain of the path of the virus, all decisions on partial reopening are driven first by prioritizing the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.

Defining the Yellow Phase
As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place.

On Monday, May 4, the administration will release guidance for businesses permitted to reopen on May 8 in these 24 counties. The guidance is being developed through collaboration with the affected counties, Team PA, the Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Labor & Industry, among others. Guidance will build on existing safety and building safety orders released in April.

Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
• Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
• Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
• Child Care Open Complying with Guidance
• Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
• Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction

Social Restrictions
• Stay at Home Order Lifted for Aggressive Mitigation
• Large Gatherings of More than 25 Prohibited
• In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
• Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
• Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only

All businesses not specifically mentioned as restricted from reopening may reopen if they follow the forthcoming guidance.

Moving Forward
Gov. Wolf stressed the need for all Pennsylvanians to now, more than ever, take personal responsibility for their actions.

“Every human-to-human contact is a chance for the virus to spread, so more contacts mean a higher likelihood of an outbreak,” Wolf said. “If we see an outbreak occur in one of the communities that has been moved to yellow, we will need to take swift action, and revert to the red category until the new case count falls again. So, Pennsylvanians living in a county that has been moved to the yellow category should continue to strongly consider the impact of their actions.”

Counties that will remain under the stay-at-home order will be considered for reopening in the next several weeks as the state continues to closely monitor metrics and collaborate with CMU, health experts and counties.

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 5/01/20: Beaver County Up 21 Cases and 2 Deaths

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,208 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 46,971

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 1, that there are 1,208 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 46,971. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.

Today, the department reported 62 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 2,354 in Pennsylvania. County-specific information and a statewide map are available here.

Locally in Beaver County we are up 21 cases since yesterday to 426 cases. 2085 people have tested negative and the county has two new deaths and stands at 67.

In the 3 Nursing homes in the county that are reporting positive cases there is 274 positive cases. There is an increase of 18 positive cases since yesterday 23 employees have tested positive, an increase of 1 and there are 2 additional deaths as the death toll is at 60

“As we see the number of new COVID-19 cases continuously change across the state that does not mean we can stop practicing social distancing,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families and our community. If you must go out, please make as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but others. We need all Pennsylvanians to continue to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our health care workers and frontline responders.”

There are 180,477 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Nearly 1% are aged 0-4;
  • Nearly 1% are aged 5-12;
  • 1% are aged 13-18;
  • Nearly 6% are aged 19-24;
  • Nearly 38% are aged 25-49;
  • 27% are aged 50-64; and
  • Nearly 27% are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available here.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 8,478 resident cases of COVID-19, and 1,097 cases among employees, for a total of 9,575 at 474 distinct facilities in 44 counties. Out of our total deaths, 1,560 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here.

Approximately 2,878 of our total cases are in health care workers.

All non-life-sustaining businesses are ordered to be closed and schools are closed statewide through the remainder of the academic year. Currently the entire state is under a stay-at-home order.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, April 30:

For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.

US Steel expects to lay off 2,700 as virus reduces demand

US Steel expects to lay off 2,700 as virus reduces demand
PITTSBURGH (AP) — One of the nation’s biggest steelmakers expects to lay off roughly 2,700 employees as the demand for iron and steel drops during the coronavirus pandemic. Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel announced its plans Thursday. That’s the same day it reported a first-quarter loss of $391 million. The company had about 27,500 employees as of last year. It did not say where the layoffs would be but said it will also temporarily idle two blast facilities. They are in Gary, Indiana, and outside Pittsburgh. The firm has now idled seven out of its 10 blast furnaces in the U.S.

PennDOT Extends Expiration Dates on Driver Licenses, ID Cards, and Learner’s Permits


PennDOT Extends Expiration Dates on Driver Licenses, ID Cards, and Learner’s Permits

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, and learner’s permits, will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Effective April 30, 2020, expiration dates for driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through May 31, 2020, are now extended through June 30, 2020.

These extensions are in addition to those announced on March 27.

Additionally, all Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers and the Harrisburg Riverfront Office Center in Pennsylvania are closed until further notice effective close of business on Monday, March 16.

As a reminder, customers may complete various transactions and access multiple resources via the Driver and Vehicle Services website, 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; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

More COVID-19 information is available at For more information, visit or

NASCAR to resume season May 17 with seven races in 10 days

NASCAR to resume season May 17 with seven races in 10 days
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR will resume its season without fans starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The premier Cup Series will then race three more times in a 10-day span, with one more at Darlington and then two at the track outside Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR joins the UFC as the first major sports organizations to announce specific return to play plans since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March.