PA restrictions lifted soon, other COVID news
For many business owners in Pennsylvania, this weekend marks the final stretch before state restrictions on them are lifted. In mid-December, Gov. Tom …
For many business owners in Pennsylvania, this weekend marks the final stretch before state restrictions on them are lifted. In mid-December, Gov. Tom Wolf announced temporary enhanced mitigation measures in response to record levels of the coronavirus in the commonwealth. Most notably, restaurants and bars were prohibited from allowing indoor dining, and indoor fitness and entertainment centers were barred from operating. Gov. Wolf recently addressed Pennsylvanians and said that with COVID-19 numbers flattening the past couple of weeks, these restrictions will be lifted on time, at 8 a.m. on Monday. Other restrictions, like mask-wearing requirements and size-gathering limits will remain in place.
While restrictions will soon be lifted, the PA Department of Health is continuing to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the department’s dashboard, more than 500 residents in Wayne and Pike county residents have received the vaccine as of January 1. Phase 1 of vaccine distribution is focused on healthcare workers, first responders, and residents and staff in congregate care settings. The governor has said the vaccine may still be months out for the general public.
And in non-COVID-related news, the PA department of environmental protection announced $5 million to fund local water clean up projects in NEPA. The Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed received $500,000 and the Wayne Conservation District got $242,000.
There is an ongoing investigation into an Orange County healthcare provider, Parcare Community Health Network, that the Department Health says may have fraudulently obtained the COVID-19 vaccine, transferred it to facilities in other parts of the state and diverted it to members of the public. The department said it will assist the State Police and Attorney General’s office investigating these claims. In response, a Parcare spokesperson has said that the company followed all CDC and DOH guidelines. ParCare had administered the vaccine to 869 people and has since returned the remainder of the 2,300 it originally received back to the state.
Going into the New Year, Sullivan County was reporting 264 active cases of COVID-19 and 832 residents in quarantine or isolation, the highest numbers the county has seen so far this winter. In the Mid-Hudson Valley region, 35 percent of hospital beds were available. And the state’s overall positivity rate was just over 7.5 percent.
And in non-COVID-19-related news, Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Rob Doherty welcomed two newly-elected county officials: the incoming DA Meagan Galligan and County Court Judge. E. Danielle Jose-Decker. In 2020, both were the first women to be elected to their respective positions in Sullivan County history. Doherty congratulated both on “breaking the glass ceiling.”