Tri County Report For April 29th, 2020

Beaver County is moving into second place for coronavirus cases in western Pennsylvania.  State health officials reported 388 COVID-19 cases in Beaver, surpassing Westmoreland County and trailing only Allegheny County.  Beaver County already ranked second for deaths, with 59.  Six new cases were reported in Westmoreland County, raising the total to 383 with 30 deaths.  The region has a combined 14-hundred-50 coronavirus cases with a death toll of 114.

The plateau in COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania has residents and business owners eager to get back to work.  Governor Tom Wolf backtracked on an earlier plan to reopen the state’s economy by region yesterday, choosing instead to take a county-by-county approach.  The new proposal rewards counties like Greene and Somerset counties, who have yet to report a COVID-19 death.

A lawsuit claims residents of a Beaver County nursing home were subjected to experimental coronavirus drug trials.  The class-action suit was filed this week against the state health department, claiming the lack of inspections at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center allowed the home to try unproven treatments.  The suit demands the state resume inspections that were stopped during the pandemic.

Pennsylvania health officials are reporting more cases of COVID-19 in the state. Officials say that the state’s death toll looked grim yesterday as nearly one-hundred and 20 deaths were reported. The new deaths pushed the total to over 17-hundred. Yesterday, there were more than 12-hundred new cases of the virus and the statewide total surpassed 43-thousand, two-hundred. Lawrence County remained steady at 63 confirmed cases and five deaths.  Mercer County is still reporting one death along with 66 cases.

Eugene DePasquale’s opponent in June’s democratic congressional primary is lodging allegations of campaign finance violations against the state’s Auditor General.  Tom Brier filed the federal complaint last week, saying DePasquale is using state money that he used for his state campaign for a federal race.  Briar claims his opponent in the Tenth Congressional District race misused 113-grand from his state committee to launch his campaign before DePasquale announced his candidacy.  A spokesperson for DePasquale says the complaint create a false narrative.  The winner of the primary race this June will face Republican incumbent Scott Perry in the fall.

As part of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania has received $34 million to support services authorized by the Older Americans Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. These services include home-delivered meals; in-home care services; respite care and other support to families and caregivers; and information and referral services.

U-S Customs and Border Protection officers say they intercepted a shipment of 16-hundred fake Roku streaming device remotes headed for Butler County.  Investigators say the counterfeits, if they were authentic, would have been valued at around 80-grand.  The remotes had arrived from China on April 13th.

Organizers say a food distribution event at Big Butler Fairgrounds in Prospect Tuesday served 15-hundred vehicles.  The event organized by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank began its distribution yesterday morning and had no choice but to turn vehicles away once it met its limit.  More than 70 volunteers helped handing out boxes of food to those in need.

State police are looking for a gun stolen from a vehicle in Center Township earlier this year.  Troopers got a call Sunday from a Willow Run Drive resident that someone took the weapon from the glove box of a car in the month of January, along with a laser sight and black pocket holster.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the P-S-P Butler Barracks

Governor Tom Wolf is calling for COVID-19 health care providers and medical facilities conducting tests to follow the Department of Health’s mandate to include race and ethnicity data in demographics provided to the department with COVID-19 test results.  Wolf said Monday that they have heard how COVID-19 is hitting minority populations, particularly African-Americans, hardest across the United States and anecdotally in Pennsylvania, but we lack the statistics needed to determine the severity of this issue.  Despite that reporting being mandated, Wolf adds that 69-percent of that race data isn’t been shared.