TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MAY 1ST, 2020

Western Pennsylvania business owners are awaiting word on when they’ll be allowed to reopen from their coronavirus-related shutdowns.  Governor Tom Wolf is expected to announce which counties can begin opening their economies today, using a formula that includes infection rates and healthcare capacity.  Local business leaders are begging for the first chance to open, citing the deep financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

A Beaver County nursing home that’s been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic is facing a new level of oversight.  State health officials announced yesterday that a temporary manager has taken over at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.  The new arrangement was ordered after a coronavirus outbreak killed more than 50 residents.

Later this month, Central Valley School District teachers and staff will lead a Stuff-A-Bus food drive to help Faith Restorations.  The food drive will occur at numerous locations across the school district in Monaca, Center and Raccoon townships on May 9th to support the Center Township non-profit food pantry.  Officials with Faith Restorations say they support around 32-hundred families on average, but are expected to see that number increase significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania health officials are reporting more cases of COVID-19 across the state. Officials say yesterday the state saw nearly 14-hundred new cases of coronavirus pushing the total to more than 45-thousand and seven-hundred. Yesterday, officials reported about 97 more deaths, and the state death toll stands at about two-thousand two-hundred-92.

Work being done by PennDOT crews is being phased back in across P-A.  Road and bridge construction projects will restart with limited exceptions based upon location and feasibility for social distancing.  Each worksite will have to follow C-D-C guidelines and a project-specific coronavirus safety plan.

Health officials say the fatal stroke that left a Beaver County police chief dead was likely caused by COVID-19.  Ambridge Police Chief Mark Romutus died from a stroke the day after his quarantine was over.  Allegheny Health Network Dr. Michael Goldberg said a the infection attacks blood vessels and causes clotting that can result in a stroke.  Officer Romutus is survived by his wife.

State authorities are searching for a father accused of child abuse in Franklin Township.  Troopers say, 37-year-old Jeremy Showman beat his four and seven year-old children over the course of two years.  He is charged with multiple counts of assault and multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Anyone with information is being urged to contact the police.

Tuition rates at Slippery Rock University, Clarion, and other state-owned universities will stay the same next school year.  The State System of Higher Education voted to freeze tuition rates this week for the second consecutive year.  Officials say they understand that the pandemic could create financial hardships for students and their families.  The universities are also facing financial challenges, but they are committed to providing students with an education.

Several airlines at Pittsburgh International Airport are now requiring travelers to wear facemasks.  Starting May 4th, those passengers on Delta and JetBlue will have to wear a mask on board the planes.  American Airlines officials say they will be enforcing their mask policy one week later, starting May 11th.  Employees on the flights have been required to wear masks for several weeks now.

Elective surgeries are set to resume next week with Butler Health System.  Officials announced yesterday admissions and outpatient visits will also resume on a limited basis Monday.  The move comes as the health system’s Reopening Steering Committee set specific criteria for testing, P-P-E, and patient risk.  They add that they are ready to dial back or expand services based on how the virus spreads over the next few weeks.