TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MAY 7TH, 2020

There is still no sign of a hiker that fell into the Slippery Rock Creek at McConnell’s Mill State Park in Lawrence County over the weekend.  During Wednesday’s search, search crews were unable to find the body of the 38-year-old man from Meadville who fell in just below a covered bridge.  Crews say the search is being complicated due to water in the creek that’s higher and moving faster due to recent rain.

A search is underway for two Beaver County men who slipped away from police during an hours-long standoff.  State troopers surrounded an Ambridge home yesterday while looking for Trae Jackson and Thomas Jackson.  A SWAT team eventually stormed the house to find neither man inside.  The Jacksons are wanted on drug and gun charges.

For the fourth straight day, newly announced cases of coronavirus in P-A are under one-thousand.  During Wednesday’s announcement, Health Department officials added over 880 confirmed or probable cases to bring the statewide total to more than 51,800.  Since the start of the pandemic, P-A’s death toll now sits at more than three-thousand.  Lawrence County has 68 cases with 7 deaths and Mercer County has 69 cases and 1 death.

Butler County’s commissioners are expressing their frustration that they aren’t on Friday’s list of 24 counties gradually reopening.  The commissioners joined leaders from Greene, Fayette, and Washington counties in sending Governor Tom Wolf an open letter which conveys their disappointment with the decision not to move those areas into the yellow phase tomorrow.  The commissioners also said they are thoroughly dismayed with the lack of access to critical information from the Wolf Administration.

Governor Tom Wolf is laying out his game plan to increase coronavirus testing and contract tracing while getting P-A back to work.  Yesterday, Wolf detailed his Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps plan, which he says will provide job opportunities in the health sector and address the state’s economic needs.  Wolf says P-A’s ability to reopen is depending on increased testing and contact tracing, so it may be a win-win.

The Beaver County Humane Society is set to host its first large-scale pet-food distribution.  The drive-through event is scheduled for Friday and will not be held at the Center Township shelter.  Those in need will get information on the location of the distribution after registering at the humane society’s website.  They say they are able to feed 125 cat households and 250 dog households.

The Smithfield Foods Plant in Arnold says six workers have tested positive for COVID-19.  The plant now has a total of 12 cases and researchers say the meat plants in Pennsylvania are the most impacted in the nation.  There are 22 meat plants in the state and a total of 858 COVID-19 cases among them.

The state Game Commission’s Franklin office is set to reopen tomorrow.  The timing of the reopening of the Northwest Region’s office comes as shooting ranges on state game lands on counties in the yellow phase are also set to reopen.  Despite the closure, state game wardens have been responding to wildlife emergencies and enforcing hunting law violations during the pandemic.

A bill that would reopen garden centers across the Commonwealth is on its way to the state Senate.  The house bill that would give waivers to reopen the centers with increased safety measures passed the state House Monday.  The bill would require businesses to pay their employees hazard pay and provide P-P-E.