TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2020

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health a 23rd Lawrence County resident has died from complications of Covid-19.  The county also added five cases yesterday bringing its total to 505. Two more deaths due to COVID-19 have been recorded in Beaver County, bringing the county’s death toll since the pandemic began to 120.  County health officials reported six new confirmed cases of the virus yesterday for a total of one-thousand-845.

It’s suspected that fentanyl was the white powder inside an envelope sent to New Castle City Council President Tom Smith.  He was opening mail in council chambers Tuesday when the powder spilled out.  The chambers were evacuated, and Smith later tested positive for trace amounts of fentanyl.  Some of the powder has been sent for testing, and the results are pending..

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to sustain Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a bill that would have given school districts the right to set crowd limits for sporting events during the COVID-19 pandemic. House Bill 2787 received 25 fewer votes Wednesday as the final vote finished with a 130-71 count, falling a handful of votes short of the two-thirds majority needed. The original vote was 155-47 in early September.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a Hermitage medical center for allegedly over prescribing pain killers.  The suit against the Pain, Spine, Aesthetic and Wellness Center has been filed by the estate of Janell Miller.  She died from a drug overdose in her home in September of 2018.  The lawsuit alleges that the medical center prescribed large amounts of opioids to Miller for six years, including nearly six-thousand oxycodone pills.

The Pennsylvania House has approved a measure to loosen restrictions for businesses and sent it to Governor Tim Wolf, who has said he will veto the bill.  State Senator Pat Stefano says his measure would raise capacity at bars and restaurants and allow customers to order drinks without also having to order food.  He says businesses have been working in good faith with the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  But, Stefano says now many businesses are having to close because of the restrictions.

Protesters take to the streets of Pittsburgh to speak out on the decision in the Breonna Taylor case. Yesterday, a grand jury in Kentucky announced none of the officers involved in her death will be charged directly with her murder. Last night’s demonstration began at Freedom Corner before heading towards the downtown area and Allegheny County Courthouse. There’s no word if any arrests were made during the protests.

Pennsylvania Skill Games wants police to crack down on what they call illegal mini-casinos across the state, including one in Beaver County.  The gaming company sent Beaver County officials a memo describing illegal slots inside 777 Video Skill Slots and Keno located in Hopewell Shopping Center.  Company officials say the slot machine is luck-based, which is illegal in Pennsylvania, and not skill-based, which is legal.  District Attorney David Lozier says his office is investigating, but he suggests the company’s complaint is politically motivated because the Hopewell business is a potential competitor of Pennsylvania Skill Games.

The leader of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is urging folks to cast their ballots on Election Day. In a letter, Bishop David Zubik said people need to vote so their voices can be heard on a variety of issues including abortion, racism and the death penalty. Zubik did not announce any endorsements of political candidates even though he says people have asked him to do so. There are an estimated 628-thousand Catholics in this part of the state alone.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says limits on gatherings in the area are still going to be enforced. Fitzgerald said yesterday that while some state lawmakers believe the rules should be loosened, he’s choosing to follow the advice of medical experts. That means keeping crowds low while also making sure people are wearing masks and following social distancing protocols. People are also being asked to download the COVID Alert PA app that will tell them if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19.