TRI COUNTY REPORT SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2020

Federal, state, and local authorities say thirteen people have been indicted in part of a conspiracy to sell cocaine in Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania, including Mercer and Lawrence Counties. The indictment charges the thirteen suspects, more than half from Lawrence and Mercer counties, with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, in Pennsylvania and other places.  Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the investigation resulted in the seizure of more than 100,000 doses of heroin. The operation was based in New Castle.

New Castle Mayor Chris Frye is criticizing the City Council for declining the 18-month extension of Act 47.  The measure is designed to assist and stabilize cities and towns in financial distress, and New Castle was designated in 2007.  The city now will exit Act 47 status in August of 2022 as previously scheduled.  Frye says the Council decision will result in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue for the city and higher taxes for residents.

Officials with the Freedom Area School districts have canceled all girls’ soccer and volleyball games following positive COVID-19 tests among its teams.  The students have been asked to self-quarantine, and all activities involving the teams have been suspended until next Monday.  It’s the first public case of the coronavirus to affect high school sports in Beaver County.

Governor Tom Wolf is cracking back on a request by several Republican lawmakers to let fans in the stands at sporting events above the 250-person outdoor limit.  A spokesperson for the Governor essentially said that group should focus on health care and a stimulus bill instead of sports.  The delegation, which includes several state lawmakers and U-S Senator Pat Toomey, sent Wolf a letter requesting to let more people in to see the games.

Starting this weekend, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh says more people will be able to celebrate mass in person. Bishop David Zubik said yesterday churches will be able to increase the number of people allowed inside to 50-percent of maximum capacity. However, everyone in attendance still needs to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols. Bishop Zubick says he’ll continue livestreaming his daily mass for the forseeable future.

The National Guard is at Westmoreland Manor to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 after an outbreak.  The nursing home recently had 47 residents and 23 employees test positive for the virus.  Six members of the Guard arrived on Sunday will stay at the county-operated nursing facility until at least Tuesday.  Guard members are helping to assist with testing so nursing home management staff can focus on patient care.

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is scheduled to tour western Pennsylvania by train today.  After two stops in Ohio, Biden’s train is expected to make campaign stops in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, New Alexandria, Latrobe and Johnstown.  The Biden campaign says the former vice president plans to highlight how he will build the economy back for working families, not the wealthy and corporations.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania.  The state added almost one-thousand new cases to the total yesterday, pushing it close to 158-thousand. About 16 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 81-hundred-23.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to drop in Beaver County, though hospitalizations increased.  The latest data show the rate of Beaver County residents testing positive dropped almost one percentage point from last week.  But, the average daily number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus was a little more than four-and-a-half, up from three the week before.