Tri County Report For December 4th, 2020

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw a record increase of more than eleven-thousand new cases, pushing it over 386-thousand. About 187 new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is nearing eleven-thousand. Lawrence County saw an increase of 111 new Covid-19 cases bringing the counties total to 2,441 cases. Another death was reported yesterday bringing the total to 71 fatalities.

16th District Congressman Mike Kelly, having had no luck in state courts, is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to nullify the results of the recent election.  Kelly and other plaintiffs argue that allowing everyone in the state to vote by mail without them having to show why they couldn’t vote in person was unconstitutional. Kelly and the other litigants are asking for Pennsylvania’s results to not be certified and for any results that have already been certified to be undone.

State Police in Lawrence County report a New Beaver Borough man was the victim of a scam. According to police the man said he exchanged nude photos with a woman over the internet. The woman, who the man says he doesn’t know, threatened to send his nude photo to his friends and family unless he sent her $10,000.  The victim says he sent the woman a $250 money order to somewhere outside the United States.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine is addressing her concern on COVID-19 hospitalizations.  Levine said yesterday the state is focusing on not overwhelming the health system during the pandemic.  More waivers are being issued to healthcare providers to give better care at state hospitals.  The Health Secretary said she is concerned because there are only a few ICU beds left in many counties around the state.

An independent mediator for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh on Thursday announced the settlement of 224 claims of clergy sexual abuse.  Just over 19-million dollars will be divided among those victims in the case detailed in a grand jury report in 2018.  The abuses date back many decades and involved priests from the Pittsburgh Diocese and the Greensburg Diocese.  Payouts will average around 85-thousand dollars to each of the 224 victims.

Grove City Police have filed charges against a Greenville man that allegedly sent nude photos to a minor. WFMJ-TV reports 18-year-old Isaiah Richards allegedly sent nude photographs to a 16-year-old female via Snapchat on November 28. Charges were filed against Richards Wednesday.He faces charges of disseminating sexually explicit material to a minor and harassment.

Governor Tom Wolf is urging the federal government to extend unemployment programs that are set to expire on December 31st. Wolf says without an extension, three-quarters of a million Pennsylvanians will be without any unemployment benefits, which will hurt the commonwealth both socially and economically. The governor emphasized the number of COVID-19 cases are only going to continue surging in the coming weeks, putting the public and economy in danger. Wolf ended his message by asking federal officials to act swiftly as the CARES Act was important aid.

Shell Chemicals officials say the number of active cases of COVID-19 at their Beaver County cracker plant has exceeded 100.  Shell has increased testing at the facility following the Thanksgiving break.  Officials say 101 tested positive in the latest round of testing, up from 77 before the holiday.  Total reported cases have surged recently as transmission rates for the virus have increased in Beaver County and across the state.

Retail giant Walmart announced another round of bonuses on Thursday that will be welcome news to associates at their Western Pennsylvania stores and at stores across the country.  Many associates received quarterly bonuses in their recent paychecks and now, on December 24th, they’ll also be receiving special bonuses in recognition of their work during the pandemic.  Full- and part-time associates are eligible with full-time workers in line for a 300-dollar bonus and part-time workers expected to receive 150-dollars.