TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR MARCH 9TH, 2021

Governor Tom Wolf is welcoming Pennsylvania’s new physician general.  Governor Wolf announced yesterday that he has appointed Dr. Denise Johnson to be the state’s next physician general, permanently replacing Dr. Rachel Levine.  Dr. Johnson was the chief medical officer at Meadville Medical Center in Crawford County.  She will be serving as acting physician general until she is confirmed by the state Senate.

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise throughout Pennsylvania. Health officials say yesterday, the state total saw an increase of more than 15-hundred new cases, pushing it over 950-thousand. Seven new deaths related to the virus were added to the death toll, which is at 24-thousand-356. Lawrence County has reported 6,172 cases and 186 deaths. Mercer County has reported 8,262 cases and 242 fatalities.

Pennsylvania will see about 13 billion dollars from the 1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 rescue package that went through Congress. Officials with the Independent Fiscal Officials told the state Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday that the state’s share of that will be about $7.3 billion while the other $5.7 billion will go to local governments. Governments can use the money to pay for costs associated with responding to the pandemic or to backfill revenue losses inflicted by the pandemic’s effects.

A Farrell man pleaded guilty last week in connection with a homicide in 2018. 20 year old Jaylaun Coleman pleaded to a charge of third-degree murder and related charges in an arrangement that calls for a sentence of 40 to 80 years in prison for the murder of 21-year-old Tyrone Cornish of Sharon. The trial was scheduled to  begin yesterday. The Sharon Herald reports Sentencing is set to take place in the next 60 days.

Testifying at a Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Revenue was asked about the impact of the coroonavirus pandemic on his agency’s operations. Dan Hassell says with the ability to do most things electronically about 85 percent of the department’s staff are working at home. And Hassell says the department has taken steps to protect sensitive taxpayer information.  In addition Hassell says workers use an encrypted method to ensure that all communications between their locations and the department are secure.

Residents who have been vaccinated for COVID are being advised that they can get together with other vaccinated folks without masks.  That’s the word that was issued by the CDC on Monday. The CDC says that people who have been fully-vaccinated can visit with other fully-vaccinated folks indoors without masks or social distancing.  The CDC defines a fully-vaccinated person as being someone who is two weeks removed from having had their second Pfizer or Moderna shot or two weeks removed from having had their single Johnson and Johnson shot.  More details on the new guidelines can be found at www.cdc.gov.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is up nine cents to 3.05 a gallon. The price is now fifty cents higher than the beginning of the year. In New Castle the average is at 2.97 a gallon while in Sharon motorists are paying 3.07. With a nickel increase on the week, the national gas price average has reached $2.77, which is a 31-cent jump in the last month. A year ago the average price in Western Pennsylvania was at 2.60 a gallon.

State Police in Butler County report a Renfrew woman was scammed out of ten thousand dollars. Police say the woman was scammed by purchasing multiple $500 gift cards and giving them to an unknown individual on Facebook. Anybody that has information is asked to call state police in Butler.

Kennywood Amusement Park in Allegheny County on Monday announced plans for its upcoming season.  The theme park will open to guests for its 123rd season on May 8th.  Kennywood plans to hire roughly 15-hundred workers for various positions around the park.  More details can be found at www.kennywood.com.