TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JANUARY 5TH, 2022

Over the past three days in Pennsylvania, over 55-thousand people have contracted COVID-19.  Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows that through January 2nd, the statewide cumulative of confirmed cases was just over one-million-727-thousand.  Since the last daily report, there have been 94 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. The statewide positivity rate for the week ending December 30th was 24-and-a-half-percent.

A New Castle man was taken to the hospital following a one vehicle accident in Butler County. According to state police 60 year old Andrew Smith was southbound on interstate 79 in Muddy Creek when he lost control of his vehicle traveled into the median and struck a ditch, causing the vehicle to roll onto its roof. Smith was flown to Allegheny General Hospital for treatment.

 The lawmaker who introduced legislation to impeach Governor Wolf two years ago has announced his retirement at the end of November of this year. Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican representing part of Butler County, has announced that he does not plan to seek re-election in 2022. Metcalfe is currently serving in his 12th term as a state representative.

Pennsylvania is becoming an increasingly unpopular place to live, according to one report.  The state fell seven spots on U-Haul’s Growth Index to number 48th in the nation.  The company calculates the gains based on one-way trucks entering the state verse leaving it.  Texas was U-Haul’s top growth state, with Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Arizona rounding out the top 5.

State agriculture officials are beginning a plan to ban a popular ornamental bush that they say harbors ticks that spread Lyme Disease.  The Japanese barberry was added to the commonwealth’s list of noxious weeds, and officials have started a two-year plan to phase out its sale in the Keystone state.  The bushes reportedly are popular with  black-legged ticks and officials say they crowd  out native vegetation in woodlands, pastures and fields. By the fall of 2023, merchants won’t be allowed to sell it at all.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is opening a second COVID-19 unit to handle a surge in cases due to the Omicron [[ ahm-ih-cron ]] variant.  Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Raymond Pitetti said yesterday that the volume of COVID-19 patients had increased dramatically, making the second unit necessary.  Dr. Pitetti said at this time in 2021, the hospital saw four to five patients a day and now sees anywhere between 30 to 50 children.  Doctors say not to bring children with mild symptoms of COVID-19 to the emergency room for testing unless they are experiencing breathing problems or severe problems.

Low income residents struggling with water bills can now apply for assistance from the state.  The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is advising folks with past due water bills or whose service has been terminated that grants are available to help.  Applicants must be able to provide info on all members of their household as well as a recent water bill.  More details can be found by going to www.compass.state.pa.us.

A state lawmaker in McKeesport will run to be the next lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.  Democratic Representative Austin Davis announced today he will run for the office in the 2022 election.  Attorney General, and candidate for governor Josh Shapiro, was with Austin during his announcement and endorsed him as the state lawmaker navigates the Democratic primary.

Officials say a malfunction during the dismantling of the iconic Blue Streak roller coaster at Conneaut Lake Park caused a fire.  Crawford County authorities said yesterday that the ride was being dismantled with a control burn permit when heavy equipment failed and allowed the fire to spread to the loading dock.  Fire crews from Summit Township, Vernon Central, Linesville, and North Shenango helped extinguish the fire.  No one was injured, and the rest of the roller coaster will be torn down over the next few days.