Another local event cancelled due to pandemic

Another well-attended event in the Hegins Valley has been postponed for 2020 due to concerns about crowds and the coronavirus

On Thursday, organizers of the Hegins Valley Arts and Craft Faire announced they were scrapping plans for this year’s even, scheduled for Sept. 19 in Hegins Park.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce our 2020 Craft Faire is cancelled,” organizers wrote in a Facebook post. “Our committee will be reaching out to all of our wonderful crafters and vendors with plans for our 2021 Faire by the end of the month.”

The fair would have celebrated its 38th anniversary this year and draws vendors and buyers from around the state to the Hegins Park for this event.

Governor Tom Wolf announced Thursday that $10 million is now available for Pennsylvania businesses that have worked to maintain access to fresh, healthy food throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pennsylvania’s food retailers stepped up to the plate to protect those putting food on the shelf, to think outside of the box to protect the most vulnerable, and to make investments to support those using assistance programs such as SNAP and WIC to support their families,” said Gov. Wolf. “I will be forever grateful to those who have worked hard to ensure food is always accessible through this pandemic; our frontline workers in grocery stores and farmers markets are among Pennsylvania’s heroes.”

The Fresh Food Financing Initiative COVID-19 Relief Fund — funded through the CARES Act — is available to for-profit, nonprofit, or cooperative entities impacted by COVID-19, including grocery stores, corner stores, convenience stores, neighborhood markets, bodegas, food hubs, mobile markets, farmers markets, on-farm markets, urban farms, and food aggregation centers with a direct connection to direct-to-consumer retail outlets.

To be eligible, more than 50 percent of sales must be from staple and perishable foods to consumers and the retailer must serve customers that live in a low-to-moderate income area. Applicants must also provide access to affordable, high-quality fresh produce, meat and dairy products and other healthy grocery items for low-to-moderate income shoppers, and must accept SNAP and WIC to the maximum extent possible.

In recognition of the disproportionate impacts of both COVID-19 and food apartheid on communities made up of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and especially Black and African American communities, prioritization will be given to businesses owned by minorities and serving low-income BIPOC communities. Additional prioritization criteria include businesses located in or serving a USDA-designated food desert; businesses sourcing and selling Pennsylvania grown or processed products to the extent practicable; and applicants with supplier diversity and offering increased business opportunities for Minority Business Enterprises, Women Business Enterprises, Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises, Veteran Business Enterprises, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Business Enterprises; and Disability-Owned Business Enterprises.

“This pandemic has revealed many things, one of the most prevalent has been about where our food comes from – how it gets from the farm to those who need it. This relief fund is about strengthening the local food system and improving food security and nutrition,” said Sec. Redding. “We need to stimulate local economies, increase market opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers, create jobs, and contribute to better health by improving access to fresh, local foods – we need to feed Pennsylvania, now and in the years to come. And that is all a part of this initiative.”

The program is administered by the Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Department of Community and Economic Development. Applications will be accepted through August 14, 2020.

According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania added 1,009 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, the first four-digit addition since the height of the first surge of the virus earlier this year. The state has 93,876 cases of the virus since the first case was discovered in March.

About 175 of the total cases reported today did not occur within the past 24 hours but are the result of an influx of private lab results.

The state added 32 souls to the death toll putting the numbers at 6,880

Dauphin County added 21 new cases and one death to their totals on Friday, while Northumberland County added three cases and Schuylkill County added four new cases. The current counts of cases in the three counties of the Citizen-Standard coverage area stands with Dauphin County at a total to 2,268 cases with 149 deaths, Schuylkill stands at 769 cases with 47 deaths, and Northumberland County is at 342 cases and eight deaths.

In comparison, Philadelphia County, the hot spot of the state, added 182 cases and two deaths Friday, putting their totals at 22,735 positive cases and 1,635 deaths since the coronavirus first hit in March..

With case numbers rising, state health officials say that mask wearing is needed to stem the rising numbers. Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“As the entire state is now in the green phase, we must remain committed to protecting against COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvania has been a model for the country on how to reopen effectively using a careful, measured approach. However, the virus has not gone away and we are seeing cases rise, especially in Southwest Pennsylvania.”

The department is seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds. An alert was sent to healthcare providers over the weekend about the changing COVID-19 case demographics, as there are more cases in younger age groups than in those 50-64 and 65+. The following regions have seen significant increases among 19 to 24-year-olds in each month from April to present in July:

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 18,164 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,428 cases among employees, for a total of 21,?592 at 737 distinct facilities in 55 counties. Out of our total deaths, 4,699 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 7,032 of our total cases are in health care workers.

As far as negative tests for each county, Dauphin is listed as having 20,468 negative tests while Schuylkill reported 9,032 negative tests and 4,223 in Northumberland County.

The counties affected and the number of confirmed cases, with the number of deaths in parentheses, are:

Adams-377 (14), Allegheny-4,547 (193), Armstrong-84 (6), Beaver-809 (79), Bedford-92 (4), Berks-4,663 (357), Blair-99 (1), Bradford-59 (3), Bucks-6,030 (572), Butler-403 (13), Cambria-123 (3), Cameron-4, Carbon-296 (27), Centre-239 (8), Chester-3,954 (333), Clarion-60 (2), Clearfield-85, Clinton-95 (4), Columbia-417 (35), Crawford-77 (1), Cumberland-930 (66), Dauphin-2,268 (149), Delaware-7,495 (667), Elk-29, Erie-704 (12), Fayette-178 (4), Forest-7, Franklin-993 (46), Fulton-19 (1), Greene-61, Huntingdon-256 (4), Indiana-121 (6), Jefferson-37 (1), Juniata-114 (6), Lackawanna-1,753 (209), Lancaster-4,783 (382), Lawrence-159 (9), Lebanon-1,419 (48), Lehigh-4,391 (319), Luzerne-2,992 (181), Lycoming-239 (20), McKean-20 (1), Mercer-162 (6), Mifflin-70 (1), Monroe-1,462 (111), Montgomery-8,790 (826), Montour-77 (2), Northampton-3,527 (278), Northumberland-342 (8), Perry-90 (5), Philadelphia-22,735 (1,635), Pike-504 (21), Potter-17, Schuylkill-769 (47), Snyder-72 (2), Somerset-73 (1), Sullivan-10, Susquehanna-192 (25), Tioga-27 (2), Union-97 (2), Venango-34, Warren-9 (1), Washington-410 (6), Wayne-141 (8), Westmoreland-952 (39), Wyoming-42 (7), York-1,791 (61).

As of midnight July 10, there have been 804,764 negative tests for the coronavirus. The state also said that 77 percent of the confirmed cases have recovered. If a case has not been reported as a death, and it is more than 30 days past the date of their first positive test (or onset of symptoms) then an individual is considered recovered.

What is coronavirus?

According to the Pa. Department of Health, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses can live in animals and at times, evolve and infect people before spreading through human to human contact.

Human coronaviruses are spread just like the common cold or the flu either through the air through coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact like touching or shaking hands, or by touching an object or surface with the virus on it.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms can appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after a person is exposed to the illness. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to severe illness and death. As of July 9, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 3,047,671 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 132,056 deaths.

What can you do?

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
Clean surfaces frequently.
Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.
The Pa. Department of Health offers these guidelines as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

Stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.