News

Governor announces $50 million in financial relief for fire and EMS companies.

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that the Office of State Fire Commissioner will be working to enact recent legislation to provide $50 million in direct financial relief to fire and emergency medical service (EMS) companies negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“Since we began taking action to curtail the spread of COVID-19, our state’s fire and EMS companies have seen record-breaking call volume and fewer opportunities to raise funds,” Gov. Wolf said. “These grants will go a long way to support their heroic efforts amid a very difficult public health crisis that has created a financial burden for many of these companies.”

“It has become a struggle just to keep the lights on for far too many of the companies that protect our communities,” State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego said. “I am pleased that our office can help get these funds out to the companies most in need.”

Of the $50 million in funding set aside for this new program, $44 million will be made available to fire and rescue companies and the remaining $6 million will go to EMS companies. Though the legislation took immediate effect, the Office of State Fire Commissioner must now establish the protocols for application, review and disbursement of grant funds.

In the coming weeks, detailed information about the program and instructions on how to apply will be available online at the Office of the State Fire Commissioner’s website. Companies are advised to check back regularly for updated information.

According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania added 537 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday. The state has 73,942 cases of the virus since the first case was discovered in March.

The death toll was increased by 75 souls on Thursday, putting the count at 5,817.

Dauphin County added 19 cases and two deaths to its total on Thursday, while Schuylkill County added five new cases and one death, while Northumberland County added two new cases. Dauphin County currently stands at a total to 1,404 cases with 87 deaths, Schuylkill stands at 651 cases with 37 deaths, and Northumberland County is at 201 cases and three deaths.

In comparison, Philadelphia County, the hot spot of the state, added 103 cases and 20 deaths, putting their totals at 18,888 positive cases and 1,379 deaths since the coronavirus first hit in March..

Officials say that the public’s effort to fight and prevent the spread of the disease must continue.

“As Pennsylvania continues to move forward in the process to reopen, we need to remember that the threat from COVID-19 has not gone away,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “As counties move into the yellow and green phases, we must take personal responsibility to protect others. Wearing a mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are all steps we can take to help protect others, including our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”

As far as negative tests for each county, Dauphin is listed as having 11,012 negative tests while Schuylkill reported 5,454 negative tests and 1,561 in Northumberland County.

The state also updated numbers of age ranges of the positive cases and hospitalizations to date. Currently 1,174 Pennsylvania residents are hospitalized with the virus and its complications, down 128 cases from yesterday.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 15,848 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,740 cases among employees, for a total of 18,588 at 613 distinct facilities in 45 counties. Out of our total deaths, 3,895 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 5,601 of our total cases are in health care workers.

The breakdown is as follows:

Positive cases

Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12, <1%; 13-18, 2%; 19-24, 6%; 25-49, 37%; 50-64, 25%, 65+, 28%

Hospitalizations

Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12 <1%; 13-18, <1%; 19-24, 1%;  25-49, 15%; 50-64, 26%; 65+, 57%

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

Adams-263 (8), Allegheny-1,965 (166), Armstrong-64 (5), Beaver-599 (74), Bedford-42 (2),  Berks-4,152 (323), Blair-52 (1), Bradford-46 (3), Bucks-5,158 (522), Butler-240 (12), Cambria- 59 (2), Cameron-2, Carbon-250 (24), Centre-154 (7), Chester-2,902 (294), Clarion-27 (2), Clearfield-42, Clinton-60 (3), Columbia-352 (31), Crawford-30, Cumberland-657 (54), Dauphin-1,404 (87), Delaware-6,587 (584), Elk-6, Erie-327 (5), Fayette-95 (4), Forest-7, Franklin-785 (38), Fulton-16 (1), Greene-27, Huntingdon-234 (3), Indiana-91 (5), Jefferson-14, Juniata-95 (4), Lackawanna-1,569 (182), Lancaster-3,301 (315), Lawrence-82 (8), Lebanon-997 (36), Lehigh-3,817 (242), Luzerne-2,773 (156), Lycoming-166 (17), McKean-13 (1), Mercer-110 (6), Mifflin-59 (1), Monroe-1,333 (102), Montgomery-7,351 (713), Montour-53, Northampton-3,124 (225), Northumberland-201 (3), Perry-64 (3), Philadelphia-18,888 (1,379), Pike-478 (20), Potter-6, Schuylkill-651 (37), Snyder-51 (1), Somerset-38 (1), Sullivan-3, Susquehanna-123 (15), Tioga-19 (2), Union-65 (1), Venango-10, Warren-5, Washington-140 (6), Wayne-121 (8), Westmoreland-455 (38), Wyoming-34 (7), York-1,038 (28).

As of midnight June 4, there have been 416,942 negative tests for the coronavirus, 8,673 more than the day before. The state also said that 69 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.

The current listing of counties and the phases they are in are as follows:

Red counties (expected to move to yellow on June 5) — Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia,

Yellow counties (counties in bold moving to green phase on June 5 — Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Washington, Wayne Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.

Green counties — Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.

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 June 4, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 1,842,101 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 107,029 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.