BACKYARD BROADCASTING LOCAL NEWS DECEMBER 15, 2020

COVID VACCINES ARRIVE IN PENNSYLVANIA
COVID 19 vaccines arrived yesterday morning at UPMC Pittsburgh just after 9am and 5 frontline healthcare workers there were vaccinated with the first doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.  According to CBS Pittsburg, the workers who received the vaccine will return for their second dose in 21 days.  Workers in several different departments were vaccinated, including an emergency medicine physician, acute care nurse practitioner, a patient transporter and environmental services supervisor.  Dr. David Lopatofsky of UPMC in the Susquehanna Region said in this first phase, UPMC hospitals in Williamsport, Muncy Valley and Lock Haven should receive 2,000 doses of Pfizer’s two-step vaccine and Wellsboro and Coudersport campuses will receive approximately 1,000 doses.

MEDICAL COMPONENT JOBS COMING TO JERSEY SHORE
West Pharmaceutical in Jersey shore, who was planning a future expansion even before COVID-19, will now invest 35 million dollars in its area facilities in a plan to provide various medical supplies needed during the pandemic.  According to the Sun Gazette, Eric Haman, West Pharmaceutical’s director of global corporate said the local manufacturer of components and systems for injectable drug delivery, plastic packaging and other components for the healthcare industry will provide a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. A 1,070 square-foot building expansion is planned along with more jobs for the area.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES IN PA
The 59th Pennsylvania Electoral College officially voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President of the United States yesterday. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says the commonwealth’s 20 electors voted for Biden and Harris unanimously. The state’s electoral votes will be delivered to the President of the U.S. Senate. All votes will be counted January 6 in a joint session of Congress to determine the national elector vote for president and vice president. Boockvar says 6.9 million Pennsylvanians – more than ever before – participated in the November 3 election.

DCNR TO CANCEL IN PERSON EVENTS FOR 2021
About 150 planned events, including the First Day Hikes on New Year’s Day, January 1st, with Pennsylvania’s DCNR have been cancelled in response to the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth.  According to a press release, DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn said state parks and forests will remain open for use as they have been since the start of the pandemic, but social interaction must be limited.  There will be some self-guided offerings and virtual events available, but out of state overnight visitors must present a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of arriving or quarantine for ten days away from the state facility.

LOCAL HOSPITALS WAIT FOR VACCINES TO ARRIVE AS VIRUS SPIKES
Local hospital officials are anticipating several thousand doses of the coronavirus vaccine to arrive in our area within days and they express confidence in the Pfizer and BioNtech vaccines that will be administered to frontline healthcare workers first.  Moderna’s vaccine is expected to receive FDA approval later this week and will be among the doses of coronavirus vaccine that will be delivered across the US.  According to the Sun Gazette, Geisinger and UPMC officials are bracing for the local surge of coronavirus cases, working hard to monitor the number of supplies staff and beds that are available to fight the cases that are admitted into the healthcare systems.  The vaccine is a good tool to slow the spread of the virus but must be used along with masking to continue to mitigate this dangerous virus.

LOCAL CORONA VIRUS UPDATE
In two day totals of coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania have been released and include 330 new deaths in the Commonwealth.  Lycoming County reports 135 cases, Northumberland has 145, Montour County reports 178.  Union County has 87.  18,646 new cases have also been confirmed statewide, with the total over 499,000, of which 58% have recovered. There are over 6,000 statewide hospitalizations, including over 1,200 in the ICU and nearly 700 on ventilators

SENIORS ENCOURAGED TO APPLY FOR RENT REBATES FROM 2019
Financial assistance is available for older adults and people with disabilities in Pennsylvania for rebates on property taxes and rent paid in 2019.  The initial deadline to apply for the rebates is normally June 30th but  was extended to December 31st  this year to provide eligible Pennsylvanians with extra time to submit their applications during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Eligible seniors are encouraged to fill out an application for funds that has delivered more than 6.8 billion dollars to eligible applicants since the programs’ inception in 1971.  Details about applying can be found here.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE PA WATERWAY
The public is invited to vote for the 2021 River of the Year in the 11th annual  Department of Conservation and Natural Resources online competition.  Pennsylvania Organization for Watershed and rivers said nominations for favorite waterway are based on conservation needs and the celebration plans for each of the waterways.  Buffalo Creek, Lehigh River, Loyalhanna Creek, Shanango River and Tunkhannock Creek are the choices for 2021.  The winning waterway will win $10,000 in grant money for local groups to use for annual river of the year events.  Go to PAwatersheds.com.

SPORTS

NFL Monday Night Football
Ravens beat the Browns 47-42

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