BACKYARD BROADCASTING LOCAL NEWS MARCH 23, 2020

DEATH TOLL GROWS TO FOUR IN PENNSYLVANIA
The death toll has grown to four in Pennsylvania from the coronavirus known as COVID-19.  Penn Live reports that the Monroe County coroner reported the death Sunday night of a 56-year-old man from complications from the disease.  Lehigh Valley Live reported that the victim was from East Stroudsburg and died at Lehigh Valley-Pocono Hospital  and had tested positive earlier for COVID-19. The state’s first death was that of Carmine Fusco of Northampton County, who died on March 18. Fusco is one of four in his family to have died from the virus. The second death was a person in their late 60s from Allegheny County reported  March 21. The third death was a 72-year-old man from Abington Township in Montgomery County.

LEVINE: “STAY HOME”
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a press conference for residents to “Stay calm, home and safe,” recommending our plan of ‘in-action’ against the coronavirus in PA – She confirmed the number of new cases of COVID 19 reported Sunday – 108,  bringing the statewide total to 479 in 33 counties. All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.  The numbers are reported from commercial, hospital and state labs. There are 4,964 patients who have tested negative, and the Penn Live reports 4 total deaths.

UPMC STARTS COVID-19 TESTING IN WILLIAMSPORT
Beginning today- March 23rd, UPMC in the Susquehanna region will begin directing patients who received physician consultation and referral for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to an outpatient specimen collection site in Williamsport. If a patient is seeking a test,  they must be evaluated by their care provider, who will assess the need, contact the local UPMC infection prevention team,  who then will review the information and determine if testing is needed.  An appointment to have their specimen collected will be scheduled. Patients should self-isolate until that appointment.  The site is not open to the public, and walk-in patients will not be tested

STATE PRIMARIES WILL BE MOVED TO JUNE
An agreement has been reached on postponing the state’s primary election from April 28 until June 2, According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, legislation is set to advance through the State Legislature today witgh the help of State Rep. Garth Everett, the chair of the House State Government Committee who worked Sunday to reach a deal.  The rescheduling would also give county election officials more flexibility in consolidating polling places this year and make long-term changes to a sweeping election law passed last year.

DONATIONS OF MASKS SOUGHT
The Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and West Branch Builders Association, are asking the public and those in various building trades to donate any N-95 masks they may have to those who are working in the health care community.  According to the sun gazette, some organizations are in dire need.  If you have a mask donation, please contact Jason Fink at jfink@williamsport.org or Carroll Pawlikowski at Carroll@westbranchbuilders.org.

STATE POLICE WILL ENFORCE GOVERNOR’S ORDER TODAY
Enforcement of business closures will begin today at 8am after the governor dealt with a flood of waiver requests over the weekend from businesses wanting clarification of their status as a life-sustaining businesses as determined by the Department of Community and Economic development.  Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police said that troopers and liquor control enforcement officers are prepared to ensure compliance with Governor Wolf’s order. Any  noncompliant entities face possible criminal penalties punishable by fines and even jail time. To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number.

NO FARE NEEDED FOR RIVER VALLEY TRANSIT
As River Valley Transit closes their lobby and administrative offices until April 5thm they have made the announcement that passengers will not be required to purchase fare or passes buses in an effort to enhance and encourage social distancing. Riders are now required to enter and exit the bus using the rear door to minimize driver contact unless they need to use the accessibility ramp.  Riders are encouraged to use bus service only to go to work, medical appointments, grocery stores and other essential trips. River Valley transit announced a reduced buss service schedule, with daily bus service ending at 7pm.

WEIS MARKETS GIVE EMPLOYEES A RAISE
Weis markets announced over the weekend that they are giving their associates a two dollar per hour raise as the response to COVID 19 increases.  The raise went into effect yesterday.  According to a letter to the employees, owner Jonathan Weis said he appreciated their hard work and commitment.  The raises are at the store-level according to the Sunbury based food retailer.

Sports
Olympics
Canada won’t send athletes to the Olympics in Tokyo unless the Games are postponed by one year, the country’s Olympic committee announced Sunday night amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

NFL
In the wake of the XFL officially canceling the remainder of its inaugural season because of the coronavirus crisis, NFL teams will be allowed to begin signing former XFL players today.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have reached a deal with tight end Eric Ebron worth $12 million, filling a major need for the team.

The Eagles agreed to terms with former Denver Broncos safety Will Parks on a one-year deal,

The Kraft family and the New England Patriots thanked Tom Brady in a full-page ad in a Sunday paper in Florida telling Buccaneers fans to Take care of him. You got a great one – Brady, 42, left New England with six Super Bowl rings and 41 playoff starts since 2001.

The SUN Gazette has named Aiden Gair of Loyalsock the Player of the Year, even as the team hopes there might be a state quarterfinals through an all but cancelled postseason

Sports Cancellations.
The Boston Marathon will delay its race until Sept. 14,
The London Marathon has been postponed from April 26 to Oct. 4
The 2020 Invictus Games have been postponed

The EW Scripps Company said it will not be holding the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 24 near Washington, D.C.

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