×

COVID-19

L&I extends backdated jobless claims

The state Department of Labor & Industry has temporarily extended its backdating of unemployment compensation claims from six weeks to as many as 52, so claimants can get benefits that remained out of reach in the spring, after a crush of applications due to the COVID-19 shutdowns made it ...

Schools report limited resources

Pandemic changes teaching techniques, hits districts’ budgets Editor’s note: This is the second of two stories about school superintendents and administrators being pulled from their regular duties because of the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic. The rise in coronavirus cases ...

AASD under fire over photograph

Altoona Area School Board members responded to a controversial photo circulated via social media over the weekend. The photo showed hundreds of masked Altoona 11th and 12th grade students side-by-side in the AASD Fieldhouse, apparently against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ...

Philadelphia bans indoor gatherings, broadens virus rules

Philadelphia is banning indoor gatherings of any size, public or private, as the city battles a resurgence of the coronavirus, officials announced Monday, warning that hospitals will become overrun by the end of the year without dramatic action. The city also plans to prohibit indoor dining at ...

300 line up for first day of testing

Hundreds of area residents — some waiting for hours — turned out for the first day of the state’s temporary coronavirus test site at the Blair County Convention Center on Sunday. Cars began lining up 45 minutes early and were soon backed onto Convention Center Boulevard in both ...

Two states set new virus limits; US cases hit 11M

The Associated Press Michigan has joined Washington and several other states in announcing renewed efforts to combat the coronavirus as more than 11 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported in the United States — with the most recent million coming in less than a week — and as ...

Blair getting new virus test site

A state Department of Health contractor will begin operating a free COVID-19 testing site at the Blair County Convention Center this weekend in response to the area’s worsening viral outbreak. The site will accept patients from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for eight days over a 10-day stretch: Sunday, ...

CDC: Mask also protects wearer

NEW YORK — U.S. health officials are taking a new tack to encourage Americans to wear masks: They’re emphasizing recent research that a mask protects the person who wears it. Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to wear masks because of evidence that ...

Virus surge prompts new lockdowns

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The governors of Oregon and New Mexico ordered near-lockdowns Friday in the most aggressive response yet to the latest wave of coronavirus infections shattering records across the U.S., even as many of their counterparts in other states show little appetite for reimposing ...

Virus stymies court staffing

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Some Blair County court proceedings were canceled Thursday after the sheriff’s department reported not having enough deputies to transport inmates, partly due to COVID-19 exposure or potential exposure. While sheriff deputies were working Thursday in some areas of the ...

States prepare for coronavirus vaccine

With a COVID-19 vaccine drawing closer, public health officials across the country are gearing up for the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history — a monumental undertaking that must distribute hundreds of millions of doses, prioritize who’s first in line and ensure that people who get ...

Schools and states strategize as virus surges

School systems in Detroit, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and suburban Minneapolis are giving up on in-person classes, and some governors are reimposing restrictions on bars and restaurants or getting more serious about masks, as the coast-to-coast resurgence of the coronavirus sends deaths, ...

Parents, schools push back over shutdown order

Don’t you dare close the schools. That was the impassioned message that dozens of parents and school administrators sent to public health officials in Pennsylvania’s third-most populous county on Thursday, forcing delay of an expected vote on whether to temporarily ban in-person ...

709K seeking jobless aid in US

WASHINGTON — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to 709,000, a still-high level but the lowest figure since March and a further sign that the job market might be slowly healing. Yet the improvement will be put at risk by the sharp resurgence in confirmed ...

Virus activity grows in UPMC system

UPMCs Altoona, Bedford Memorial, Somerset and Western Maryland are experiencing “disproportionate” “growth in (corona)viral activity,” but the UPMC system’s flexibility and sharing of resources has ensured that none of those hospitals are overwhelmed, according to UPMC officials on a ...

Union: Schools should be virtual

With coronavirus running rampant, a suburban Philadelphia county said Wednesday that it will consider ordering schools to pause in-person instruction for two weeks. The state’s largest teachers union, meanwhile, demanded that school districts in nearly two dozen counties with the worst ...

Blair may get more test sites

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The state Department of Health may provide Blair County with additional COVID-19 testing resources in light of increasing positive test results. Public Safety Director Mark Taylor told commissioners Tuesday that the state is asking if the county is interested in contracted ...

A fresh start — Altoona students to step foot in newly built high school

After months of anticipation, Altoona Area High School students are set to step foot into their new school. Workers broke ground on the nearly $80 million project, which included a new B building and renovations to the A building, in the spring of 2018. Two and a half years later, ...

COVID-19 tests ought to be free

COVID-19 testing is more than a matter of individuals safeguarding their own health and that of their families. It has become an important tool in limiting the disease’s spread. Recognizing that, members of Congress included an important testing provision in the CARES Act approved earlier ...

Blair eyes surge in COVID-19 cases

Altoona has become a hotbed in Blair County’s surge of coronavirus cases, and Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Hileman suggested the city and county adopt mitigation actions that were in place in late May. Citing White House Coronavirus Task Force and Harvard Global ...