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COVID-19

State House passes bill to halt retail shutdowns

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania state House on Wednesday gave divided approval to a Republican-sponsored bill to let many retail stores remain open during a declared state of disaster emergency, which backers said would safely prevent smaller businesses from going broke. The chamber voted ...

Tax credit offered to spur virus shots

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced new employer tax credits and other steps to encourage people reluctant to be inoculated to get the COVID-19 vaccine as his administration tries to overcome diminishing demand for the shots. The moves came as Biden celebrated reaching his ...

EU: J&J shot ‘possible link’ to rare clots

LONDON — The European Union’s drug regulatory agency said Tuesday that it found a “possible link” between Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and extremely rare blood clots and recommended a warning be added to the label. But experts at the agency reiterated that the vaccine’s ...

India’s hospitals buckle amid surge

NEW DELHI — Seema Gandotra, sick with the coronavirus, gasped for breath in an ambulance for 10 hours as it tried unsuccessfully to find an open bed at six hospitals in India’s sprawling capital. By the time she was admitted, it was too late, and the 51-year-old died. Rajiv Tiwari, whose ...

Blair to resume inmate programs

Programs to help inmates at the Blair County Prison prepare for release have been nonexistent for the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that is beginning to change, according to a deputy warden who addressed the Prison Board on Thursday. Jay B. Whitsel said several programs that ...

Half of US adults have received at least one shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign but leaving more work to do to convince skeptical Americans to roll up their sleeves. Almost ...

Railroaders Museum, Historic Curve reopen

After a year of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a brighter, enlivened Railroaders Memorial Museum is ready to receive visitors at its 1200 Ninth Ave. location and at the world famous Horseshoe Curve. Local residents are encouraged to visit both locations to see what’s new, ...

State sounds alarm on hesitancy over vaccinations

A growing number of unfilled appointments and low uptake among nursing home workers are early signs that vaccine hesitancy is becoming an issue in Pennsylvania, prompting state officials to sound the alarm Friday and urge residents to get their COVID-19 shots as quickly as possible. After ...

Surge in virus cases prompts school closures

CRESSON — Area schools are continuing to combat recent surges of COVID-19. With positive cases districtwide, the Penn Cambria and Hollidaysburg Area School Districts both have enacted closures today. “We’re keeping a close eye on the situation,” Penn Cambria Superintendent Bill ...

County virus trends ‘a little dismal’

Blair County’s director of public safety told the county commissioners Tuesday that he was a “little disappointed” in the recent increase of coronavirus cases and expressed concern that area residents may be resistant to taking the vaccine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Taylor has ...

City mulls expected $41M windfall

Altoona expects to receive about $41 million through the recently passed American Rescue Plan, and it should begin trying to figure out how best to spend the money, City Council members said Monday. “It would be wise to form a committee of internal and external stakeholders,” said Mayor ...

Tyrone considers graduation sites

TYRONE — With the end of the school year approaching, the Tyrone Area School District board members and administrators are considering two venues for this year’s commencement ceremonies. Graduation is set for Thursday, June 3, and board members said Tuesday that Gray Field and the high ...

Biden: J&J shot pause putting safety first

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign hit a snag Tuesday when federal regulators recommended a “pause” in administering Johnson & Johnson shots. But the White House portrayed the action as important validation of his measured approach throughout the ...

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. on Tuesday recommended a “pause” in use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots, setting off a chain reaction worldwide and dealing a setback to the global vaccination ...

State halts use of J&J vaccine

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania is following the federal government’s recommendation and pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during an investigation into reports of unusual blood clots, but health officials suggested the impact on the state’s overall rollout will be ...

Colleges not requiring vaccines

Area colleges and universities are not requiring students to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as fall approaches. Two weeks ago, officials at Rutgers University announced a vaccine mandate for students, and Cornell University soon did the same. So far in central and western Pennsylvania, however, ...

Universities grapple with COVID

HARRISBURG — The challenges facing Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities, both related to COVID-19 and as well as beyond the pandemic, were a major topic of discussion Tuesday during a Senate budget hearing. The four leaders of Pennsylvania State University, University of ...

Blood cancers may blunt vaccine

A significant percentage of people with certain blood-related cancers don’t develop COVID-19 antibodies from vaccinations, leaving them potentially vulnerable to COVID-19 after they get their shots, according to findings by UPMC that were discussed in a virtual news conference Friday. Tests ...

Residents urged to book vaccines

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County leaders are urging residents to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments through local health care facilities and pharmacies as soon as they become eligible. “The biggest areas where we’re seeing vaccine availability now are at CVS, Rite Aid, Giant Eagle, ...

Ag adapting to a changing world

The coronavirus pandemic has left a significant mark on the agriculture industry — but it has also provided a learning experience. “Perhaps the biggest lesson for agriculture to come out of the pandemic is how important it is for our food supply chain to be able to adapt to unexpected ...