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COVID-19

COVID-19 decline continues, with exceptions

As it has for several weeks in a row, Friday’s update of the state’s early warning dashboard shows the region’s coronavirus outbreak ratcheting down, although all the numbers are still above the thresholds of concern. Seven of the 10 key metrics for the region’s six counties ticked ...

Philly comes under fire for vaccine rollout

PHILADELPHIA — When Philadelphia began getting its first batches of COVID-19 vaccines, it looked to partner with someone who could get a mass vaccination site up and running quickly. City Hall officials might have looked across the skyline to the world-renowned health providers at the ...

Clinic vaccinates hundreds

LORETTO — Glenn Beck of Loretto has Type 2 diabetes, and he’s been worried since he learned that his illness makes him especially vulnerable to harm should he contract COVID-19. He wears a mask, keeps his distance from others and avoids crowds, but the risk remained. On Thursday, ...

States seeking to curb powers

Irritated by the sweeping use of executive orders during the COVID-19 crisis, state lawmakers around the U.S. are moving to curb the authority of governors and top health officials to impose emergency restrictions such as mask rules and business shutdowns. The push is underway in such ...

Ministry reaches beyond tax assistance

Taxes. That word alone can strike fear and anxiety in people as they face the task of filing annual tax returns at the local, state and federal level. But assistance is available thanks to the New Life Worship Center Tax Team, headed by founder Scott Seifer. He has been helping local residents ...

Virus cases close Foot of Ten school

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Hollidaysburg Area School District has announced that the Foot of Ten Elementary School will be closed today because of COVID-19. There will be no in-person learning today, and students should use the virtual learning platform, according to Superintendent Robert J. ...

Eateries plead for change to rules

Pennsylvania ought to consider going back to the mid-2020 “green phase” guidance for restaurants to mitigate the harm that shutdowns have inflicted on them since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the head of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, ...

Voters may decide fate of disaster powers

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania voters will likely soon get the final say about whether to limit the governor’s powers during a disaster emergency after a divided state House of Representatives endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday. House members voted 116 to 85 in the latest ...

Pandemic changes how state budget will be handled

HARRISBURG — The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way the state budget is being handled, just like it did last year. The ceremony surrounding the governor’s budget address — one of the high points of the civic year at the state Capitol — will be absent this year. The ...

Labor Dept. addresses unemployment backlog

The state House Labor & Industry Committee on Wednesday learned of changes that could help the department it oversees better serve constituents who have been deluging lawmakers with complaints about benefit holdups that have occurred due to the overwhelming demand for unemployment ...

State vaccine efforts falling short

Pennsylvania is “in the middle of the pack” in vaccination performance with its decentralized approach — and not only needs to improve, but is willing to “steal” successful practices from other states if that will help, Gov. Tom Wolf said during a virtual news conference Tuesday. But ...

AASD moving to hybrid model

The Altoona Area School Board voted 7-2 on Tuesday to transition all students to a hybrid model, with elementary students beginning Feb. 8 and secondary students on the 16th. The hybrid model will break students into groups A and B, with A meeting in-person Monday, Wednesday and every other ...

L&I working through payment glitches

The state Department of Labor & Industry is working through glitches as it begins paying benefits for two unemployment programs to benefit those out of work because of COVID-19, following Congress’s reauthorization of the programs after they expired just before the end of last ...

Finding a home: Local agency has shortage of dogs

Local humane society officials say they have not seen an increase in pet adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite shelter and humane groups nationwide seeing their numbers double. But that might be in part to a shortage of dogs. “People are home more to spend time with their ...

County inmates recover from virus

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Blair County Prison population now includes 194 inmates who have recovered from COVID-19 conditions and three inmates with positive test results. Current inmates who tested positive in December — during one of two testing rounds — have since recovered and are now ...

Pandemic complicates illegal drug enforcement

Blair County law enforcement agencies reported increased drug activity during the coronavirus pandemic, but in some cases, social distancing restrictions hampered their efforts. “There were two issues that arose from the pandemic,” said Blair County District Attorney Pete Weeks. ...

Outbreak continues decline

The COVID-19 outbreak in the region continues to ease, as the two key indicators on the state’s early warning dashboard went down this week in all six local counties. Still, both indicators are above the thresholds of concern. The largest drop in the incidence rate — the number of new ...

State expands vaccine eligibility

The state Department of Health on Tuesday added everyone 65 and older and everyone 16 to 64 with health issues that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 now eligible for the vaccinations. The department also launched online tools that instruct users step-by-step on how to get vaccinated — ...

Biden taps Levine for post

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A pediatrician and former Pennsylvania ...

AASD to discuss learning plan

The Altoona Area School Board on Tuesday scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Jan. 26 to revisit a return to school plan. That meeting will be a working session where a new motion is anticipated regarding whether to send students back. On Thursday, the board voted 5-4 to remain on a ...