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Daily local coronavirus briefing - April 24, 2020

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Bucks County Coronavirus Summary
Welcome to the Bucks County 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-2019). This page has the latest information on coronavirus in the county, updated daily.


Department of Health provides update on COVID-19, 1,599 positives bring statewide total to 38,652
The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of noon April 24, that there are 1,599 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 38,652. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. Today, the state is reporting 1,492 confirmed deaths in Pennsylvania. County-specific information is available at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx. All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. Bucks County reported 2,288 cases and 128 deaths; Chester County 1,064 cases and 77 deaths; Delaware 3,055 cases and 129 deaths; Lehigh 2,478 cases and 49 deaths; Montgomery 3,525 cases and 208 deaths; Northampton 1,716 cases and 46 deaths; Philadelphia 10,507 cases and 272 deaths. Numbers differ slightly from statistics in charts above.
 

Government

Fitzpatrick announces over $250 million in federal funding to Bucks and Montgomery counties to fight COVID-19
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) this week announced an award allocation of Local Relief Grants totaling $253 million for Bucks and Montgomery counties. This funding is provided through the Coronavirus Relief Fund provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Fitzpatrick. Of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Bucks and Montgomery counties, both included in Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, were two of only seven counties statewide to receive these funds.
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Costa authors legislation to protect CARES Act payments from garnishment
State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (D-Allegheny) has unveiled legislation that would protect federal stimulus payments to people from being preyed upon by creditors and debt collectors. Costa’s bill would prohibit the garnishment of federal CARES Act payments -- such as the $1,200 stimulus or $600 unemployment compensation (UC) booster payment -- from garnishment.
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Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to expand curbside delivery program on Monday
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board today said it will expand its recently introduced curbside pickup service to 389 more Fine Wine & Good Spirits locations across the commonwealth on Monday, April 27, to serve more customers seeking wine and spirits while maintaining social distancing practices in the interest of public health and safety. The expanded list of stores offering curbside service is available online at https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Consumers/Documents/Store_List_Phase_2.pdf.
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Business

Souderton BID aims to assist small businesses; reward shoppers
Souderton Business Improvement District (BID) is running a give-back program designed to help local small businesses owners during the pandemic. Here’s how the $5 Giveback Program works: Spend at least $10 at a Souderton BID business; the list can be found at www.soudertonbid.com. Get $5 back by doing the following:
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Community Support

EPA provides critical information to the American public about safe disinfectant use
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing its efforts to provide critical information on surface disinfectant products that can be used to protect the health of all Americans throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. In support of these efforts, EPA now has nearly 400 products that have qualified to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This week the agency also published an overview (https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus) of its actions and resources related to disinfection against the novel coronavirus.


Keystone’s Fresh for All distribution to resume April 28
Keystone Opportunity Center’s Fresh for All distribution site will reopen for weekly food distributions on April 28. Originally halted due to social distancing guidelines, new procedures have been developed for the program that will allow contactless pickups. The new process is a drive through, where clients will stay in their cars until they get to the front of the line where they can grab pre-packed boxes to put into their cars and depart. Fresh for All, a partnership with Philabundance, is Keystone’s mobile pantry — the second food distribution program for the organization. Keystone Opportunity Center is located at 104 Main St., Souderton.


Keystone to accept food pantry donations at storage site
Keystone Opportunity Center’s Food Pantry stopped accepting food donations in late March until the agency could set up a safe method for collection. Keystone has announced that on April 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., it will be accepting food donations at the agency’s offsite storage site located on Duke Ally in Souderton, and this will continue each Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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Penn Community Bank donates 1,400 N95 masks to Bucks Emergency Services Center
Perkasie-based Penn Community Bank has donated over 1,400 N95 masks to the Bucks County Emergency Service Center as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Penn Community Bank’s donation was made possible by the disaster response planning of Joseph F. Gasper, Jr., the bank’s former Director of Compliance. Gasper, who retired in 2016 and passed away last month, was a 23-year Air Force veteran and passionate about preparation efforts. Thanks to these secured resources, the bank has been able to provide supplies to all its locations and still provide this donation to the community.
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Penn Community Bank team members Jessica Sweeney and Alexis Grote deliver over 1,400 N95 masks to the Bucks County Emergency Services Center.


Arts & Culture

County Theater offers streaming entertainment, for free and for rent
From new, independent films for rent, free broadcasts from the world’s top stages and museums, filmmaker events, and Hollywood Classics, the County Theater@Home virtual cinema is keeping the spirit of the theater-going experience alive.
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Yellow Springs Art Show moves online; opens tonight
The village of Historic Yellow Springs (HYS) expected to be overwhelmed with visitors tonight for the opening night gala of the 47th annual Yellow Springs Art Show. For 46 years, HYS has been showcasing talented artists from around the country, and is still hoping to do so, later this year. Now, however, HYS is launching its first-ever online Art Show and Sale, beginning tonight at 5 p.m. at
http://yellowsprings.org/.
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Warrington Township Police K9 Unit finds creative ways to stay connected to community
Warrington Township’s Police K9 Unit has found a creative way to stay engaged with the community, while maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have launched an internet story time and activity page series to help stay connected to children and families in the communities they serve, since the department’s community programs and meet and greets have been temporarily suspended.
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At their graduation in 2018 from PennVet Working Dog Center are, from left, Officer Stephen Plum, K9 Murphy, Officer John Blanchard and K9 Jolie.


Priorities USA supports legal challenge to limit voting by mail
On Wednesday, April 22, Priorities USA announced it was supporting and funding the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans’ legal challenge to four provisions that limit access to voting by mail or absentee ballot in Pennsylvania. The suit argues that due to the coronavirus crisis, Pennsylvania’s upcoming elections will occur in the middle or immediate aftermath of a severe public health crisis.
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Fuel the Fight raises funds for front line workers
Fuel the Fight, which started in Philadelphia and now has chapters across the country raises funds to donate to local restaurants so they can feed health care workers on the front lines. One group’s focus will be specifically Bucks County businesses and hospitals.

In two days, the local group was able to raise almost $1,500 and wants to keep the momentum going. Check out @fuelthefightbuckscounty or contact Dani Tuller at 215-534-6221 for information.


Education, Courses & Online Learning

PHEAA’s board of directors extends rules relief through summer
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency’s (PHEAA) board of directors took action today to extend temporary modifications made to agency-administered Pennsylvania student aid programs through the summer 2020 term to ensure that students do not experience any disruption or reduction of funding due to operational changes made by postsecondary schools in response to COVID-19.
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Health & Wellness

Army Medical Task Force Joins Battle Against COVID-19 in PA
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Department of State announced recently that a U.S. Army Reserve task force of 85 medical specialists has arrived in Pennsylvania to assist civilian health care professionals with the care of coronavirus patients. They will be deployed wherever they are needed. "We are extremely grateful to have these highly skilled military medical professionals serving on the frontlines, side-by-side with our brave civilian health care practitioners, as we wage war against this highly contagious and life-threatening virus,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said.
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St. Luke’s, Lehigh University collaboration leads to invention that sterilizes masks
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a feat of ingenuity – the invention of the “Bug Zapper” to sterilize masks. As hospitals and other front-line organizations jumped to secure large quantities of life-saving supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), there has also been the need to identify quicker, more efficient ways to clean and sterilize those items, particularly N95 masks. St. Luke’s University Health Network anesthesiologist Dr. Christopher Roscher anticipated the need and an idea began to form.
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The “Bug Zapper” in action.

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