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Local coronavirus briefing - March 19, 2020

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Pennsylvania reports 52 new cases of COVID-19
The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed that as of noon today, March 19, there are 52 additional positive cases of COVID-19 reported, bringing the statewide total to 185, including 12 in Bucks County. The state also reported one death, an adult from Northampton County. All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. “Our notable increase in cases over the last few days and our first death in Pennsylvania indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”

The 185 cases of COVID-19 are reported from commercial, hospital and state labs. There are 1,608 patients who have tested negative, and one death. With commercial labs being the primary testing option for most Pennsylvanians, data is not available on the total number of tests pending.


Governor Wolf announces first death related to COVID-19
The Wolf Administration Wednesday confirmed the state's first COVID-19-related death, an adult from Northampton County. Carmine Fusco, 55, died Wednesday afternoon at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill, five days after his sister Rita Fusco-Jackson, also in her 50s, died from the virus in New Jersey and hours before his mother, Grace Fusco of Freehold, N.J., succumbed to the same illness.


Easton Farmers Market an additional venue for farmers
As local farmers are watching their wholesale orders from restaurants dwindle in the wake of COVID-19/Coronavirus, the Easton Farmers’ Market is stepping in to offer an additional venue for them to sell their fresh produce, pasture-raised meats, eggs, dairy and prepared goods. “Our farmers depend heavily on wholesaling, especially during the winter months,” said Easton Market District Director Megan McBride. “And now 80 percent of their retail and restaurant sales have dried up. On top of that many of their winter markets have shut down. Even in these uncertain times, we all need to eat — and local farmers are ready and able to meet the demand.” For that reason, Easton Farmers’ Market will bump its biweekly Winter Market up to a weekly market, starting Saturday, March 21. The move offers a new source for customers to find the goods they need and will continue to be held on Church Street (behind Easton Public Market).


G.O.A.L. cancels cleanups in Lower Bucks
G.O.A.L. had scheduled a March 21 cleanup in Magnolia Hill, a cleanup of the Delaware Canal on April 4, and a cleanup of Silver Lake Nature Center on April 4. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, PA DCNR canceled the canal cleanup, as did Silver Lake Nature Center. G.O.A.L. decided to follow federal guidelines by canceling our March 21 cleanup.


Centennial School Board cancels meeting
The Centennial School District School Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, has been canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The board is working toward virtual meetings moving forward and will post any and all changes to the website and through traditional channels. The board president has created an Ad Hoc Governance Committee consisting of four members of the board to represent a balanced cross-section of the overall board. As an initial task, the board president charged this committee with recommending how the board could be better engaged as a group, and the committee recommended, as a start, revision of the original appointments of committee members and liaisons to reflect the entire Board of elected School Directors. The revisions will be posted on the district's website within the next 24 hours or as soon as practicable.


Philadelphia Bar Association hosts webinar on working from home
Ramping up remote work capabilities during the coronavirus pandemic
The Philadelphia Bar Association, announced it will hold a free working from home guidance webinar in partnership with Red Cave Consulting, a business management consulting company for lawyers and law firms, tomorrow, Friday, March 20 at 10 a.m. “It is important for our Association to help support our members and those in the legal community to adapt and change to the environment around us,” said Chancellor Hon. A. Michael Snyder (ret.). “Despite the current COVID-19 public health crisis, our legal professionals will continue to work and provide critical services for our community in a safe manner.” The webinar is open to both Association members and non-members. For free registration online, click HERE.


WHYY Broadcasts The Philadelphia Orchestra’s BeethovenNOW Concert performed to empty concert hall following coronavirus cancellation
From 9 to 10:45 p.m. Saturday, March 21, WHYY-TV will broadcast The Philadelphia Orchestra's BeethovenNOW concert from March 12 which was performed to an empty Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts following concert cancellations due to COVID-19. In honor of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra performed the composer’s 5th and 6th Symphonies in dialogue with a new work by composer Iman Habibi, Jeder Baum spricht (Every Tree Speaks). The concert will also be available at WHYY.org and on the PBS app.


Caleb's American Kitchen will start offering Curbside Pickup Service
From noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Caleb’a American Kitchen on Lower York Road, Lahaska, will offer pickup service. The takeout menu will be posted at CalebsAmericanKitchen.com. To place an order call us at 215.794.8588 and have your credit card ready. We are also accepting cash. When you arrive, please call, remain in your car and a server will come out and ring you up.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court closes courts to the public statewide.


All Pennsylvania courts closed
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today announced that all Pennsylvania courts – including trial and intermediate appellate courts – are closed to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 3. The statewide court closure also includes magisterial district courts, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Arraignment Division. In addition, the Court has suspended all time calculations and deadlines relevant to court cases or other judicial business through April 3. The court has also authorized and encouraged the use of advanced communication technology to conduct emergency court proceedings.


Guidance from Pennsylvania funeral directors on holding funerals during COVID-19
David Peake, Jr., president of the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association, released the following statement with guidance about holding funeral services, in light of restrictions due to COVID-19:
As licensed funeral directors, we provide comfort and care to families and their friends, when a loved one dies. During this time, all funeral homes will be operating on our normal 24-hour, seven days a week schedule to ensure that there is no interruption of service to families, regardless of the cause of death. Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about restricting the size of gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our tradition of gathering extended family and friends around us to provide comfort and share our loss during funeral services.

Federal and State officials have indicated, one way to limit the spread of COVID-19 is through limiting public gatherings (social distancing) to 10 people for the next eight weeks. Taking this precaution will limit the exposure of our community to the Coronavirus. As a part of ongoing training and licensing requirements, the staff at every funeral home in Pennsylvania is trained to protect the safety of the people they serve. We always follow stringent health and safety precautions. To help us maintain as safe an environment as possible, we ask that anyone with symptoms of fever, cough or any of the other symptoms of COVID-19 refrain from attending any funeral or memorial services.


Concordia Chamber Players cancel concert
As part of a unified attempt to fight the spread of the Coronavirus, the Concordia Chamber Players have decided to cancel the April 19 concert. Ticket refunds will be made.


Glencairn Museum extend scheduled reopening date to May 12
Glencairn Museum administration has closed the Museum and is cancelling all public events through May 11—in accordance with Governor Wolf’s recommendation in response to COVID-19. Cancelled events include: All sessions of the Pysanky Ukrainian Easter Eggs Workshops; March 22 Elizabeth Pitcairn Violin Concert; All daily guided tours; Access to self-guided exhibition Sacred Adornment: Jewelry as Belief in Ancient Egypt, which runs through Nov. 1; Les Canards Chantants vocal ensemble concert April 19; and Annual Sacred Arts Festival on April 26. At this time, Glencairn plans to reopen Tuesday, May 12, with its usual hours and programs. If that changes, Glencairn will communicate any updates on its website and social pages. The public can also contact Visitor Services at 267-502-2990 or info@GlencairnMuseum.org.


Prallsville Mills postpones Spring Fling Progressive Dinner until June
The Delaware River Mill Society’s annual Progressive Dinner, a cherished rite of spring that provides a significant portion of the annual support for maintaining the Prallsville Mills complex along the Delaware River in Stockton, N.J., has been postponed from April 4 until June 20, due to the coronavirus. The dinner begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 20, with a cocktail party at the Grist Mill, the key building in the Prallsville Mills complex. At 7:30 p.m., phase two begins as attendees move to supporter’s homes for dinners. Tickets are $175 a person for the whole affair, or $100 a person for cocktails and auction only and can be purchased at prallsvillemills.org.


Pineville Tavern launches Lemons to Lemonade initiative to feed hungry children
Andrew Abruzzese and his team at the historic Pineville Tavern are spreading good will and pitching in to help their employees and local children affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The worldwide health crisis is affecting people in profound ways – from the loss of jobs and income to food insecurity. This need has spurred the Abruzzeses to take action by making weekly deliveries of kids’ meals to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) and Fisherman’s Mark in Lambertville, N.J. Here’s how the initiative works: The Pineville Tavern is offering a free kid’s meal and fresh squeezed lemonade with the purchase of any delivery or takeout order. Beginning today, Thursday, March 19, with every order the restaurant receives for takeout or delivery, patrons will be asked if they’d like to keep the kid’s meal or donate it to feed local children in need. In addition to the meal donations to area food banks, Abruzzesse will donate 100% of restaurant gift card sales during this crisis to company employees who are not working, which totasl approximately 40 people. “At the end of March we’ll divide the capital from the sale of gift cards and the funds will be distributed to our servers, bartenders, hosts and bussers — everyone who works inside our operation who isn’t able to work due to federal and local restrictions on serving guests in our dining rooms. Our workers are our family, and we’re going to do everything possible to help them through this uncertain time.” The Pineville Tavern is located at 1089 Durham Road in Pineville. Learn more by visiting PinevilleTavern.com.


Special Equestrians closes; staff maintains care of therapy horses
Special Equestrians (SE) in Warrington made the decision to close on March 16, with plans to remain closed until March 29 or until Gov. Wolf allows non-essential businesses and organizations to reopen. SE is operating with a small staff to care for its herd of therapy horses and is offering online activities for volunteers and riders. SE’s administrative staff will be on hand to answer questions. The Special Equestrians Charity Golf Tournament at Commonwealth National Golf Club has been postponed to July 13. Other events are currently under review.


Hunterdon freeholders approve response plan to protect the public, employees
Hunterdon County’s Freeholder Board approved a COVID-19 response plan Tuesday that calls for additional budget funding for public health emergency response activities and authorizes the county administrator to implement telecommuting and alternate work schedules for county employees where necessary. The approved resolution provides the administrator with the authority, in consultation with the board’s director, to establish telecommute, flextime and alternate work schedule programs for county employees and to reassign workers where needed temporarily.


Property tax/rent rebate program application deadline extended
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the deadline for older adults and Pennsylvania residents with disabilities to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2019 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, the Department of Revenue announced today. Under Pennsylvania law, the initial deadline for the filing of applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is June 30. The Department of Revenue typically evaluates the program as the statutory June 30 application deadline approaches to determine if funds are available to extend the deadline. Due to the recent closure of commonwealth offices and to give applicants more time, the deadline is being extended earlier than usual this year. Distribution of rebates will begin no earlier than July 1, as required by law.


Mercer Museum, Fonthill postpone fundraiser
Museum and Library and Fonthill Castle have been closed since end of day March 13, following federal and state protocols, doing their part to help counter the spread of the virus. With these measures in place, they have made the difficult decision to postpone their “Henry’s Flights of Fancy” fundraiser, originally scheduled for April 19. “While we do not have a reschedule date at this time, we look forward to celebrating with you the Mercer Museum’s new event space, and the possibilities it holds for future gatherings and special occasions. We miss sharing time with you--our museum family of supporters, visitors and friends-- but we will get through this together. Be safe and take good care….”

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