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Here’s a review of COVID-19 developments over the weekend.
Third Lebanon County case reported
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported on Sunday that there are now three confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lebanon County. No further details on the latest case were available.
As of 8:00 p.m. Sunday night, the Department was reporting 479 confirmed COVID-19 cases and two deaths statewide.
Hershey Medical Center reports first inpatient with COVID-19
In a Sunday afternoon news release, Hershey Medical Center reported that it had its first inpatient testing positive:
“Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has tested and is treating in-hospital its first confirmed case of COVID-19. The adult, non-employee patient is in negative-pressure isolation and is receiving care from dedicated, specially trained medical teams, according to COVID-19 treatment protocols. The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).”
“Due to federal privacy laws, and out of respect for the privacy of the patient and the family, Hershey Medical Center is not sharing any additional information on the medical status of the patient.”
Governor revises list of life-sustaining and non-life- sustaining businesses
Here is the latest list, straight from the Governor’s web page.
Meanwhile, PennLive is reporting that almost 10,000 businesses have asked for exemptions.
State Police to assist in enforcement of closure of non-life-sustaining businesses . . .
The Pennsylvania State Police announced on Sunday that they will be one of several state agencies enforcing Governor Wolf’s order closing businesses that the governor has declared non-life-sustaining businesses. Enforcement was to begin at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning.
. . . and the governor wants enforcement to go easy, recommends warnings to first time offenders.
In a memo to the P.S.P. and District Attorneys across the state, Governor Wolf called for restraint and good judgment in enforcing his order that certain businesses close during the crisis.
“We strive to ensure that enforcement of the orders will be consistent throughout the Commonwealth. We also expect that any discipline for violation of the orders will be progressive such that enforcement will begin with a warning to any suspected violator. Furthermore, enforcement should be prioritized to focus on businesses where people congregate.”
Lebanon County DA and law enforcement agree with the governor on closing enforcements
In a news release issued on Friday, Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf said that “Lebanon County’s municipal police departments, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Office of the District Attorney met today and reached a mutual understanding as to the procedures of law enforcement in the near future.”
Hess said that “[s]hould police respond to an incident, they may do a number of different things. Enforcement activity can include various actions on behalf of police such as urging the public to comply, warnings, or potentially citing individuals with violating the Governor’s Order.”
“As such,” Hess Graf continued, “police may simply tell persons in violation of the Order to disburse and go home. Should police feel it necessary, they may issue a summary citation equivalent to a fine.”
What’s open in Lebanon County?
Check out LebTown’s COVID-19 resource guide below.
Miscellaneous County Service Changes
• The Area Agency on Aging Meals on Wheels program will continue for existing recipients.
• Injection clinics at MH/ID/EI will continue as scheduled.
• Tax payments for real estate taxes and tax claim normally collected by the County Treasurer will still be accepted by mail or at the drop-box at the rear entrance to the County City Building.
• Dog licenses are still available for purchase online at www.padoglicense.com.
• The primary election is still scheduled for April 28, 2020, although that may change soon. Voters are encouraged to vote by mail-in ballot. Every voter can do this. You no longer need a reason or an excuse. Instructions can be found at www.votespa.com. UPDATE: The primary election has been postponed from Tuesday April 28 to Saturday, June 2, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
• Property parcel information will be available online free of charge until the end of April. More information can be found on the Assessment page of the Lebanon County website, www.lebcounty.org/GIS.
City: Parking meter enforcement suspended, street sweeping suspended, other miscellaneous changes
On Saturday, Lebanon Mayor Shery Capello suspended all parking meter enforcement until April 6.
Additionally, the city will be reserving free 15 minute street parking at meters for customers of life-sustaining businesses picking up food, and for delivery drivers. Signs will be hung on parking meters designating the free 15 minute spaces.
Any business wanting to apply for a sign can call 717-228-4401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Lebanon street sweeping operations have been temporarily suspended and will resume on April 6, 2020. Parking restrictions with designated sweeping routes will not be enforced.
Camping permits, special event permits, and applications to rent city owned recreation buildings will not be issued until further notice.
The city’s recycling center will be closed until Tuesday, April 7
Weis, Redners announce temporary pay increases for employees
Grocery chain Weis Markets announced Saturday that its in-store hourly employees will get a temporary $2.00 per hour bonus during the COVID-19 crisis, beginning on Sunday, March 22.
Weis operates two stores in Lebanon and one in Palmyra.
Redner’s Warehouse Markets, which operates stores in Palmyra and Fredericksburg, has announced a $1.00 per hour bonus for its hourly employees, and an unspecified bonus for salaried employees.
Their actions are in line with a growing number of food and non-food retailers nationwide that offering temporary pay raises, and in some cases temporarily hiring more workers.
12 Step meetings go online to keep members connected
“We shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation we’ve always had. Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness.” – 12 & 12, an Alcoholics Anonymous book, page 57.
Group meetings are the heart of 12 step recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Being part of a group and meeting face-to-face with others in recovery, often daily, are critical for newly-recovered alcoholics and addicts. Connection versus isolation can be the difference between staying clean and sober and relapsing.
So what happens when sitting next to others in an enclosed room for an hour at a time becomes unsafe? Local AA and NA groups are switching to online meetings.
According to a Sunday evening call to the Lebanon AA Intergroup, a clearinghouse for local AA groups, only one local AA group was still meeting in person. It’s at the Palmyra Church of the Brethern, 45 N. Chestnut Street, on Mondays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.
Otherwise, all Lebanon AA groups have gone online only for now, with one daily online meeting throughout the week. Times and information on how to connect can be found here.
The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs has also posted a list of online recovery meetings.
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