.Duke Center man arrested for domestic violence…..Austin resident accused of violating PFA…Several motorists arrested for DUI…..State House approves Owlett’s bill to examine Wolf administration’s Covid 19 response….House Speaker proposes Election Audit Commission…
Monday’s high, 72; Overnight low, 59
TUE-SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS, HIGH 79
TUE NIGHT-LOW 59
WED-THUNDERSTORMS, HIGH 80
WED NIGHT-SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS, LOW 63
THU-OVERCAST, HIGH 72
THU NIGHT-CLEARING, LOW 54
State police at Lewis Run arrested 31 year old Justin Nichols of Duke Center with physical harassment for a domestic violence incident last Friday night. Authorities claim Nichols committed the crimes against a 30 year old Duke Center woman.
A 2003 GMC owned by Andrew Buehler of Ridgway was stolen over the weekend. But the vehicle was located and returned to the owner.
An Austin man was arrested for violating a protection from abuse order last week. Troopers claim 43 year old Clint Fowler called a 40 year old Emporium woman’s phone and left several voicemails on May 15 and 16.
Drug possession charges have been lodged against 38 year old Benjamin Marzullo of Beaver, PA by state police at Emporium. Troopers said when they stopped to question Marzullo who was inside his car parked on Route 120 he showed signs of impairment and was placed under arrest for driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
A 63 year old St. Marys resident was arrested for DUI after he was pulled over for several traffic violations on Route 120 in Shippen Township Saturday afternoon and allegedly showed signs of impairment. Police did not release his name but said he was driving 2009 Jeep.
Less than a week after the state’s voters opted to approve two constitutional amendments placing limits on a governor’s emergency powers, the state House has approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) requiring an in-depth review of this administration’s COVID-19 response.
“For more than a year, the Wolf administration has been less than forthcoming about why it made the decisions it did relating to the COVID-19 response, and I think that’s reflected in the outcome of the constitutional amendment questions on last week’s ballot,” Owlett said. “Those amendments will help improve transparency during emergencies in the future, but we still need to look back at this one and hold leaders accountable for the decisions made and to learn from them.”
House Bill 1264 would require the administration to compile a detailed report on issues related to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and personal protective equipment (PPE). As the bill has advanced through the legislative process, the bill has been expanded to include additional details, particularly relating to the $51 million PPE stockpile and how it’s been managed.
“Many of us are baffled by the administration’s decision to store valuable PPE in a building that sits in a flood plain and is highly susceptible to rats, mice and other vermin,” Owlett said. “Since our relevant committee chairmen weren’t permitted to view the stockpile without signing a non-disclosure agreement, we are going another route to get the information we and the public deserve to know.”
The bill directs the report to include the types of PPE the state acquired and how many of each type, how much has been distributed, how much remains and how much money was spent on it. The report also would answer questions about whether the stockpile is insured; what’s being done to protect it against rodent damage; how much PPE or other medical supplies have been disposed of, and how, because they were expired, damaged or otherwise unusable; the cost of storing the supplies at the Farm Show Complex; and more.
In addition to information about PPE, the bill would also boost capacity for COVID-19 testing; require the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to consider the information in these reports when issuing its annual report to the General Assembly; provide information on the state’s medical oxygen supply; report how many vaccines in the Commonwealth have been wasted, expired or destroyed; and provide privacy for COVID-19 vaccine personal information, a timely issue given the recent data breach involving the personal information of more than 72,000 Pennsylvanians who were contact traced by the state and its contractor, Insight Global.
House Bill 1264 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Keeping a promise he made to improve Pennsylvania’s election auditing process and ensure public trust in election results, Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) introduced legislation today that would establish a Pennsylvania Bureau of Election Audits under the office of the state’s Auditor General.
“Even a shred of uncertainty in the results of our elections is enough to shake the bedrock of what we stand for in this country,” Cutler said. “We must make strides to grow trust in our processes, and a thorough, independent audit of every election in our Commonwealth is a step toward ensuring the public’s trust.”
The bureau would be required to conduct result-confirming audits of each election in the Commonwealth, completed by the third Friday following the election.
The audits would comprehensively examine all future elections, looking at all aspects of the process and results, including equipment, absentee and mail-in ballots, performance audits of election systems at least every five years, and any other audit deemed necessary by the Bureau of Election Audits to ensure the public trust in the outcome of each election. Additionally, the bureau would be required to provide corrective action plans to address any errors or deficiencies discovered in the audit.
The bureau would be established with a new appropriation in the state budget of $3.1 million.
“Pennsylvanians rightly deserve and expect elections to be secure and accurate,” Cutler added. “An investment that ensures the public’s trust in our electoral process is worth every penny.”
The bureau would not look back at previous elections, and if the standing auditor general is running for re-election, or any other office, he or she would be required to appoint an independent auditor to oversee the bureau for that general or primary election.
The legislation will now be considered by the House State Government Committee.
– The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., May 24 there were 693 additional positive cases of COVID-19, in addition to 856 new cases reported Sunday, May 23, for a two-day total of 1,549 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,196,562.
There are 1,261 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 293 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19.
The percentage of COVID-19 cases in 0-to-49-year-olds is rising as indicated by the COVID-19 age distribution of COVID-19 cases from January 2021 to present in May 2021:
Age Range Percent of cases in January Percet of cases to date in May
0-4 1.7% 3.4%
5-12 4.0% 8.4%
13-18 6.3% 11.1%
19-24 10.5% 11.2%
25-49 37.5% 38.1%
50-64 22.4% 18.3%
65 and older 17.7% 9.5%
The trend in the 14-day moving average number of hospitalized patients per day is coming down, after peaking at 2,661 patients which is slightly below what it was at the height of the spring 2020 peak of 2,751 patients on May 3, 2020.
Statewide percent positivity for the week of May 14 – May 20 stood at 4.5%.
As of 11:59 p.m. Saturday, May 22, there were 13 new deaths and as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 23, there was 1 new death identified by the Pennsylvania death registry, reported for a total of 27,043 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.
According to the CDC, as of Monday morning, May 24, Pennsylvania has administered first doses of vaccine to 56.7% of its entire population, and the state ranks 9th among all 50 states for first doses administered by percentage of population.
According to the CDC, as of Monday morning, May 24, 51.8% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.
According to the CDC, as of Monday morning, May 24, Pennsylvania ranks 5th among all 50 states for total doses administered.
Vaccine providers have administered 10,212,401 total vaccine doses as of Monday, May 24.
4,488,578 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of more than 65,500 people per day receiving vaccinations.
1,608,374 people are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received one dose of a two-dose vaccine.
6,096,952 people have received at least their first dose.
This week, a total of 10,749,200 doses will have been allocated through May 29:
297,520 first/single doses will have been allocated this week.
297,520 second doses will have been allocated this week.
To date, 10,212,401 Total doses have been administered through May 24:
First/single doses: 6,096,952 administered
Second doses: 4,115,449 administered
Fully vaccinated people may choose not to wear a mask indoors or outdoors unless the business or organization requires it, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are 4,565,558 individuals who have tested negative to date.
In licensed nursing and personal care homes, there are 71,632 resident cases of COVID-19, and 15,313 cases among employees, for a total of 86,945 at 1,591 distinct facilities in all 67 counties.
Approximately 28,595 of the total cases are among health care workers.
All Pennsylvanians age 12 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. Use Vaccine Window to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.