Mar. 17, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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COVID-19 Information and Local Resources
 
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious disease that can create life-threatening health problems in some patients. This email update includes information and resources to help keep you and your family up to date on the latest news regarding this new virus.

To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported that dozens of Pennsylvanians in at least 14 counties have tested presumptively positive for the disease, and hundreds of others have undergone testing and are awaiting results.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have created webpages to keep the public informed about how to contain the spread of the disease. I encourage you to visit these sites for additional information:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html  
PA Department of Health: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Governor Wolf and Department of Health officials are also providing daily updates to the public. The updates are available at https://governor.pa.gov/live.

Check my website for additional information as the situation continues to develop.

Signs, Symptoms and Preventative Measures

According to the Department of Health, symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  •   Fever.
  •   Coughing.
  •   Shortness of breath.

The CDC recommends taking the following steps to help minimize the risk of infection:

  •   Wash your hands frequently.
  •   Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  •   Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  •   Stay home if you are sick.
  •   Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
  •   Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

The Department of Health has shared this outline explaining these preventative measures, including social distancing practices.

The Department of Health advises people who have mild symptoms to stay home to avoid contact with others.

COVID-19 Testing Information

Residents must contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or their family physician FIRST if they are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) to see if they need to be tested. If a test is required, residents can refer to their family physician for testing information .

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov, or the Pennsylvania Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov.

Unemployment Compensation (UC) Benefits Information

At this time, Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with www.PACareerLink.gov. At this time, benefits are not being extended beyond 26
For more information concerning unemployment compensation for EMPLOYEES, visit https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspx.

For more information concerning EMPLOYER unemployment relief, visit https://www.uc.pa.gov/employers-uc-services-uc-tax/uc-benefit-information/Pages/Relief-from-Charges.aspx.

Small Business Information

As per the governor, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is offering working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. The U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses, https://www.sba.gov

Local Resources

My office has been informed that the Commission on Economic Opportunity in Wilkes-Barre will be handing out meals to children and senior citizens weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1 65 Amber Ln, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.

Similarly, Seven Loaves Soup Kitchen will offer curbside meal pickup during weekdays from 5-6:30 p.m. at 51 Warren St, Tunkhannock, PA 18657.

Governor Orders Closure of Bars, Restaurants, Other Venues for Two Weeks


To limit in-person contact that could spread the coronavirus, Governor Wolf has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, including bars, dine-in restaurants, gyms and other entertainment venues for two weeks. Essential businesses like healthcare providers, grocery stores and gas stations will remain open.

Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so.

Information for employees who may be affected by the shutdown is available from the Department of Labor and Industry here.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) offered guidance on which businesses are essential or nonessential here.

Any questions pertaining to whether the governor’s order affects a particular business should be directed to DCED.

Pennsylvania Schools to Remain Closed through March 27


Governor Wolf has ordered all K-12 schools to remain closed through at least Friday, March 27. The Administration will reevaluate when it is safe for schools to reopen. No school will be penalized for failing to meet the mandated 180 days of instructional time for the 2019-2020 school year.

A number of school districts are developing alternative education plans and continuing to offer lunches for students. Parents and guardians of students are encouraged to learn more about how their school district is responding to the school shutdown by visiting their school district’s website or calling the school.

School Lunch Information

With the school closings, there have been many questions about whether students will receive lunches. Here is what I have received from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE):

  •   Pennsylvania sought and received approval from the federal government to allow schools the option to distribute meals at no cost while schools are closed. Districts/schools that want to act on this federal approval must applyto PDE.
  •   PDE has begun and continues to expedite approvals.
  •   Districts/schools may utilize essential staff to ensure students have access to meals.
  •   PDE is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, other state agencies, the American Red Cross, and public and privatepartners to expand these efforts.
                                   
Click here for a list of school districts in Luzerne County distributing meals during the coronavirus shutdown.

Lackawanna Trail School District's breakfast and lunch meal pick-up program begins Weds, March 18, from 10am-1pm at the Elementary Center. All K-12 students are eligible. Child must be present with a caregiver. Please havestudent ID number ready and follow posted traffic and pick up signs in the parking lot. More information is available on the district's website.

Tunkhannock Area School District began distributing meals to families in need yesterday, March 17, from 4- 6 p.m. More information is available on their website.  Additionally, Seven Loaves Soup Kitchen will operateMonday through Friday from 5-6 p.m. offering takeout meals to families in need.

My District Offices Are Temporarily Closed to Walk-Ins

In order to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and protect the health and safety of local residents and office staff, my offices will be temporarily closed to walk-in appointments until further notice. All upcoming satellite and outreach hours have also been canceled.

My staff will still be available to respond to emails and phone messages during this time. Community residents who need help with any problem related to state government are encouraged to visit my website at www.RepBoback.com.

PennDOT Closures

All PennDOT Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks effective at the close of business Monday, March 16.

Expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections will also be extended:

  •   Driver’s licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, through March 31, the expiration date is now extended until April 30.
  •   Vehicle registrations, safety inspections and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, the expiration date is now extended until April 30.
  •   Persons with Disabilities Parking Placards scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, the expiration date is now extended until April 30.

All PennDOT district and county maintenance offices are closed. Construction projects have been suspended until further notice, however PennDOT crews are available to perform critical functions and emergency maintenance as needed.

All PennDOT rest areas and welcome centers statewide are closed to the public.
 
Our District

Web Site


RepBoback.com
Office Locations
105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657 | Phone: (570) 836-4777
41-B East Wing, Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com
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