In this update:
Pushing state to prioritize PA residents for vaccine over individuals from out-of-state
This week included many updates and changes to the state’s haphazard rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
A bipartisan task force was created in the wake of many frustrated Pennsylvanians disappointed with the unilateral rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, which led to Pennsylvania lagging behind every other neighboring state when it comes to percentage of population vaccinated.
Under the updated guidelines released earlier this week, senior citizens and those with pre-existing medical conditions will continue to be prioritized for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines under a revised distribution plan that puts an emphasis on population, population over 65, infection rate, and COVID-19 death rate.
The task force also announced that teachers will eligible to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine under their own separate program and will not be included in Phase 1A (senior citizens and those with pre-existing medical conditions). Teachers will not receive priority status nor will they receive vaccinations ahead of those in Phase 1A and are expected to return to the classroom for in-person instruction.
In the wake of these changes, I noted that our local seniors are very frustrated with the lack of coordination and scatter-shot approach to the vaccine rollout to date, and rightfully so.
People should not feel like finding a vaccine is like trying to get the hottest toy for Christmas. This approach leads irritated senior citizens to call every pharmacy and health care provider in the hopes of obtaining a vaccine.
Following the announcement, I submitted a letter to the Acting Secretary of Health, Alison Beam, seeking to limit the vaccine to eligible Pennsylvanians.
As of this morning (Friday, March 5), there were 96,730 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered to individuals who reside out-of-state with 56,792 individuals already receiving the second dose.
On the other hand, there have been 27,832 of the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to York Countians and 26,027 fully covered.
There have been more than three times as many people who reside outside of the Commonwealth who have received the vaccine than York Countians. This is unacceptable.
I’ve also heard from several parents who cannot return to their job due to being forced to stay at home with children who have no option but remote learning.
Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a substantial increase in the number of mental-health related visits for school age children from April through October last year compared to the same time in 2019.
Getting our children back in the classroom will help us restore lives and livelihoods and help us get back to normal.
The Senate Education Committee and Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard that very message during a public hearing earlier this week, as well.
The message from teachers, parents, students, representatives of state agencies and other key stakeholders was clear – Pennsylvania students need to be back in the classroom as soon as possible to safeguard their educational development and mental health.
You can read more here.
Senate Appropriations Committee to kick off state budget hearings next week
Next week, the Senate Appropriations Committee will kick off its series of public hearings on the governor’s budget proposal.
If you have an opinion on the governor’s budget proposal, please let me know here.
Tune in to hear feedback on where we stand with the (never-ending) Mt. Rose Interchange when PennDOT testifies, or election concerns when the Department of State testifies.
All hearings will be streamed live on my Facebook. The schedule above is subject to change. Our full committee hearing schedule on the governor’s proposed budget can be found here.
Grant period opens March 15 for small businesses in hospitality industry devastated by shutdowns
COMING SOON: Grants of $5,000- $50,000 will be available to eligible small businesses in the hospitality industry.
The online application for the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program will open Monday, March 15 at 9 a.m. and will remain open until Wednesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. This program is not first come, first served.
More information can be found here.
Local jobs from PA CareerLink
After the response I received last week to these job postings, I will continue to share these updates with you in the hopes that it assists you or our neighbors throughout our community.
PA CareerLink shared with me their latest list of local job openings, which you can view below. You can also find job postings shared with the York County Economic Alliance here.
Take a (video) tour of the York County SPCA
Last month, I took a tour of the York County SPCA prior to unveiling Senate Bill 234, also known as Victoria’s Law.
SPCA Executive Director Steven Martinez and his team took me on our behind-the-scenes tour to see their comprehensive operation.
You can watch the tour in the video below.
ICYMI: Take a few minutes to provide feedback on state budget, tolling bridges
Last week, I shared with you two separate surveys on two issues I am hearing a lot about from our neighbors.
I want to apologize for some confusion on the budget survey. The survey question reads: “Do you support the governor’s proposed budget for the upcoming 2021-2022 Fiscal Year?” There was language that carried over from a prior survey that resulted in questions. This has been corrected.
If you submitted a survey and misunderstood the question, you may retake the survey. Your most recent response will be counted and the earlier feedback will not be counted.
As always, I appreciate your feedback and engagement on these issues. I look forward to sharing the results with you in the coming weeks.
Governor signs law to activate National Guard with COVID-19 vaccine
On Wednesday, Governor Wolf signed Act 4 into law which gives the National Guard the authority to distribute and administer the vaccine to eligible Pennsylvanians who want to receive it.
The Senate unanimously approved this bill last month, as did the House of Representatives. It is clear that this measure was needed to address the initial rollout of the vaccine in Pennsylvania.
You can read more about this measure here.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
Please be advised of several PennDOT projects in the coming weeks that may affect your travel.
According to PennDOT, Tuesday March 16, and Wednesday, March 17, conditions permitting, the contractor will set beams for the I-83 bridge over Route 851 at the I-83 Exit 4 (Shrewsbury) interchange.
There will be intermittent traffic stoppages of up to 15 minutes on Route 851 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. so beams can be set. Motorists should expect delays.
Beams also will be set on a second span that is not over live traffic, so there will be no traffic restrictions.
These beams are for the final stage of the bridge work. While there will be no traffic restrictions on I-83 during these operations, motorists should be alert for construction vehicles entering and exiting the work zone on I-83.
Furthermore, PennDOT is inviting the public to an online plan display regarding the Route 2079 (Cross Roads Avenue) Bridge Replacement Project in Felton Borough, York County.
PennDOT notes that the project consists of replacing the 72-year-old steel I-beam structure, approach pavement replacement, and guide rail updates.
The existing bridge width will be increased to accommodate two 11-foot lanes and 4-foot shoulders. The bridge will be closed for approximately three months to all traffic during the construction. The proposed detour route will use Route 2060 (Rippling Run Road) to Route 0024 (Main Street) to Route 2052 (Church Road) then back to Route 2079.
You can learn more here.
In addition to those projects, PennDOT shared with me their list of upcoming scheduled maintenance projects, which you can view below.