Pointers in works for spend aid cash | Information

Mike Tedesco, President and CEO of Vision Together 2025, said there was a creative element in the way that American Rescue Plan money that normally wasn’t in state grant programs could be spent.

No guidelines are yet official.

But the U.S. Treasury Department has issued a tentative final ruling on the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan designed by President Joe Biden and the Democrats in Congress in response to the pandemic that hit the economy disrupted at historical levels and resulted in the deaths of more than 625,000 United States residents to date.

The money can be used:

• To respond to the public health emergency or its adverse economic impact, including helping households, small businesses and nonprofits, or helping affected industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality;

• To respond to workers doing essential public health work during the COVID-19 emergency by paying a premium to eligible workers;

• For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency compared to revenue accumulated in the last full fiscal year prior to the emergency; and

• To make necessary investments in water, sewage or broadband infrastructure.

“The really interesting thing about these guidelines is that it is the first federal rule I saw about money that says that here is a list of all the things you can do,” Tedesco said. “And by the way, this list is not exclusive, that is, if you can come up with different things that you need to do on behalf of COVID relief or economic development or recovery, those things you can do.”

The American bailout plan originally allocated $ 6.15 billion for counties, cities and local government units of Pennsylvania, including $ 32.2 million for Johnstown, $ 25.3 million for Cambria County, and $ 9.3 million – dollars for Bedford County and $ 14.2 million for Somerset County – although these amounts could be adjusted.

“There is an opportunity here to be transformative with these means,” said Tedesco. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone involved in the process.”

Tedesco has put together a one-page introduction to provide some general information to the recipients of the American rescue plan on the ground. Vision, an organization that supports the city and region, is also planning to hold a workshop in September.

This one-page report on the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds was prepared by Michael Tedesco, director of the Vision Together 2025 program in Johnstown.

The recipients have time to plan, as the use of the funds does not have to be determined until December 31, 2024. All funds must be spent by December 31, 2026.

“It’s just getting started right now, so there is a guide out there,” said Joel Valentine, president and CEO of Wessel & Company, who works for numerous local communities including Johnstown.

“I think a lot of people are waiting to see what some of the bigger churches are doing and then they follow suit,” said Valentine. “… Someone has to be the first person. But it seems like carefully analyzing where to properly spend the dollars is a reasonable thing now.

Valentine said recipients should “look at the guidelines and also work with your legal counsel and auditors to ensure you are spending the dollars to meet all federal guidelines.”

Renee Daly, executive director of Cambria County’s Redevelopment Agency, expects the federal government to release the final plans in September or October.

Daly said she and Ethan Imhoff, executive director of the Cambria County Planning Commission, will host at least two workshops after the guidelines are formalized.

“I don’t have enough details yet to know what to tell people,” said Daly. “Many of them have received their first round of funding and don’t know how to spend it. You contact us and we say that we are not quite sure yet. Just wait until we can give you further advice. “

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

CDC masks pointers might enhance danger of spreading Covid at work and in public, scientists say

The CDC’s new mask guidelines could actually increase the risk of Covid-19 spreading in public spaces and workplaces, scientists from a leading group of infectious diseases said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly reversed Mask instructions for vaccinated Americans last week said vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors in most environments. Officials said they changed their guidelines in part because research shows the vaccines offer very high levels of protection against the disease of Covid-19 and spread it to others.

“There is no debate about this fact,” said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, who sits on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, at a news conference hosted Thursday by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. However, the agency’s announcement created widespread confusion and frustration because “it was unexpected and lacked the necessary context for implementation by the state and local health community,” he said.

Duchin is the society’s liaison with the CDC’s Vaccination Committee. The company represents leading specialists in infectious diseases in the USA

“There was no information on how the guidelines could be used in practice, particularly in relation to the inability to check vaccination status,” said Duchin. The CDC also did not provide guidance on whether people should continue to wear masks in areas with high transmission rates or low vaccination rates, he said. “What the CDC did, however, was not optimal and gave the wrong impression that the mask mandates were being lifted.”

Doctors across the country and federal health officials continue to stress that only vaccinated people are safe to remove their masks. The new mask management was misinterpreted as the end of the pandemic and mask mandates, which puts the local health authorities in a very difficult position. States in the United States took the news as a cue to facilitate mask mandates. Texas Governor Greg Abbott used the new guidance to justify signing an executive order that threatens the fine for local officials and communities for not dropping mask requirements.

Duchin said that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are likely safe outdoors without masks, but they are not indoors.

“Now the risk of Covid-19 spreading in crowded indoor spaces with unvaccinated people and especially with poor ventilation is increased,” said Duchin. While the CDC’s scientific basis for the change is “solid,” Duchin said ending the mandate for inner masks “could lead to increased risk in public spaces and workplaces with avoidable spread of Covid-19, mostly among the unvaccinated spreads. “

Vaccination rates vary across the country, and the majority of those vaccinated are older adults. Large subgroups such as younger adults remain unvaccinated.

Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, who also spoke at the briefing, said research has shown that up to 3% of Americans have been told by their doctors that they have some level of immunodeficiency, which puts them at an increased risk of being exposed to Covid be.

“Millions of people fit that bill, and we literally have very little data on whether the vaccine works in them,” Marrazzo said. “There is a real reason to be careful and interpret the guidelines carefully.”

The scientists also said people need to acknowledge that there is uncertainty about the future course of the pandemic, the effects of emerging variants, the duration of immunity, and the potential for a Covid-19 resurgence.

“The Covid-19 outbreak is by no means over, there is still significant uncertainty and there is still significant disease activity,” said Duchin.

If someone is fully vaccinated and doesn’t have other conditions that threaten their community, and if the rate of Covid where they live is relatively low and the vaccination rate is high, Marrazzo said it would be “100% okay, pretty much anywhere without one. ” Mask.”

Marrazzo added that despite being fully vaccinated, she will continue to wear a mask around the house as vaccination rates in her community are not even 50%.

“If I knew we were seeing really notable decreases in hospital stays and symptomatic illnesses that may be related to Covid and that have a very high vaccination rate, I would probably go without a mask, but I won’t see this anytime soon,” she said.

While nearly half of all people in the United States, 160.2 million, received at least one shot, Marrazzo said only 4.6% of the world’s population did the same.

“People need to be aware of what’s going on and watch out for vaccination rates, look for the involvement of these new varieties and think about being ready to get things going again,” warned Marrazzo.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the press conference was hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

CDC shortens social distancing tips for colleges to three ft with masks

Giani Clarke, 18, a senior at Wilson High School, is taking a test in her AP Statistics class. The desks are being doubled to create more social distance.

Ben Hasty | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday revised their guidelines on social distancing in schools, stating that most students can now sit three feet apart instead of six feet while wearing masks.

The recommendation is for all K-12 students regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, or significant, the CDC said.

In communities with high transmission rates, the CDC recommends that middle and high school students stay at least three feet apart if schools cannot keep students and teachers in assigned groups, the agency said. In elementary schools, where younger children have been shown to have a lower risk of transmitting the virus than teenagers, children wearing masks can stay within three feet of them, according to the CDC.

The CDC said it continues to recommend a separation of at least two meters between adults in schools, as well as between adults and students. It is also recommended that you maintain a social distance of two meters in public areas, while dining, during indoor activities such as tape exercises and sports, and in environments outside of the classroom.

“CDC is committed to being at the forefront of science and to update our guidelines as new information becomes available,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. “Through safe, face-to-face tuition, our children gain access to vital social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to be successful.”

The updated guidelines of the federal health authorities follow a Study published last week Clinical Infectious Diseases magazine suggested that public schools could be safely reopened as long as children were three feet apart and other mitigation measures, such as wearing masks, were enforced.

Some schools had complained that adhering to the six-foot rule was impractical. The World health organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics both have a social distance of three feet. The Chief Medical Officer of the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that curtailed social guidelines were “likely” to happen.

–CNBC’s Will Feuer contributed to this report.

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