Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania all affirm circumstances because it spreads to eight states

A medical worker gives a nasal swab-Covid-19- to a traveler at the Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care test site in the international terminal of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, USA, Thursday, December 2nd Test, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

At least eight US states now have at least 20 cases of the highly mutated Omicron-Covid-19 variant after Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania confirmed all infections on Friday.

The news comes a day after 10 cases were cconfirmed in Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California, which reported the nation’s first case of the variant in a patient in San Francisco on Wednesday and the tenth case in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Maryland health officials have confirmed cases in three residents of the metropolitan area of ​​Baltimore. One patient was vaccinated and recently traveled to South Africa, and another was unvaccinated and in close contact with that patient, according to a press release from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

The third case in Maryland is unrelated to the others and involves a vaccinated person with no recent travel history, the press release said. None of the three people are hospitalized.

The patient in Pennsylvania is a man in his thirties from northwest Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The department is still working to get more information on the case, it said in a press release.

Hours earlier, Nebraska officials confirmed six infections after a traveler returned from Nigeria and apparently infected five members of her household.

The first patient returned from Nigeria on November 23 and became symptomatic on November 24, according to a press release from the Public Health Solutions District Department of Health.

Only one of the six people was vaccinated and none had to be hospitalized, the department said.

New York officials confirmed five cases late Thursday: one in Suffolk County on Long Island, two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and another in New York City. Minnesota public health officials confirmed the second case of variant in the United States earlier that day in a resident who had recently returned from a New York City convention.

The US is among the list of 38 countries with confirmed cases the World Health Organization announced the Omicron variant on Friday.

President Joe Biden on Thursday tightened pre-departure test rules for international flights and expanded mask requirements on public transport as part of a broader strategy to curb the spread of the new variant.

However, officials in New York and Hawaii who reported cases of the variant Thursday said they believe Omicron is already spreading in their communities.

“This is not just because of people traveling to southern Africa or other parts of the world where Omicron has already been identified,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, at a press conference on Thursday.

Omicron has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein that the virus uses to attach to human cells. According to the WHO, some of the mutations are associated with higher transmission and reduced antibody protection.

Health officials in the US and around the world have feared that the variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines to some extent.

“The molecular profile of the types of mutations you see [in omicron] would suggest that it may be more transmissible and could elude some of the protection afforded by vaccines, “White House chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters on Wednesday.” But we don’t know now.

Pennsylvania grant cash going to fireplace, emergency responders all through Lycoming County | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

The local firefighters and emergency services received the welcome news this week that they are being strengthened by the state with their financing needs.

The Fire and Emergency Services grant program helps alleviate some of the challenges first responders face in their fundraising efforts.

DuBoistown Vol. Fire Co. Fire Chief Paul McKinley said the division’s allocations of $ 12,589 for fire and $ 8,993 for ambulance are very welcome.

“Every year we apply for funding” he said.

McKinley said both fire departments and EMS are trying to repair vehicles and replace old equipment.

He noted that efforts to raise donations locally were challenging, including last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joe Hopple, of Old Lycoming Township Vol. Fire Co., said the department plans to upgrade and replace equipment.

The purchases include three new automated external defibrillators for the ambulance service.

“This helps us improve our CPR response.” he said. “On the fire side, we buy some hoses, nozzles, and fire extinguishing equipment. We had to apply for the money and say what we would use it for. “

The fire department receives $ 13,480 and EMS $ 8,890.

The grant program, administered by the State Fire Commissioner’s Office, is available to all fire and rescue services, as well as volunteer rescue teams, according to Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township.

Money can be used to build, repair or renovate facilities, purchase equipment, education and training, hire or stay, or to cover lost income due to the fundraising interruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muncy Area Vol. 2 Fire Co. Assistant Manager Kevin Rupert noted that the equipment is needed for the fire and rescue services.

“On the EMS side are our plans to buy protective vests and breathing apparatus with positive pressure”, he said. “On the fire side, we are examining the modernization of our first rescue equipment and the acquisition of thermal imaging devices for the fire brigade.”

Yaw said the region is blessed to have highly skilled and dedicated people who volunteer their time and efforts to protect communities.

“These grant payments will help alleviate some of the stresses these organizations face on a day-to-day basis.” he said.

Fund allocations in Lycoming County ranged from $ 2,613 for Plunketts Creek Fire Department EMS to $ 23,733 for Muncy Area Vol. Fire Co.

The following additional circle fire and EMS organizations that receive funding are:

• Antes Fort Fire Co.

• Citizens Hose Co. Jersey Shore

• Clinton Township Vol. 1 Fire Co. No. 1

• Elders Congregation Vo. Fire Co.

• Hepburn Ward Vol. 2, No. Fire Co.

• Hughesville Vol. fire Department

• Jersey Shore Fire Co.

• Lairdsville Community Vol. 2, No. Fire Co., Inc.

• Loyalsock Vol. Fire Co. No. 1

• Montgomery Vol. Fire Co.

• Nippenose Valley Vol. 2, No. Fire Co.

• Nisbet Vol. Fire Co.

• Old Lycoming Township Vol. 2, No. Fire Co., Inc.

• Picture Rocks Vol. 1 Fire Co. Ambulance

• Ralston Vol. Fire Co., Inc.

• South Williamsport Fire Co.

• Trout run vol. Fire Co.

• Unityville Vol. Fire Co.

• Washington Township Vol. 1 Fire Co.

• Waterville Vol. Fire Co.

• Williamsport Office of Fire

• Willing Hand Hose Co. 1, Montoursville

• Woodward Ward Vol. 2, No. Fire Co.

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Key Pennsylvania state senator backs Arizona-style election audit · Highlight PA

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HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania state senator, responsible for a key electoral committee, backs a November presidential contest review similar to the Arizona partisan ballot review four days after former President Donald Trump called him out and claimed he was hesitant.

Despite two reviews and assurances from all levels of government that the election was free from widespread fraud, Senator David Argall (R., Schuylkill) told Spotlight PA that he saw no “harm in trying to answer the question again” . Worries people have. “

But such an endeavor, especially when driven by a single political party, is sure to attract criticism and raise critical questions, including the cost of who would pay for it and why it would be more trustworthy than the widely accepted audits already completed .

Argall’s counterpart in the State House declined an additional review, but the Senate can order its own review, and Argall’s committee has the power to summon ballot papers.

“The results are the results,” Argall said during the Spotlight PA Capitol Live event Friday when asked if he recognized the November results as legitimate. “The electoral college has spoken, you know the president was sworn in. I understand that this is the reality.”

District election and state officials, as well as Trump’s own attorney general, have repeatedly said there is no evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania and that the results are accurate and reflect the will of voters across the state.

Still, Pennsylvania was and is the focus of Trump and his most ardent supporters, who falsely claim the 2020 elections were stolen. Many Republican lawmakers, including leadership in the House, signed a letter urging Congress to turn down the state election for President Joe Biden, while prominent senators, including Argall, asked the panel to postpone certification of the electoral college because “inconsistent and questionable activity. “

On Monday, Trump targeted Argall and the President of the Senate of the state Pro Tempore Jake Corman (right, center), requested an examination and asked whether they were “stupid, corrupt or naive”.

“I am sure that if Corman continues on this path of resistance with its lack of transparency, it will be preferred and will lose in large numbers,” the former president said in a statement.

Despite continued efforts by Trump and some US Republicans to question the election results, Argall said, “I don’t know why people are so suspicious of the results.”

“I just know it’s you,” he said.

Argall said he was focused on the process, including rulings by the state Supreme Court and the Wolf Administration, which “completely ignored” the legislature’s intentions when they passed a major election overhaul in 2019, including the universal one Introduced postal voting.

Experts previously informed Spotlight PA and Votebeat that there are State Department guidelines on issues such as “healing” postal ballot papers with issues such as a missing privacy envelope was the result of loopholes in the law. In rulings by the state Supreme Court, including one that allowed postal ballot papers to be received beyond the standard deadline, the pandemic has been identified as a need for exceptional relief.

“Do I have 100 percent confidence … that everything was perfect? No, I really want us to look into this in detail, ”Argall said. “So we’re looking at changing parts of the electoral law, and I also think it wouldn’t hurt to go back, do that check and say, ‘How exactly did that work?'”

These concerns, and how to address them, have been the subject of 10 State House Panel hearings, culminating in one Comprehensive GOP proposal to change voting in Pennsylvania. Argall said he couldn’t be sure what further examination would reveal, if anything.

When asked if he thought the election was fair and safe, he said, “Can’t we take the test and respond so that we can all have a definitive answer?”

“So is that a yes or a no?” answered the interviewer.

“That means let’s do the audit and find out.”

Argall chairs the Senate’s powerful government committee, which is considering redistribution of laws in addition to electoral laws. In an in-depth interview with Spotlight PA, the Senator said there were talks to move forward with an amended version of a bill that would add additional barriers to the ten-year process of drawing new political maps.

The statement, proposed by Senator Lisa Boscola (D., Northampton), would make the process of redistributing laws and conventions more transparent. But Joe Kelly, their chief of staff, told Spotlight PA and Votebeat on Friday that Argall’s proposed change would only focus on the process by which the map of Congress is created.

Kelly said the Senator was disappointed that the bill would not include reforms to the way the State House and Senate maps were drawn up. In contrast to the congress card, only a five-member committee made up of leaders of the General Assembly and an appointed third chairman can approve the legislative cards.

Boscola was not involved in drafting the amendment, Kelly said, and was briefed on Thursday.

Argall declined to provide details on which provisions were included in the change and which could be removed, but said there seemed to be a consensus that the parish, county and school district boundaries should be kept intact. When asked why he has not given priority to laws or similar reallocation reform laws in the past, Argall said he was not interested in postponing actions that will not happen through the House.

This chamber is currently focused on a major overhaul of the elections that includes stricter rules for voter ID, signature verification requirements for postal votes and personal early voting.

Rep. Seth Grove, chairman of the government committee of the House of Representatives, said earlier this month the chamber would “not approve further reviews of previous elections” and instead focus on amending the state’s electoral law.

But Argall said Friday he thinks it would be “not a bad idea to move on to an exam” and hopes to “close” the issue in the next few weeks. He said he wanted the review to be independent, whether through the state audit office or an investigation commissioned by the Senate.

There are also options when it comes to paying for an additional exam, he said.

“One would be to do it with public funds,” he said. “The other would be the Arizona model, where I think they found private donors willing to pay the cost.”

A private option contradicts electoral legislation urging Argall’s GOP colleagues in the House of Representatives, which would prohibit counties from taking private dollars to pay for the voting administration.

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