The Cove Cooperates to Limit Virus Spread
Nason Restricts Entry; Schools Plan Meals for Students; Many Events Canceled
March 19, 2020
By THE HERALD TEAM
Publisher Allan J. Bassler
Editor Brian Hess
Circulation Manager Tammy Cottle
Bookkeeper Martin Bakner
Composing Manager Dessie Carpenter
Editorial Assistant Helena Bassler
The people and communities of Morrisons Cove and nearby areas prepared for the likely spread of the coronavirus here by canceling most events and planning to provide meals to students after schools were ordered closed by the governor.
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person to person. The virus causes the condition known as COVID-19.
The Herald is publishing information current as of Wednesday morning in this print edition. The Herald will post updated information as it becomes available at http://www.mcheraldonline.com. All coronavirus and COVID-19 information is posted outside the website’s paywall and does not require a subscription.
The Herald information includes lists of all event cancelations and closings. The list in this edition is current as of Wednesday morning. The list on the Herald website will be updated as new information is reported.
Conemaugh Nason Medical Center announced Tuesday afternoon that it was limiting entry points to its facility and screening everyone who entered.
As of Wednesday morning, March 18, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reported a total of 96 confirmed cases of coronavirus, but Conemaugh Nason had not reported any incidents of the coronavirus or COVID-19.
Nason stated on its Facebook page (@ConemaughNason) that all those entering the facility should come though either the Emergency Department doors or the front entrance only. The ED will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The front entrance will be open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. All other entry points will be closed.
All patients, visitors and staff entering the facility will be screened with questions regarding respiratory and travel history. Based on the answers to the screening questions, visitors might be asked to have their temperature taken, to speak with an official or to come back.
RESIDENTS INVITED TO SPEAK UP
The Herald is inviting those in the Cove to describe their experiences related to the coronavirus. Stories submitted to the Herald will be published online and in next week’s print edition.
Coronavirus stories should be sent to [email protected] or faxed to 793-4882. Please include your first and last name and the town where you live.
Stories chosen for publication will be edited for space, clarity and relevance.
HERALD OFFICE CLOSED TO WALK-INS BUT OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Note that the Herald office at 113 N. Market St., Martinsburg, is closed to walk-in business until the state recommends re-opening.
You can still do business with the Herald via telephone at 793-2144, fax at 793-4882 or by email at the following email addresses: [email protected]
mcheraldonline.com and [email protected]
MEALS FOR STUDENTS
Three Cove school districts were planning to provide students with meals, since the state has ordered districts to close for two weeks.
Spring Cove School District – Planning on providing meals to students at three sites: Martinsburg Elementary, Spring Cove Elementary and the Milky Way in East Freedom.
All meals will be provided for “grab and go” or take-out only. No meals can be eaten on site.
Meals will be free to students 18 years old and younger. The children must be present to receive the meal. No adult meals will be provided.
Hours will be Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The district is waiting for approval from the state Department of Education and will begin providing the meals as soon it can following the approval. Superintendent Dr. Betsy Baker said that she hopes the district will begin providing meals on Wednesday, March 18.
The district will announce via School Messenger when the meal plan is ready. Messages will be sent via automated telephone calls and emails to student residences.
Williamsburg Community School District – According to Superintendent Lisa Murgas, the district has asked the Pa. Dept of Education for permission to provide meals to students.
The district intends to serve breakfast and lunch and provide two meals with one pick-up. The pick-up will be held at the elementary building.
“During this time, all school building activities, including preschool, athletics, extracurricular activities, health services, and all other events are suspended,” Murgas said.
She said that a “complete and extensive disinfection and maintenance of our buildings will be done during this closure.”
Claysburg-Kimmel School District – On Tuesday, March 17, and Tuesday, March 24, “grab and go” meal bags will be available for pick up at Claysburg Kimmel Elementary School and Claysburg Kimmel High School from 9:30 a.m. To 11 a.m.
C-K Elementary distribution will be at the front of the building. C-K high school distribution will be behind the school, facing the football field.
Parents can choose either site regardless of what building their students attend. Each meal bag will contain 10 meals: five breakfasts and five lunches.
Meal bags will be available to all Claysburg Kimmel School District students and any siblings under the age of 18. Meals must be consumed off-site.
More info can be found on school district Facebook pages and websites.
All districts asked those bringing children to remember to practice “social distancing” to limit the potential spread of the virus. That means staying six feet away from other people.
Districts also said that no loitering or gathering will be permitted at the meal distribution sites.
Northern Bedford County School District – The district was planning to distribute meals but no details were available by presstime. Check the district’s Facebook page and website.
CANCELLATIONS, CLOSINGS AND NOTICES
Note: This list was accurate as of Wednesday morning, March 18. This same list will be posted to the Herald’s website and updated as needed. No subscription is needed to access coronavirus and COVID-19 information on the Herald’s website.
SCHOOL-RELATED EVENTS AND FOUNDATIONS
C-K Elementary PTO – Bedford Candies/Claysburg Pizza Fundraiser is canceled. Money will be returned at an appropriate time.
Claysburg Education Foundation – Evening technology classes for March 24 and 26 are canceled. Stay tuned for the status of April classes. Info: http://www.claysburg.us.
Northern Bedford County School District – All residents of our district to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously and implement the concept of social distancing. At this time, we ask all residents to refrain from using the common areas on our campus such as Panther Paradise, basketball courts, and athletic facilities. All extracurricular activities are canceled. School buildings closed to everyone except essential employees.
Allegany College of Maryland – Spring Break is extended through Sunday, March 22. All credit courses will be offered online from March 23 to at least April 5. Non-credit classes and training through the ACM Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development will suspend instruction beginning March 16 and continuing through April 5. This includes ACM workforce training offered through Bedford County Technical Center. ACM will remain open for students who wish to reside on campus to complete online coursework. Student Services will remain open during normal business hours. Students enrolled in clinicals or field classes are asked to contact their program director for additional information.
Routine public library services are closed beginning March 14 and remaining closed until March 29 in alignment with public school closures. All due dates are extended to April 7 and no fines will accrue during library closures.
The public can still access library sources through cloudLibrary (yourcloudlibrary.com) and PowerLibrary.com (chat with a librarian; free resources). The Blair County Library System Includes Altoona, Bellwood-Antis, Claysburg, Hollidaysburg, Martinsburg, Roaring Spring, Tyrone-Snyder, and Williamsburg libraries. More information is available at http://www.blaircountylibraries.org.
Blair County Courthouse – Advises people that if their reason for visiting is non-essential, do not come (non-essential would be dog licenses, tours). If court proceeding is yours, show up for court. If you are not essential to the court proceeding, do not come.
Bedford County Commissioners Office – Issued a declaration of emergency. Continuing regular county operations with some modifications. Public to limit visits to essential business only. Contact via phone, email or postal mail. Info available at http://www.bedfordcountypa.org. No outside groups are permitted to reserve rooms until further notice. Restricted travel for employees. Correctional facility has suspended visitation for two weeks (subject to change). The county maintenance staff is taking extra precautions to ensure high standards of sanitation throughout facility.
Judge’s Chambers 57th Judicial District, Bedford County – Courts and offices will remain fully functional. Public is asked to limit visits to only necessary visits. Effective March 13, courtroom galleries will be limited to one-third of normal capacity. Additional waiting areas will be available for those waiting for court access.
No United States Postal Service offices are closing and will be open usual hours.
CHURCHES, CHARITIES AND RELATED EVENTS
Martinsburg Area Association of Churches – Worship and activities are cancelled until further notice.
Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church – New Easter Musical canceled.
John’s Way Medical Equipment Ministry – closed until further notice.
Martinsburg Mennonite Church, Clothed by Grace – Closed until further notice.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICES
North Woodbury Township – No in-person tax payments or walk-ins until further notice. The municipal building will remain open during normal business hours.
IRC Recycling Facilities – Closing as of midnight March 16. The IRC will be closing facilities to the public starting Tuesday, March 17 until Tuesday March 31. Many municipalities will still be doing their annual spring cleanups in the coming weeks, but the public will not be able to access our Buckhorn or Duncansville facilities for yard waste drop off or purchasing mulch, compost and topsoil. In addition, commercial contractors will not have access to the Duncansville facility during this period for any purchases. Curbside recycling will still be occurring with your local waste provider, so please continue to prepare your recyclables for pickup weekly.
Bedford County – Town hall and State of the County event scheduled for March 31 have been cancelled. Will reschedule.
The Blair County Planning Commission offices in Hollidaysburg will be closing March 18-31. Normal phone and email communications will be maintained through this period, but no direct interpersonal contact will be had. The March 26 meeting of the Blair County Planning Commission has been cancelled. People needing to contact the office may call (814) 693-2080, ext. 5.
PENN STATE EXTENSION, 4-H AND FFA
Penn State Extension – All public, in-person events it sponsers – workshops, conferences, meetings and gatherings, are canceled through April 5. Registered attendees for events through April 5 will receive a cancelation notice and a refund if required. Events scheduled from April 6 forward will be held as planned, pending further developments.
4-H – Per Brent Hales, statewide director, all Pennsylvania 4-H activities, events and club meetings are suspended until further notice. Will notify 4-H participants when these events can resume.
Blue Juniata FFA – Consignment auction rescheduled for Oct. 17.
State Rep. Jim Gregory (80th District), PA House of Representatives – Farmer’s Breakfast March 20 postponed until further notice. Farmers who have questions about state programs or initiatives call (814) 695-2398.
State Sen. Judy Ward (R-30) announced that effective Tuesday, March 17, she will not accept in-person meetings or visitors to the district or Capitol office until further notice.
While walk-in visits are not accepted at this time, her offices remain open to the citizens of the 30th Senatorial District. Any local residents with a state-related concern or question can contact Ward’s office in Hollidaysburg at 695-8386 or Harrisburg at (717) 787-5490 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The senator is also available by email at [email protected] or via her website at http://www.senatorjudyward.com.
Valley Rural Electric Cooperative – 2020 annual meeting canceled.
FUNDRAISERS AND SOCIAL EVENTS
Friendship Fire Co – Turkey Dinner Sunday March 22 canceled.
Saxton Vol. Fire Co. – Canceled all fundraisers until further notice.
Martinsburg Vol. Fire Co. – Dutch Meal rescheduled for May 30.
Williamsburg Community Farm show annual Benefit Auction – canceled.
The Frontier Patriots Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution – Meeting scheduled for noon Saturday, March 21, at Marzoni's Restaurant in Duncansville, has been changed to Saturday, April 4, at Marzoni’s.
RECREATION, SPORTS, MUSIC EVENTS
Morrisons Cove Memorial Park – See Page A-8 of this edition.
Altoona Curve – All placement booked for the Altoona Curve 2020 season are canceled until further notice. No face-to-face interactions with general public beginning on March 13. Offices still accessible via phone, email and social media. (Note: See more information about the Curve on Page A-8 of this edition.)
Peoples Natural Gas Field – Beginning March 13, all access is suspended.
MiLB – 2020 Championship season is delayed.
Claysburg Hall of Fame Ceremony – Postponed. The Claysburg Hall of Fame Committee is postponing its seventh annual Hall of Fame induction that was scheduled for Saturday, April 4. The committee will announce a new date at a later time.
Cove Community Chorus – March 28 and 29 canceled.
HEALTH AND THERAPY FACILITIES
ProCare at Roaring Spring – Following restricted guidelines mandated by governor: Two-week closure of the gym. Physical Therapy is open. Gym is closed.
Altoona Area Lyme Disease Support Group – April 9 meeting cancelled. Regional Leader Amber Altiero, RN, can be reached at (814) 934-7403.
Garver Memorial YMCA (Roaring Spring) – Closed March 15 until March 29. All classes and programs are canceled.
Blair Regional YMCA (Hollidaysburg) – All programs and events are postponed until further notice.
BUSINESSES – RETAIL
East Freedom Walmart – Effective March 15, temporary hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Roaring Spring True Value Department Store – Staying open normal hours.
West Central Equipment – Open house March 19 (M-burg store) canceled.
Chambers of Commerce – Multiple events cancled but some postponed. Check chamber websites.
HOMEWOOD AT MARTINSBURG
There are no confirmed coronavirus cases on any of the Homewood campuses as of March 18.
All support groups and events open to the public, traditionally held on Homewood at Martinsburg’s campus, will be cancelled until further notice due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Health Care/Assisted Living/Personal Care Units
• Visitation is restricted. The ONLY exception is end-of-life care.
• Visitation screenings will be administered before permission is granted to enter the building:
1. Temperature taken
2. Questioning and observation for signs of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
3. Exposure risk through travel or through another individual with presumptive/confirmed diagnosis
• All approved visitors must wash their hands upon entering the building.
• Activities for residents will be limited to small group activities on each unit. No off-campus travel is permitted, including family trips.
• Doctor visits and medical exams for residents will be prioritized by urgency. Non-urgent visits will be rescheduled.
• Resident care and support plan meetings will be held over the telephone or video conferencing
Independent Living Apartments and Cottages/Patio Homes/Villas
• Visitation should be limited at this time. Please do not host off-campus visitors in your unit or elsewhere on campus until further notice. Limit off campus trips or visits for essential purposes only.
• Home care and health services that are necessary to ensure the health and safety of the resident may continue in the resident’s unit.
• Any resident or co-worker who pursues travel to infected areas will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. This includes layover locations. Residents under quarantine will not be permitted in the buildings for the 14-day period.
• All campus activities and group functions (church services, musical activities, parties) will be canceled across campus. Campus restaurants and dining venues will also be closed. Dining services will provide meals through meal delivery and/or takeout. Residents who pick up meals in the community center will be screened for temperature, symptoms and risk exposure. Homewood will waive meal delivery charges throughout this emergency situation.
• Residents and family members are encouraged to communicate through telephone calls, emails, texting, FaceTime, video conferencing
• Facebook updates will be available as information is released.
MORRISONS COVE MEMORIAL PARK
In consultation with the local authorities and on the recommendation of Gov. Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Health and the Federal Government, officials at Morrisons Cove Memorial Park in Martinsburg have made the “difficult and serious decision” to close the park for the initial period of March 16 through March 29.
Park officials will revisit the continuation or the secession of the closure before March 29.
Also, due to the continually updated information from governmental agencies, we are now not able to provide lunches for students.
“The recommendation of all officials involved is to prevent or discourage mass gatherings of people,” Chuck Gojmerac, park executive director, said. “Our community can remain confident that once the local school districts receive some guidance from the state and federal governments on the most safe and most efficient way of providing these services to our community, our facility will be there to support our residents as it has for almost a century.
“Please understand these decisions are very difficult and were made with much discussion and heavy hearts,” Gojmerac said. “Ultimately, we feel we need to abide by the recommendations of those in charge and keep our communities safe during this unprecedented time period.”
Gojmerac said officials will be sanitizing the facility while closed so that when the park is able to open, it will have a clean and safe environment for patrons to enjoy.
“We remain poised to serve the community in whatever capacity deemed safe and responsible once appropriate direction is given by local, state and federal officials.”
Due to health concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) and statements made by Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball concerning the start of the 2020 season, the Altoona Curve are suspending access to Peoples Natural Gas Field until further notice beginning on Friday, March 13.
Minor League Baseball did not lay out a specific timeline on the delay of the 2020 season but MiLB and the Curve will share more information about the upcoming season as new developments occur.
“To protect the safety of the public and our employees, we will not be accepting face-to-face interactions from the general public beginning on Friday, March 13, Derek Martin, Curve general manager said. “Our best course of action is to limit in-person interactions to create a secure environment for our employees. While we won’t be accepting visitors to the ballpark at this time, our staff will still be accessible via phone, email and messages on social media.
“We encourage our fans to remain patient and adhere to all of the important guidelines established by the CDC and other public health organizations.”
In a statement released by Minor League Baseball on Thursday, March 12, “In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, and after consultation with medical professionals and our partners at Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball will delay the start of the 2020 Championship Season. We will continue to monitor the developments and will announce additional information about the 2020 season at a later date. We will work with Major League Baseball and our community partners to resume play as soon as it is safe to do so.
“The health and safety of Minor League Baseball fans, players and executives is our top priority, and our thoughts are with those around the world who have been affected by this outbreak.”
PA GAME COMMISSION
The Pennsylvania Game Commission will close all offices to the public for at least two weeks. The Harrisburg headquarters and all region offices will be closed during this time, and purchases made online or by mail will not be filled until the offices reopen. The earliest date when offices could reopen is March 30. The Board of Game Commissioners meeting to be held April 6 and 7 at the Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., remains scheduled at this time. However, the Game Commission is exploring alternative methods for holding the meeting should offices remain closed for an extended period. Any changes or updates will be announced.
PennDOT has canceled its Transportation Outreach meeting in Blair County scheduled for Thursday, March 26. Meeting materials will be posted on the PennDOT District 9 website.
All Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers will be closed for two weeks effective March 16. Expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections will be extended. Driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
Vehicle registrations, safety inspections and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
Persons with Disabilities Parking Placards scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
Editor’s Note: The Herald will continue to collect and publish notices of closings and cancelations in the Cove. Information will be posted to the Herald’s website as it becomes available.