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Health - Bensalem Township

“It Gave Them Back Their Lives”: Vaccinating the Homebound in Bucks County

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For some county residents who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine, getting to a clinic simply wasn’t an option. So, the Bucks County Health Department decided to bring the shots to them.

The Bucks County Commissioners at Wednesday’s meeting paid tribute to the department’s Homebound Vaccination Strike Teams, made up of 18 medical volunteers and four county employees.

“I’m really proud of the work put together by our health department, our emergency management agencies, our rescue squads and AMI, the company we hired to help give vaccines,” said Commissioner Bob Harvie.

Elizabeth V. Ithier, 70, of Bristol Township, said being able to get the vaccine at her home helped her regain a connection to her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

“I missed having my family hug me and kiss me,” Ithier, who uses a wheelchair, said. “I’m limited in movement so I can’t do hugging…you don’t realize how much you miss those things…how important those things are until they’re taken away from you.”

Ithier is one of 231 Bucks residents vaccinated by the strike teams, which delivered the lifesaving shots earlier this year directly to the county’s most vulnerable residents – those who are unable to leave their homes.

 

 

“I believe that the homebound part of this whole adventure of COVID was probably one of the most important things that we did,” said Jeryl Degideo, Bucks County Health Department Emergency Planner. “They had no idea how they were going to get their COVID shots. They thought they would be shut in for the rest of their lives.”

The strike teams served homebound residents from Milford Square to Bensalem, traveling a total of 1,887 miles, roughly the distance from Bucks County to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Degideo said the program “gave them back their lives,” noting that the teams saw smiles, tears of joy and even inspired some family members of the homebound to get vaccinated as well.

Aside from the on-the-road team, the program made an estimated 2,000 phone calls in an effort to register every person who previously contacted the county directly or had their name submitted to the county for homebound vaccination.

“We really strongly encourage you to get a vaccine if you haven’t and you’re eligible,” Harvie said. “The county is still operating clinics, which are open to anybody, no appointment necessary, at Neshaminy Mall and on 263 in Warwick Square.”

The county’s homebound vaccination program wrapped up in July, but if residents still need the service, they can call the health department at 215-345-3318.

Residents may contact county-run vaccination sites and ask to have the shot administered in their car. For those unable to drive, contact the Bucks County Transport for possible options. Other resources are also available for those looking to get the vaccine.

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Health - Bensalem Township

Bucks County Issues Excessive Heat Warning through Thursday

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The County of Bucks has issued an Excessive Heat Warning through Thursday, with high temperatures expected to for the next several days.

The extended stretch of days with temperatures above 90 degrees has prompted the opening of cooling centers in Upper, Central and Lower Bucks that are available for seniors and people experiencing homelessness seeking refuge from the heat.

The following cooling centers will operate from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day unless otherwise noted:

Bensalem Senior Citizens Association
1850 Byberry Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
215-638-7720

Ben Wilson Senior Activity Center
580 Delmon Avenue
Warminster, PA 18974
215-672-8380

Bristol Borough Senior Center
301 Wood Street
Bristol, PA 19007
215-788-9238

Bristol Township Senior Center
2501 Bath Rd.
Bristol, PA 19007
215-785-6322

Morrisville Senior Service Center
31 E. Cleveland Avenue
Morrisville, PA 19067
215-295-0567

 Palisades Middle School Library
4710 Durham Road
Kintnersville, PA 18930
*OPEN 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. MONDAY; 12 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. TUESDAY*

Quakertown Masonic Lodge
501 W. Broad Street
Quakertown, PA 18951
267-450-5191

Riegelsville Borough Hall
615 Easton Road
Riegelsville, PA 18077
610-749-2726
 *OPEN 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Senior centers throughout Bucks County also are open and available daily to residents 55 and over. Check with your local senior center for hours of operation and details.

The county generally issues an Excessive Heat Warning when the National Weather Service forecasts daytime temperatures will reach 95 degrees by 11 a.m. on two or more consecutive days, or when heat indexes will reach 100 degrees on any given day.

Municipalities or nonprofit agencies interested in participating in this program in the future should contact Bucks County Emergency Services at 215-340-8700.

 

 

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Health - Bensalem Township

Reps. Powell & Labs’ Bipartisan Effort to Expand Protections for Victims of Violent Crimes Passes House

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A Lower Bucks woman  escaping domestic terror and was living in a shelter found an apartment in another county so she and her boys could live free of terror and abuse. Days after starting the move in process, her abuser found her.

The following day, she took her own life.  This happened in the late winter of 2023.

A bill that state Reps. Lindsay Powell (D-Alleghany Co) and Shelby Labs’ (R-Bucks Co) establishing the Victims of Violence Relocation Act passed the state House last week and perhaps in the very near future will provide a safe way out for victims of violence of  any kind, unlike the Latina  who could not get far away enough from her abuser in 2023.

Under the legislation (H.B. 2162), eligible violent crime survivors would be entitled to relocation assistance and extend the timeframe for requesting such assistance from 90 to 180 days after the crime occurred. The legislators said this would allow survivors more time to access necessary support and ensure they can utilize federal documentation to validate their need for relocation.

“Partnering with Representative Labs on this bill exemplifies that the PA House stands united with survivors of violent crime by expanding housing assistance to them in their time of need.”

Credit: state Rep Labs

Powell, D-Allegheny, said. “Thank you to all my colleagues for your affirmative votes and your commitment to helping survivors start their lives a new.”“I want to thank Representative Powell for her collaboration on this important piece of legislation that protects victims and empowers survivors,” Labs, R-Bucks, added. “The passage of House Bill 2162 is a critical step in ensuring our commitment to making Pennsylvania a safer place for victims of violence and providing a foundation of support during recovery.”

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence says one in three women, one in four men and nearly half of LGBTQ+ individuals will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

 

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Health - Bensalem Township

Fireworks Safety Advice for People, Property and Pets

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One highlight of Independence Day is fireworks.  Most like a good firework display, but some have issues with the noise coming from setting off fireworks.

Fireworks can have a negative effect to dogs, veterans, anyone suffering from PTSD, elderly, etc. Another negative effect is injuries, mostly burns, from setting off fireworks.  Even though it is legal in most parts of the state for residents to buy and set off  consumer-grade fireworks, public safety officials ask residents to leave it to the pros.

Some of the restrictions include, the discharging of fireworks in Pennsylvania can not be done within 150 feet of a building or vehicle regardless if either is owned by the owner. Discharging of fireworks is prohibited on any public property.

Agencies and organizations offer safety tips when it comes to fireworks.

From Langhorne Borough:  Planning ahead can help animals cope with the fireworks season. Pets are sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells. On the Fourth of July, and other days people are likely to set off fireworks, it’s important to be proactive for your pet’s wellbeing. Click here for the Humane Society’s tips on keeping pets and wildlife safe and happy during seasonal celebrations.

The State Police has a Fireworks FAQ page that shows note-worthy changes from Act 74 of 2022 which set new rules for the sale and use of consumer-grade fireworks.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a report documenting the hazards including injuries and death incurred by consumer use of fireworks. CPSC is raising awareness and sharing safety tips to prevent these types of injuries and deaths over the holiday.

CPSC urges consumers to celebrate safely this holiday by following these safety tips:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area, and only purchase and set off fireworks that are labeled for consumer (not professional) use.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks (including sparklers) at anyone.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.

Lower Bucks Source wishes everyone a happy, healthy and safe Independence Day!

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