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Local Government – Bensalem Township

Just In: Central Bucks Closes Five Schools Temporarily as a COVID-19 Precaution

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The following is a press release from the County of Bucks

The Central Bucks School District, in consultation with the Pennsylvania and Bucks County Departments of Health, today closed five district schools for at least one day as a precaution against possible spread of coronavirus.

The decision was made late last night by Central Bucks Superintendent Dr. John Kopicki after learning that a person from out of state, who is now known to have coronavirus, attended a recent private gathering at a residence in Central Bucks County.
At the time of that gathering, it was not known to anyone, including the out-of-state attendee, that the person was ill with the COVID 19 virus. Confirmation was made at a later date.
Present at the private gathering were multiple children and staff who attend or work at Central Bucks High School South, Tohickon and Tamanend Middle Schools, and Butler and Titus Elementary Schools – the schools that are closed today.

“Late last evening CBSD was made aware that individuals within the district were exposed to a confirmed case of Coronavirus,” said an alert posted early this morning on the school district website, www.cbsd.org . “After consulting with local and state health authorities, and out of an abundance of caution, CBSD has decided to close 5 schools today, March 6, 2020. Butler, CB South, Titus, Tohickon and Tamanend will be closed today for students, teachers and staff.

Additional information will be posted on CBSD.org.”

The Bucks County Department of Health today will continue its work to contact those who attended private gathering, and to check them for any symptoms of illness. Any found to have symptoms such as the fever, cough or shortness of breath often associated with coronavirus will be tested.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bucks County. State and local health officials continue to urge residents to practice preventive steps such as:

 Frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
 Avoiding close contact (within six feet) with people who are sick
 Avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth
 Staying home when sick
 Covering one’s coughs or sneezes with a tissue and throwing the tissue in the trash
 Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces with household
cleaning sprays or wipes

Wearing face masks during one’s daily routine is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an effective preventive measure against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. However, people with symptoms of COVID-19, health workers and people who are taking care of an ill person in close settings should wear face masks. The incubation period for a person exposed to COVID-19 – the time between exposure and first appearance of symptoms – is between two and 14 days. Those who have been in contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or those who have traveled recently to areas such as China where there have been outbreaks, are asked to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days from the time of potential exposure.

According to Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department, the department has been paying attention to COVID-19 since December, when early reports of an unknown respiratory illness began emerging from China.
Since the end of January, county health officials have been in frequent contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) and CDC as the situation evolved into a global health response. In early February, CDC began issuing recommendations for travelers returning from China.

Since then, Bucks County health officials have been contacting all travelers returning here from China, advising them on self-quarantine, and helping them monitor for symptoms of the virus. At this time, testing for COVID-19 can be conducted only at CDC and the PA DOH laboratory. It is expected that hospital and commercial labs will have this capability soon as well.
County health officials are working with healthcare providers and PA DOH to determine on a case-by-case basis whether testing is appropriate. This is done in the interest of not depleting resources by testing every person who has a respiratory illness.
Much remains unknown about COVID-19, including fatality rates. Early indications are that children are at much lower risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and, as with influenza, the elderly and those with immunosuppressive conditions are at higher risk of severe illness.

Current reports of fatality rates are most likely overestimates, Damsker said, given that most of those infected have had either asymptomatic or mild infections. “While that is indeed good news, the other side of the coin is that the virus becomes easier to spread unnoticed in the community by these mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic people,” Damsker said.

“We want people in Bucks County to be aware of the situation, but not panicked,” Damsker added. “We want our residents to continue taking all of the common-sense approaches that we take with influenza, with respect to handwashing often, not touching your face, avoiding sick people and not going to work when sick. Please perform these steps both at home and at work.
Because there is currently no medication or vaccine for COVID-19, Damsker said, “these simple preventive actions are the most effective tools we have to prevent the spread.”

Please continue to refer to trusted, credible sources of accurate and up-to-date information,
including:
 CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
 PA DOH: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.asx

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

PECO: Treefall Causes Damage to Powerline, Roadblocks in Bristol

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A PECO power line pole in Bristol Township went down calling out area first responders Sunday night causing road blockages on Rt 13 and surrounding the area.

Bristol area first responders shut down access to Bath Road from Beaver Dam to Bristol Commerce Park, from Rt 13 and Bath St and even closed a small two block section of Bath Street in Bristol Borough from Buckley Street, to Rt 13.

Credit: Motorcycle Joe

PECO confirmed a fire-police call was initiated and their crews responded to the scene. They deemed the area safe from their standpoint and no outages in Bristol were reported, a spokesperson said.

Initial unconfirmed reports coming into Lower Bucks Source were a powerline pole caught fire.

The PECO Outage Map, as of 8:15 pm noted two outages in the Bristol -Bensalem area currently with over a dozen customers impacted.

There were no reported injuries.

In an unrelated incident, PECO said the Bensalem area is experiencing an outage and work crews are on-site with power restoration estimated to be four hours.

Efforts to reach area first responders for comment on the outage and reported fire were unsuccessful as of 8:35 pm

Updates as they come in

Credit: Motorcycle Joe

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Giant Donates 15,000 Thanksgiving Turkeys to Community Partners

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Today, The GIANT Company announced it will donate a record number of 15,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to food banks and community partners in the Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia communities it serves.

“Since 1923, The GIANT Company has been committed to helping its communities eliminate hunger year-round, but it’s especially important this time of the year to ensure that everyone can enjoy a warm holiday meal with their loved ones,” said John Ruane, president, The GIANT Company. “This year’s donations will deliver more than 125,000 servings of protein to families while creating moments to connect around the table.”

Turkeys will be donated to nearly 40 local food banks and community partners across its footprint. The GIANT Company team members will once again volunteer at food banks packing hunger relief boxes and organizing and restocking shelves in advance of the busy holiday season.

“We are extremely grateful for corporate partners like The GIANT Company for all they do in support of our work to feed the hungry in Berks and Schuylkill counties,” said David Delozier, chief development officer, Helping Harvest. “Together with their generous gifts and volunteer support we are able to make a difference for thousands of children, families, and seniors in our region.”

Customers are also invited to join efforts to combat local food insecurity this November. From Nov. 10 through Nov. 23, customers can also donate free turkey certificates at the register in-store to a local food bank. In addition, customers can purchase reusable bags to benefit Feeding America®.

For more information on the turkey redemption program, including how to donate your turkey certificate, visit giantfoodstores.com/pages/free-turkey-earn.

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Health - Bristol Township

Family Services Plans Buildout, Redevelopment of Levittown Shelter

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The Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter in Bristol Township operated by, Family Services Association (FSA), is planning to expand, overhaul, and build new facilities  

the nonprofit has been working on a plan to expand the shelter and provide better services to those experiencing housing displacement, officials say. 

“We have been thinking about how to make the shelter better,” said Julie Dees, the CEO of FSA, during an appearance at the October Bristol Township Council meeting. She was on hand seeking Council’s approval to submit a Statewide Local Share
Assessment Grant to the Department of Community and Economic Development
(DCED) for the Shelter in the amount of $ 1 million which they did.

Dees said, the shelter currently serves about 80 people, including children and has a wait list of more than 200 people.

The men’s dorm barely fits 20 guests, with cots lining right and left walls, and a narrow walking path leads to three bathrooms. The open space floor plan for the women’s side of the facility, where children stay, also presents all all sorts of issues, which the redevelopment will help solve with the creation of private rooms for guests, `Dees said.

The redevelopment plans consist of constructing a new two-story structure in front of the current site. The first floor would be for medical offices, case management and childcare services, the second floor would house 30 individual rooms with bathrooms for guests. 

The first floor of the building would be open to the public, she said.

The current shelter would remain open while renovations take place to increase living spaces also. It will also continue to house the cafeteria the largest common area space in the facility. 

The current communal living design is “not ideal,” and FSA wants to create a more “dignified” guest experience, Dees said.

Dees said about $7 million is already secured for the project, with the total cost expected to be in the $10 to $15 million range. 

“There’s such a need for a new and improved version of the shelter,” she said.

Dees also pointed out The new space would allow FSA to lease out parts of the first floor of the new building to bring in revenue. Adding the shelter often operates at yearly loss of  about $385,000.00 due to lack of onsite billable service offerings. 

With the anticipated new space, FSA will be able to provide on site many of the mental health substance abuse related services it provides at their Langhorne branch, Dee said.  

The proposed new building still has to go through the land development approval. FSA took over operations of the shelter 2012 from the American Red Cross.

FSA plans to hold a community meeting at the Levittown Library on November 17 for a more detailed discussion on the redevelopment project.

This is Bucks County’s only 24/7 shelter and is located in Bristol Township’s Levittown section. The property around and adjacent to the Shelter that’s owned and operated by Bucks County is also being redeveloped. Ground was broken  on that project in September

A possible indirect benefit for FSA’s expansion project is the where the new two-story building would be, now the parking lot. Homeless folks who are not “guests” at the Shelter often park their vehicles in the facilities lot. Oftentimes living out of cars, trucks, vans or often abandoning them in the lot. It has been an issue for staff to deal with in the past, officials have said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The project is expected to take about three years to complete, Dees said, once all the funding and approvals are secured. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We have been thinking about how to make the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter better,” said Dees.

 

 

The new building and renovation of the existing facility would be part of a rebound for the site, which sits a few yards away from the new Lower Bucks County Government Services Center.

 

Council President Craig Bowen and Councilperson Patrick Antonello both spoke in support of the project.

The proposed new building still has to go through the land development process.

The Family Service Association plans to hold a community meeting at the Levittown Library on November 17.

 

 

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