Tag: tightens

Pennsylvania tightens mask mandate, enacts new travel rules as COVID-19 surges

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said Tuesday residents should wear masks in all settings – even if socially distanced – and avoid traveling, if possible.

For those who leave the state and want to come back, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine advises testing negative for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before doing so. Those who don’t should quarantine for two weeks or until they receive a negative result.

The new guidance, in effect as of Friday, doesn’t apply to those who work across state lines or travel for medical care, Levine added. And it’s still up to local businesses to enforce the mask mandate.

“With freedom comes responsibility … and we all have a responsibility to work toward the common good,” Levine said. “And right now that means following the guidance to stop the spread of Covid-19 through out the state.”

The department reported more than 26,000 new cases of COVID-19 between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12 – an increase of more than 9,500 over the previous week. Testing positivity rates also spiked from 6.8 percent to 9.6 percent. The department has said anything over 5 percent is cause for concern.

So, too, are the rising hospitalizations across the state. The department said more than 2,500 residents are receiving inpatient care for the virus, of which about 22 percent are in intensive care. Levine said modeling shows the state could run out of ICU beds next month.

“COVID-19 is burning throughout our country … every single state in the country, from Maine to Hawaii, is being impacted,” Levine said. “What we are saying is, Pennsylvania is not an island … and we are seeing the impact of those increases from throughout the country.”

The new guidance comes just days after Gov. Tom Wolf participated in an emergency summit over the weekend with four other northeastern states.

Wolf attended a virtual meeting on Saturday hosted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that included New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Delaware Gov. John Carney. The leaders discussed ways to combat the fall resurgence of the virus, months after entering into a regional coalition that coordinated on restrictions, testing and PPE.

Lyndsay Kensinger, a Wolf spokesperson, said Monday that the governor “did participate in the call last evening with Govs. Cuomo, Lamont, Murphy and Carney to discuss working together during this next phase of the COVID pandemic.”

“Topics ranged from travel, including for college students returning for the holidays, mask mandates, gatherings, testing, education, and sharing of resources and PPE,” she said. “These discussions will continue.”

Levine told reporters Tuesday there’s no plan to return to the color coded phases of restrictions – red, yellow and green – and that it’s up to local municipalities to enact stricter regulations. She couldn’t say what conditions might trigger a statewide response as was seen in the spring.

“It’s impossible for me to predict the future in terms of what exactly conditions might exist,” Levine said.

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New Buffalo tightens vacation rental policies | Government and Politics

Vacation rentals skirt stay-at-home order

By the end of the year, New Buffalo hopes to strengthen the city’s existing vacation rental ordinance and increase enforcement, said Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV.

NEW BUFFALO, Mich. — New Buffalo is a popular destination to rent single-family homes for vacations or simply getaway for the weekend.

Some property owners here believe the rental situation is problematic with loud parties and an increase in the number of homes being turned into short-term rentals. 

“This has got to stop. It’s getting out of hand. We have strangers coming every weekend to stay near us not knowing them,” said resident Gabby Sexton.

Louise Valentin said she didn’t realize the problems she would have after her neighbor put in a swimming pool and opened his house to guests during the summer.

“What it ended up turning into is essentially a party house and I’m not exaggerating. This is every weekend,” she said.

The city has begun the process of trying to address the situation.

By the end of the year, the hope is to strengthen the city’s existing vacation rental ordinance and increase enforcement, said Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV.

“This is a work in progress,” he said.

The task seems challenging because the local economy along the shores of Lake Michigan is built on tourism.

Vacation rental owner Heather Grabowski, of New Buffalo, said she respects and agrees with many of the concerns, but too many restrictions could bring financial pain to the community.

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As COVID-19 cases rise, Yale tightens restrictions on gatherings, travel; increases testing for some staff

Yale University in New Haven announced Friday it is tightening restrictions around gatherings and travel for all school community members in an effort to mitigate rising COVID-19 case numbers.

a large tall tower with a clock at the top of a stone building: A file image of Harkness Tower on Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

© Dreamstime/Hartford Courant/TNS/Hartford Courant/TNS
A file image of Harkness Tower on Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

“Consistent with local and national trends, we are also experiencing increased levels of infection on our campus among students, faculty and staff,” Provost Scott Strobel and Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity Stephanie Spangler, who also serves as Yale’s COVID-19 coordinator, wrote in a letter to the Yale community.

As of Friday afternoon, Yale’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 28 cases among students and 14 cases among faculty and staff from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Any results from Nov. 5-6 were not yet posted. Since August, the university has reported a total of 99 cases among students and 52 cases among faculty and staff.

The sources of viral spread among the Yale community are “frequently associated with social gatherings, often with extended family or friends, where facemasks are removed; with dining indoors at a restaurant; or during travel to campus from out-of-the-area locations,” the administrators said.

For the foreseeable future, all Yale community members are asked to avoid in-person dining in restaurants, and gatherings that involve serving food or drinks where masks are removed are strongly discouraged.

In accordance with state guidelines, gatherings larger than 10 people in a private residence are prohibited. All on-campus events, and all gatherings of more than 10 people, must be approved by the school.

“In no case may [gatherings] exceed 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors,” the university said.

Travel outside of the New Haven region is also discouraged for all community members, and no student may travel outside of Connecticut for the remaining two weeks of the residential semester. In case of an out-of-state emergency, students must obtain preapproval for travel from their school’s health and safety leader.

Full-time faculty who live outside Connecticut “must not commute to campus unless there is a very compelling reason to do so,” administrators wrote. “This applies to travel from any state, not just those affected by the Connecticut travel advisory. Faculty who reside outside the state and who are not full-time and teach only on an episodic basis must teach remotely.”

All staff who can work remotely are required to do so, and COVID-19 testing frequency for certain high-contact staff will increase to twice a week. All undergraduate students, as well as graduate and professional students living in high-density dormitory housing, will continue to be tested twice a week.

Other faculty, staff and graduate and professional students continue to be eligible for regular testing and are strongly encouraged to participate in voluntary testing up to twice weekly, stated the guidelines.

Students leaving campus prior to Thanksgiving are strongly encouraged to receive a negative test result no more than 72 hours prior to their departure, and any staff and faculty who plan to travel are also encouraged to

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