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What it means here: Local impacts from COVID-19

VIA Public Media to hold virtual town hall

With the number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania increasing daily, VIA Public Media will present Keystone Edition: Corona Crisis, a live, hour-long virtual town hall meeting with area health experts and government officials at 8 p.m., Thursday, according to a news release.

While there will be no in-studio audience, viewers will have the opportunity to call in or email questions to get answers and learn the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic. Viewers can call 1-800-326-9842 during the live program, email questions ahead of time to info@wvia.org, or submit questions through social media using #VIAcoronacrisis.

According to the news release, panelists for the program will include officials from Geisinger Hospitals, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Medicus Urgent Care in Dunmore and the biology department of Bucknell University in Lewisburg.

This program will be simulcast on WVIA-TV, WVIA Radio, The Pennsylvania Cable Network and will stream live online at wvia.org, as well as WVIA’s Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and Twitter channels. The program will be available to watch anytime after the broadcast on-demand at wvia.org and on the VIA Mobile App, the news release said.

Rest areas on Interstate 80 reopened

The state Department of Transportation is reopening indoor facilities at 23 rest areas to motorists.

The list includes 13 critical locations that were reopened March 18 with portable restrooms and handwashing areas.

The 30 rest areas were temporarily closed in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19.

In this region, Interstate 80 eastbound and westbound in Centre County and westbound in Montour County are open.

The department will evaluate as the pandemic goes on.

Jersey Shore closes borough office to public

Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Jersey Shore borough will be practicing social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a news release.

At this time, access to the Jersey Shore borough office will be restricted and all borough business will be conducted through contacting the office at 570-398-0104.

For permits, residents can contact Jim Douty at 570-398-0104 or zoning@jerseyshoreboro.org. For all other business, residents can contact the borough office at 570-398-0104.

For any emergencies, call 911. If residents have non-emergency business, they can contact the Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police Department at 570-398-2146.

The brush area will be closed until further notice.

Social Security offices to close

Social Security administrators are closing offices to the public but want to reassure recipients that payments will continue, according to a news release.

“The first thing you should know is that we continue to pay benefits,” Commissioner of Social Security Andrew Saul said in a news release. “Be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments, but that is not true.”

To protect the public and help stop the spread of this coronavirus, Social Security Administration cannot accept visitors in its offices at this time. Many services are available online at www.socialsecurity.gov.

If readers have a critical need that can’t be addressed online, officials can help over the phone.

People may visit Social Security’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus to find out what services are continuing and which ones are suspended, how to contact Social Security, and important information about deadlines officials are extending to ease the burden on the public and medical providers during this pandemic.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to close the physical locations of non-life-sustaining businesses, SEDA-Council of Governments has closed its offices during this time, and in-person meetings have been canceled or postponed, according to a news release.

The organization’s weatherization and housing rehabilitation work is not permitted to continue until the governor lifts his order because of in-home contact with clients. SEDA-COG will resume weatherization and housing rehabilitation services as soon as the organization is permitted. However, the organization’s crisis services are still functioning. The crisis program repairs malfunctioning heating units at no cost to residents who qualify for fuel assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The crisis program runs until April 15. Residents whose heat source is malfunctioning should call their county assistance office. The county assistance office will forward the completed referral to SEDA-COG to assign to a subcontractor.

Free webinar for businesses on COVID-19

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce will host a free webinar at 11 a.m. Friday titled “2020 Coronavirus and Business Next Steps and Best Practices.”

Register at www.pachamber.org/events