Authorities say one person was found dead after a house explosion in central Pennsylvania that reportedly injured five other people. Emergency dispatchers in Blair County said that blast in Tyrone was reported shortly after 1PM Monday and flames spread to two other houses. Deputy coroner Samantha Kimberling said human remains were discovered in one of the structures. An autopsy is slated to determine the cause of death. Five people were reported to have been transported to hospitals. The extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately available.
Governor Tom Wolf said Pennsylvania has no plans to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, leaving it up to businesses to make their own decisions, though he said it might be a good idea in the case of health care systems. California and New York City announced earlier this week they would require all government employees to get the vaccine or face weekly COVID-19 testing, as the delta variant continues its spread across the country. Also Monday, the US Department of Veterans Affairs became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to get the vaccine. It was unclear what would happen to VA employees who refuse to get the shot. The agency said vaccination will be required “absent a medical or religious exemption.”
Governor Tom Wolf’s administration is not considering reinstating a statewide mandate for mask wearing in K-12 schools despite the updated guidance from the CDC. Pennsylvania Department of Education spokeswoman Kendall Alexander says the administration is recommending Pennsylvanians and schools follow this guidance. With infection rates of the Delta variant rising, the CDC is urging vaccinated people in places with high levels of infection to resume wearing masks to protect themselves from the new strain of the virus. On Tuesday, 986 new COVID-19 infections were reported in the Commonwealth, more than six times the daily average of early July. As of early Tuesday, just short of 63% of Pennsylvanians 18 or older are fully vaccinated.
PennDOT announced the application period for the grants under the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and the Rail Freight Program (RFAP) is now open. Pennsylvania ranks first in the country in the number of operating railroads, with 65 and ranks near the top in total track mileage with more than 5,600 miles. In the 2020 grant period, PennDOT awarded $31 million for 26 rail freight projects. For eligible organizations wishing to apply for funding through either program, applications for both are available on the dotGrants website through August 20.
It’s the time of year when ticks are most prevalent and whether you’re hiking or just in the backyard, you could be at risk of a tick bite. The Pennsylvania Department of Health says there’s been a major concern this year as they are seeing more than ever, more tick bites but also of Lyme disease. Experts say wear lightweight long sleeve shirts and pants and tuck pants into your socks. When hiking, walk in the middle of the trail, avoid touching vegetation. If you’re outside, make sure to have spray on hand and check for ticks before getting back in your car. Shower, including a head scrub and do a thorough tick check. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, and body aches.