Check here for continuous updates on how local and national businesses, organizations and institutions are handling the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Local Articles

NEW YORK (AP) — Mask requirements are returning in some school districts that had dropped them. Some are planning to vastly ramp up virus testing among students and staff. And a small number of school systems are switching to remote learning — for just a short while, educators hope.

CHICAGO (AP) — More than a year after the vaccine was rolled out, new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have soared to their highest level on record at over 265,000 per day on average, a surge driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant.

According to state Department of Health statistics, the average number of daily COVID-19 cases reported from the tri-county area over the past seven days has, for the most part, substantially decreased in Venango and Forest counties while remaining close to flat in Clarion County.

HARRISBURG — Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter on Tuesday confirmed after Gov. Tom Wolf’s request for support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania hospitals will receive strike teams to relieve hospital capacity strain in areas hit hardest by the latest COVID-…

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials on Monday cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.

According to state Department of Health statistics, the average number of daily COVID-19 cases reported from the tri-county area over the past seven days has, for the most part, decreased by approximately double from the previous seven-day period.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fighting the omicron variant surging through the country, President Joe Biden announced the government will provide 500 million free rapid home-testing kits, increase support for hospitals under strain and redouble vaccination and boosting efforts.

CHICAGO (AP) — As the omicron variant sparks worldwide fears of renewed COVID-19 outbreaks, Americans’ worries about infection are again on the rise, but fewer say they are regularly wearing masks or isolating compared with the beginning of the year.

Butler Health System reported Clarion Hospital had collected 18,253 specimens for COVID-19 testing through Sunday, including 15,257 tests at the hospital. A total of 3,641 tests were positive for the virus. As of 7:30 a.m. Monday, the hospital has seven COVID-19 in-patients (six confirmed an…

HARRISBURG (AP) — Pennsylvania nursing homes say they are coping with dire staffing shortages that have forced many of them to stop accepting new residents, which in turn is preventing hospitals jammed with COVID-19 patients from discharging those who require lower levels of care.

HARRISBURG (AP) — A statewide mask mandate for Pennsylvania school children was thrown out by the state Supreme Court on Friday, raising the prospect that at least some students in the state may soon be allowed to attend classes without a face covering.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The number of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 reached 200 million Wednesday amid a dispiriting holiday-season spike in cases and hospitalizations that has hit even New England, one of the most highly inoculated corners of the country.

HARRISBURG (AP) — A lawyer for Pennsylvania’s acting health secretary on Wednesday defended the validity of the secretary’s order requiring masks inside K-12 schools to fight COVID-19, asking state Supreme Court justices to focus on a single regulation.

National Articles

AP

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Before Victoria Azarenka had a chance to analyze both players she might meet next, a question was posed to her son about the two-time Australian Open champion’s third-round performance.

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Drew Timme scored 23 points, Chet Holmgren added 22 and top-ranked Gonzaga beat San Francisco 78-62 on Thursday night in a makeup game after their Jan. 6 contest was postponed by COVID-19 issues.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kiefer Sherwood scored his first goal in nearly three years, Mikko Rantanen had a power-play goal and the Colorado Avalanche stayed hot with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund each scored a goal and assisted on another to lead the Nashville Predators over the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 on Thursday night.

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox called for keeping children in school during the coronavirus pandemic, warned against making voting more difficult and lamented destructive political divisions during his State of the State address Thursday.

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Tyler Seguin and Jason Robertson each scored twice, including consecutive goals late in the third period, to lift the Dallas Stars over the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 Thursday night.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Avenatti, the once high-profile California attorney who regularly taunted then-President Donald Trump during frequent television appearances, was introduced Thursday to prospective jurors who will decide whether he cheated porn star Stormy Daniels out of book-deal proceeds.

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is monitoring real-time data obtained from businesses operating in China to determine whether outbreaks of the omicron variant of coronavirus pose a risk to U.S. supply chains, an administration official said.

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TOKYO (AP) — Restaurants and bars will close early in Tokyo and a dozen other areas across Japan beginning Friday as Japan widens COVID-19 restrictions due to the omicron variant causing cases to surge to new highs in metropolitan areas.

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Hundreds of Oregon residents claimed government overreach on Thursday, as officials at the state’s health authority consider indefinitely extending the current indoor mask requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he doesn't see his acceptance of former President Donald Trump's endorsement as hurting his relationship with the state's senior U.S. senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial last y…

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The percentage of hospital emergency room patients showing up with COVID-19-like symptoms in Louisiana has dropped for the second week in a row and the weekly percentage of positive tests also has dropped, state officials said Thursday.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Locked out baseball players plan to make a counteroffer to management on Monday, 11 days after clubs gave the union a proposal when the snail-paced negotiations resumed following a 42-day break.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two California counties violated the Constitution's right to keep and bear arms when they shut down gun and ammunition stores in 2020 as nonessential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

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PARIS (AP) — French Prime Minister Jean Castex says a new COVID-19 pass will go into effect Monday, severely restricting the public lives of those who refuse to get inoculated by banning them from domestic flights, restaurants, sports events and other venues.

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WASHINGTON — Top Democratic tax writers remained optimistic Thursday about restoring a more generous version of the child tax credit that sent monthly checks to families after President Joe Biden admitted he’s “not sure” he can get the votes to pass it.

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ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — The U.S. Olympic top doctor says all of the 200-plus athletes heading to Beijing for the Olympics next month are fully vaccinated, and not a single one asked for a medical exemption.