COVID-19 count as of Nov. 19, 2020

The COVID-19 count as of Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

Sharon City School District administration announced Thursday that it would suspend in-person instruction districtwide, joining the Grove City, Mercer and Farrell school districts in offering all-remote education only.

The district plans to begin remote-only instruction on Monday and Tuesday, with the Thanksgiving break scheduled to run Wednesday through Monday, Nov. 30. Students are scheduled to return to class Dec. 7.

“We feel strongly that students learn best while they are at school, in-person with their teacher(s) and classmates,” district Superintendent Michael Calla said in a letter to families in the district. “However, COVID-19 has created challenges and obstacles that are currently making this difficult to sustain.”

Calla said the district has seen a number of students and employees test positive for the virus, but did not provide numbers.

In the letter, Calla said the district will evaluate the pandemic situation during the closure and will release a statement on Dec. 2 about the possible Dec. 7 reopening.

Groundhog Day canceled

In the movie “Groundhog Day,” weatherman Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, is forced to repeatedly relive the Feb. 2 Groundhog Day celebrations in Punxsutawney, Pa.

The COVID-19 pandemic is breaking the town’s real-life streak of hosting the world’s largest Groundhog Day celebration.

Organizers of the annual event said Punxsutawney Phil will once again predict whether spring will come early or winter will last longer in 2021 – but without the usual crowds who gather at Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill just outside the town about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Phil and his inner circle will deliver the prediction virtually on Feb. 2 by means of a live internet stream and website, organizers said. “But it has been determined that there will not be any in person attendance or guests on the grounds as the potential Covid risks to overcome are too great,” the Groundhog Club, which oversees the annual celebration, said is a statement.

Organizers will continue to monitor the pandemic.

“It is very unlikely, but it if it is determined that we can logistically and safety hold any in person activities related to Groundhog Day, we will make that information available if developed.”

The annual event has its origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

Records dating to 1887 show Phil has predicted longer winters more than 100 times. The 2020 forecast called for an early spring.

Hospitalizations continue to increase in Pennsylvania

The state Department of Health reported Thursday that 2,952 people were undergoing hospital treatment for COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, with 659 patients in intensive care. Both figures are increased from the previous day, when the state had 2,904 hospitalizations and 628 patients in intensive care treatment.

Pennsylvania hospitals have 318 COVID-19 patients on ventilators, and 1,268 of 4,998 available ventilators in use.

Nation — 165,087 new cases; 11,465,722 total cases; 1,826 deaths, 249,670 total deaths.

State — 6,182 new cases; 270,323 total cases; 7 deaths, 9,581 total deaths.

County — 56 new cases; 1,799 total cases; 1 death (on Nov. 4), 32 total deaths.

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