Gov. Wolf: 12 More Counties to Go Green on June 26 Press Release, Public Health Governor Tom Wolf today announced that 12 more counties will move to the green phase of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 26. These counties include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Susquehanna.Philadelphia County met the criteria and will move to the state’s green phase on June 26; however, local officials will maintain some additional restrictions until July 3. The Wolf Administration has supported specific county requests for more restrictions throughout the phased reopening process.“When these 12 counties move on June 26, we will have nearly every county in green,” Gov. Wolf said. “It’s a testament to the many residents and businesses that have sacrificed over the past three months to stay home and adhere to the guidance the state has provided to protect lives and livelihoods. As we begin to reopen, I urge everyone to stay alert and continue to follow social distancing to maintain the momentum of mitigation we have in place.”The only county not slated to move to green on June 26 is Lebanon County. Against the advice of public health experts and against orders from Gov. Wolf and Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine aimed at keeping Pennsylvanians healthy, Lebanon County commissioners voted 2 to 1 along party lines to prematurely reopen in late May. Now, the county is facing an uptick in cases, and is unable to move to green.“Lebanon County’s partisan, politically driven decision to ignore public health experts and reopen prematurely is having severe consequences for the health and safety of county residents,” Dr. Levine said. “Case counts have escalated and the county is not yet ready to be reopened. Lebanon County has hindered its progress by reopening too early. Because of this irresponsible decision, Lebanon County residents are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.”The data dashboard of county cases and criteria for reopening consideration can be found here.Gov. Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania outlines remaining restrictions for counties in yellow or green. Effective today, there are 54 counties in green and 13 in yellow.As counties reopen, Pennsylvania continues to see a steady decline in cases, a positive indicator that its phased, measured reopening plan is working to balance public health with economic recovery.The CDC’s analysis of propriety state case data puts Pennsylvania among only three states with a 42-day steady decline in cases. The other two states are Hawaii and Montana.According to analysis by the New York Times, new COVID-19 cases are declining in less than half of all U.S. states and territories.“By participating in small actions recommended by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, we can continue to break transmission links even while we resume our daily activities,” Gov. Wolf said. “Things like washing hands, bringing our own water to sports practice and, of course, wearing masks.”According to peer-reviewed studies in the New England Journal of Medicine and a recent study from Cambridge and Greenwich universities, mask-wearing prevents people from unknowingly giving COVID-19 to others and can be critical as we prepare for a possible resurgence of the virus in the fall.Yellow PhaseAs of June 19, these 13 counties are in the yellow phase: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Susquehanna.Some restrictions on work and social interaction are eased in the yellow phase while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place.The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible.Work and Congregate Setting RestrictionsTelework Must Continue Where FeasibleBusinesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety OrdersChild Care May Open Complying with GuidanceCongregate Care and Prison Restrictions in PlaceSchools may provide in-person instruction only in accordance with Department of Education guidanceSocial RestrictionsStay-at-Home Order Lifted for Aggressive MitigationLarge Gatherings of More than 25 ProhibitedMasks are Required When Entering a BusinessIn-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery PreferableIndoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain ClosedRestaurants and Bars May Open Outdoor Dining, in Addition to Carry-Out and DeliveryGreen PhaseAs of June 19, these 54 counties are in the green phase: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, Luzerne, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.After a county transitions to the yellow phase, it is closely monitored for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for 14 days, the county will transition to the green phase.The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay-at-home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health. Some restrictions, such as mask-wearing, do remain in place.It is important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.Work and Congregate Settings RestrictionsContinued Telework Strongly EncouragedBusinesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety RequirementsAll Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% OccupancyChild Care May Open Complying with GuidanceCongregate Care Restrictions in PlacePrison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual FacilitiesSchools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth GuidanceSocial RestrictionsLarge Gatherings of More Than 250 ProhibitedMasks are Required When Entering a BusinessRestaurants and Bars Open at 50% OccupancyPersonal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment OnlyIndoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly EncouragedAll Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% OccupancyConstruction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of ProtocolsThe state continues to use risk-based metrics from Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Health and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency data dashboard available here.The state continues to increase testing and ramp up contact-tracing efforts. As of June 18, there are a total of 518 contact tracers, and a total of 4,161 contacts being monitored.The Department of Health received a total of 89,350 test results in the past seven days, an average of 12,764 a day. The 30-day average of test results received is more than 13,934.There were 2,763 total cases added to investigations for the week of June 12 through 18.The latest business guidance, including outdoor recreation guidance, can be found here.Preliminary sports guidance can be found here.Ver esta página en español. June 19, 2020 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Wood is now being touted as the main source of fuel to operate the Skeldon Co-generation Plant. Following successful tests of its power steam generation using firewood, SEI is now saying that the firewood can produce more steam for the plant than bagasse. (SEI) reported on Tuesday that it is currently using wood as fuel for the plant.The Skeldon Co-generation plantChairman of SEI, Lloyd Rose, has said efforts are being made to have the Co-gen Plant operate year-round, and not seasonally. As such, fuel will be needed for the plant all year. This means that bagasse alone cannot be used.Late last month, SEI completed a test utilizing firewood chips sourced from within the community. The test revealed a smooth boiler operation, which often contains much higher moisture content.Rose said the test revealed a much more stable and smoother boiler operation than that achieved using bagasse fuel, which often contains much higher moisture content. The successful utilization of other biomass fuel — firewood pro-processed into wood chips, which was demonstrated — with its significantly less moisture content (forty-percent), provided much greater ease of operation for the fuel feed system. There was the absence of frequent blocking of pin-hole grate air-ports normally associated with mud-content embedded in the sugar cane delivered to the factory and the bagasse delivered to boilers.“We are going to have a mixture. There is going to be some bagasse which we will get from the Albion Estate, (and) there is going to be some firewood, as we call it, from the forest. There is going to be a blend of rice husk — and we can only accept a portion of up to about twelve percent — and there is also going to be waste from the sawmills. So we are really seeking no one source or solution; there will be a mixture of all those things with the equivalence being about one to one,” Rose explained.This, he said, means that the same tonnage of bagasse previously used with be equalled with the proposed mixture.Sheldon Energy Inc. aims to utilize a mixed co-generation in the short term, irrespective of sugar production. In spite of anticipated difficulties associated with prolonged use of the severely damaged boilers, the company’s goal is to preserve the productive utilisation of its energy assets, and to avoid their further deterioration and possible vandalism, which could occur if the Co-generation Plant is left idle.Wood that is being used by Skeldon Co-generation plantAccording to Rose, Boiler One has been repaired, and efforts are now being made to carry out remedial repair and maintenance on Boiler Two. When this is done, the two 15MW turbines will be pushed. Boiler One will then be stripped and fully replaced, and when completed, will have the ability to push both turbines, with Boiler Two being a backup.Rose says it should take 18 months to completely effect this plan. Already, the tubes for rebuilding Boiler One have been secured from South Africa at a cost of US$1 million.“We have reached out to the community, and mainly the business community, (which) can act as reliable suppliers. We believe that if we put systems in place, and they take on the responsibility and the contract to undertake (supply), they will employ persons from the community (to do so). Essentially, this project is about creating (employment), but we are not getting involved in that directly; we are getting into a contractual arrangement for the supplying and delivery of the material we need, including the gathering and handling of bagasse that we will get from Albion,” Rose explained.The SEI Chairman said SEI might take on the responsibility of transporting the material which the contractors would source. “It is likely to be cheaper if we do the transporting,” he said.While producing sugar at the Skeldon Factory may no longer be an option, SEI is still hoping to ensure the continued use of the Co-gen Plant, and job creation.In June 2017, the Co-gen Plant was described as a ‘ticking time bomb’ that required US$2.5 million to restart the 30MW bagasse-fuelled component of the facility, and an additional US$17 million in order to fix other deficiencies.The Co-generation Plant was purchased from GuySuCo for an announced price of US$30 million by Skeldon Energy Inc (SEI) – a special purpose company owned by the Government’s holding company, the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma had taken members of the media on a tour of the facility in June 2017. Minister Sharma had said he would be recommending to the Cabinet Counsel of Ministers a full forensic investigation into the facility. However, there has since been no word on that investigation.During the guided tour of the boilers, it was observed that the piping used to circulate the pressurised steam has eroded to a point where it had become a safety hazard and risked an explosion.Speaking to the design of the facility, it was pointed out, too, that the boilers were not even protected from the elements, including the salt air. There is no roof in place.Other visible deficiencies on the boiler were evident at the furnace doors, where the insulation was almost completely burnt out as a result of the heat.