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The Post  
PA Dept of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Plan; Philly Worship Restrictions; Revenue Employees Charged
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 11/20/20 1:04 am | updated: 11/20/20 1:04 am
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced the state's vaccine plan on Thursday, 11/19. She said that the health department is monitoring both Pfizer and Moderna, who recently announced promising numbers from their Phase 3 trials of separate coronavirus COVID-19 vaccines. Once the companies have completed their trials they will request an Emergency Use Authorization through the FDA, who will review the vaccines and hopefully grant the EUA quickly. This may happen in the next month. Levine says that will take a long time to immunize everyone in the state. Both vaccines take 2 doses given at least weeks apart to be fully effective. There will also be a limited supply available at first. The state has developed a prioritized plan for who will get the first doses of any vaccine.

Phase 1: There may be limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses available in the first phase. Initial efforts will focus on reaching the following populations:

- Healthcare personnel;
- Emergency Medical Services first responders;
- Critical workers who are maintaining core societal functions/essential workers;
- People 65 years and older; and
- Residents of congregate care settings.

Phase 2: We anticipate a large number of vaccine doses available. Efforts will focus on ensuring access to vaccine for:

- Phase 1 critical populations who were not yet vaccinated; and
General population.

Phase 3: In this phase, there should be a sufficient supply of vaccine doses for entire population. Efforts will focus on ensuring the entire population will have access to the vaccine.

As new coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions take effect in Philadelphia on Friday, 11/20, places of worship in the city are also preparing for a different holiday season. While many businesses are not allowed to operate at all (indoor dining, museums, theaters, gyms, etc.), houses of worship will be allowed to open with 5% of capacity. That is down from 50%. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas services will not be celebrated traditionally this year in Philadelphia. Many locations have continued to offer live streams of services to congregants. Those who still attend in person will have to wear a mask and be sure to social distance. Facilities are cleaned and sanitized frequently.

SEE ALSO: Application Of The Safer At Home Restrictions For The City Of Philadelphia In Churches And Institutions Of The Archdiocese Of Philadelphia

UPDATE: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released guidelines surrounding the implementation of the new "Safer at Home" restrictions. Mass will continue in the Archdiocese. It specifically addressed the restriction, "Religious institutions are permitted to have people indoors, but density must be capped at 5 people per 1,000 sq. ft. or 5 percent of maximum occupancy." The Archdiocese consulted with Health Commissioner Dr. Tomas Farley. "As a result, it was understood and determined that in order to fulfill the capacity guidelines issued by the City, pastors and chaplains in the City of Philadelphia need to continue to adhere to the Archdiocesan directives and restrictions in place to moderate the size and density of the congregation so that it is smaller rather than larger. Those who have been faithfully implementing Archdiocesan directives by limiting capacity, practicing social distancing, sanitizing and mask wearing are already fulfilling the intent of this guideline and must continue to do so." " one is to
be turned away from the Mass and the Sacraments."

Three former employees of the Philadelphia Department of Revenue have been charged by federal prosecutors with soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for erasing fees owed by individual taxpayers to the city. U.S. Attorney William McSwain and Philadelphia Inspector General Alexander DeSantis announced the charges on Thursday, 11/19. 50-year-old Jarredd McQueen, 56-year-old Demarys Natal, and 44-year-old Nicole Mixon each face a single federal program bribery charge. They each resigned from their positions over the course of the investigation. They were caught in an FBI sting. They are accused of accepting a combined $58,000 in bribes. McQueen accepted a total of $9,000. For example, in one instance he erased a $5,645 trash fee in exchange for a $1,500 bribe. Mixon accepted a total of $22,300. She erased a $1,210 trash fee for a $800 cash bribe. Natal accepted $26,600. She erased $10,000 in fees in delinquent business taxes in exchange for two $500 money orders. She deposited those money orders to her own account with notes saying "Repair/Remodeling" and "Flooring." They each face 10 years in prison if convicted.

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