In this Update:
Calling for New Protections for Aid Workers in Ukraine
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on, innocent civilians face new injuries and threats every day. The need for humanitarian aid has never been greater, but many aid providers lack the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe.
This week, I called on the Pennsylvania State Police to donate any decommissioned bulletproof vests in their possession to Ukrainian aid workers. I greatly appreciate their consideration of this request, and I am hopeful we can extend this bit of support to the brave individuals who are risking their own safety to help others.
Similar donation efforts are underway in police departments in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.
More details are available here.
Senate Concludes Hearings on State Budget
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week concluded four weeks of public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget.
Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.
Among the key points from the series of hearings, which began Feb. 22:
The Senate will use findings from the hearings to craft an alternative spending plan to the governor’s, with the aim of enacting a final 2022-23 state budget by the June 30 constitutional deadline.
You can find video and recaps of every budget hearing at PASenateGOP.com.
How to Protect Yourself Against Tick-Borne Diseases
Lyme disease and the rare but dangerous Deer Tick Virus (DTV) have been found in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state.
The statewide infection rate is currently 0.6% of ticks sampled. At three locations, the DTV infection rate exceeded 80%: Fisherman’s Paradise public fishing area on Spring Creek in Centre County, Lawrence Township Recreational Park in Clearfield County, and Iroquois Trail near Tunkhannock in Wyoming County.
The Deer Tick Virus is rare in the United States, but positive cases have increased in recent years. Initial symptoms of a DTV infection may include fever, headache, vomiting and weakness. Some people who are infected with DTV experience no symptoms, and therefore infection may go undetected. However, 91% of patients treated for DTV infections develop severe neuroinvasive disease.
Recommended precautions for anyone venturing outdoors include:
For more information about tickborne disease prevention, visit Department of Health’s Tickborne Diseases website.
Access Nursing Home Inspections Online
Pennsylvanians with loved ones in long-term care can access a searchable database of nursing homes to view the results of inspections and complaint investigations.
The database includes patient care surveys, building safety surveys, size of the nursing home, type of ownership and additional information about each of the nursing homes in the state. The Department of Health oversees 688 nursing homes with more than 88,000 beds.
If you see something that may jeopardize patients’ safety or well-being, you can file an anonymous complaint by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out an online form, emailing email@example.com or sending a letter in the mail.
March is National Kidney Month
More than 37 million people in the United States are estimated to have chronic kidney disease and nearly 90% of them are unaware.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you are at higher risk for developing kidney disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has useful information during National Kidney Month and year-round.
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